Jimena Rico-Straffon

Jimena Rico-Straffon

PhD student in Economics

University of California, Santa Barbara

Biography

I am a Ph.D. student in Economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). I conduct policy-relevant economic research related to sustainable development, inequality, and labor economics.

Prior to joining UCSB, I worked at the Economic Research Division of Mexico’s central bank (Banco de México) and as a research analyst at Mexico’s National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change where I conducted research on inequality, monetary policy, and deforestation. I also worked as a consultant for the World Wildlife Fund-US where I started doing research on the forest loss impacts of logging concessions and the eco-certification in Peru and Cameroon.

Interests

  • Environmental Economics
  • Natural Resource Economics
  • Development Economics
  • Labor Economics

Education

  • Ph.D. in Economics, (In Progress)

    University of California, Santa Barbara

  • M.A. in Economics, 2020

    University of California, Santa Barbara

  • Master of Public Policy, 2015

    Duke University

  • B.A. in Economics, 2011

    Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México

Publications

Impacts of certification, uncertified concessions, and protected areas on forest loss in Cameroon, 2000 to 2013

Deforestation and forest fragmentation are leading drivers of biodiversity loss. Protected areas have been the leading conservation policy response, yet their scale and scope remain inadequate to meet biodiversity conservation targets. Managed forest concessions increasingly have been recognized as a complement to protected areas in meeting conservation targets. Similarly, programs for voluntary third-party certification of concession management aim to create incentives for logging companies to manage forests more sustainably. Rigorous evidence on the impacts from large-scale certification programs is thereby critical, yet detailed field observations are limited, temporally and spatially. Remotely-sensed data, in contrast, can provide repeated observations over time and at a fine spatial scale, albeit with less detail. Using the Global Forest Change dataset, we examine annual forest loss in Cameroon during 2000–2013 to assess the impact of Forest Stewardship Council certification, as well as uncertified logging concessions and national parks. We use panel regressions that control for the effects of unobserved factors that vary across space or time. We find low forest loss inside the boundaries of each management intervention, with <1% lost over the study period. Yet those low levels of loss appear to be influenced more by a site’s proximity to drivers of deforestation, such as distances to population centers or roads, than by national parks, uncertified concessions, or certification. The exception is that if a site faces high deforestation pressure, uncertified logging concessions appear to reduce forest loss. This may reflect private companies' incentives to protect rights to forest use. Such an influence of private logging companies could provide a foundation for future impacts from certification upon rates of forest loss, at least within areas that are facing elevated deforestation pressures.

Teaching

Econ 10A: Intermediate Microeconomics (Undergraduate), UC Santa Barbara

TA: Fall 2021, Winter 2020, Fall 2019

Econ 101: Intermediate Macroeconomics (Undergraduate), UC Santa Barbara

TA: Winter- Summer 2021

Econ 100: Intermediate Microeconomics (Undergraduate), UC Santa Barbara

TA: Spring and Fall 2021

PUBPOL 304: Economics of the Public Sector (Undergraduate), Duke University

TA: Spring 2015

Selected student feedback

“Jimena does a great job going through practice problems and thoroughly explaining the material with the class while still giving us many opportunities to ask questions.” - Econ 101 student

“Jimena writes her notes amazingly well and can teach the material very effectively and succintly. I reall appreciate how all the sections are directly applicable to the weekly quizzes. She is also incredibly friendly and genuinely cares about her students.” - Econ 101 student

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