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  1. Group incentives can and have been used to address a range of environmental and resource problems. These schemes base individual penalties and/or rewards on the performance of a group of individuals or firms who contribute to the environmental or resource problem. The economics literature on team incentives and public goods, as well as the literature specifically on environmental and natural resource management, provides insights into the design of group incentives. This article reviews the literature on group incentives in the context of environmental protection and natural resource policy. This literature suggests that group incentives can be effective and even efficient as environmental policy tools. However, the outcomes under group incentives will likely depend on a combination of the policy design and the nature of the internal group interactions. Within-group interactions are likely to be particularly important when policies involve thresholds so that coordination is needed to reach a cooperative equilibrium. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Resource Economics, Volume 14 is October 2022. Please see for revised estimates.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 5, 2023
  2. Abstract Transformation toward a sustainable future requires an earth stewardship approach to shift society from its current goal of increasing material wealth to a vision of sustaining built, natural, human, and social capital—equitably distributed across society, within and among nations. Widespread concern about earth’s current trajectory and support for actions that would foster more sustainable pathways suggests potential social tipping points in public demand for an earth stewardship vision. Here, we draw on empirical studies and theory to show that movement toward a stewardship vision can be facilitated by changes in either policy incentives or social norms. Our novel contribution is to point out that both norms and incentives must change and can do so interactively. This can be facilitated through leverage points and complementarities across policy areas, based on values, system design, and agency. Potential catalysts include novel democratic institutions and engagement of non-governmental actors, such as businesses, civic leaders, and social movements as agents for redistribution of power. Because no single intervention will transform the world, a key challenge is to align actions to be synergistic, persistent, and scalable.
  3. There is widespread agreement about the need to assess the success of programs training scientists to communicate more effectively with non-professional audiences. However, there is little agreement about how that should be done. What do we mean when we talk about “effective communication”? What should we measure? How should we measure it? Evaluation of communication training programs often incorporates the views of students or trainers themselves, although this is widely understood to bias the assessment. We recently completed a 3-year experiment to use audiences of non-scientists to evaluate the effect of training on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) graduate students’ communication ability. Overall, audiences rated STEM grad students’ communication performance no better after training than before, as we reported in Rubega et al. 2018. However, audience ratings do not reveal whether training changed specific trainee communication behaviors (e.g., jargon use, narrative techniques) even if too little to affect trainees’ overall success. Here we measure trainee communication behavior directly, using multiple textual analysis tools and analysis of trainees’ body language during videotaped talks. We found that student use of jargon declined after training but that use of narrative techniques did not increase. Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level scores,more »used as indicators of complexity of sentences and word choice, were no different after instruction. Trainees’ movement of hands and hesitancy during talks was correlated negatively with audience ratings of credibility and clarity; smiling, on the other hand, was correlated with improvement in credibility, clarity and engagement scores given by audience members. We show that objective tools can be used to measure the success of communication training programs, that non-verbal cues are associated with audience judgments, and that an intensive communication course does change some, if not all, communication behaviors.« less
  4. As the science community has recognized the vital role of communicating to the public, science communication training has proliferated. The development of rigorous, comparable approaches to assessment of training has not kept pace. We conducted a fully controlled experiment using a semester-long science communication course, and audience assessment of communicator performance. Evaluators scored the communication competence of trainees and their matched, untrained controls, before and after training. Bayesian analysis of the data showed very small gains in communication skills of trainees, and no difference from untrained controls. High variance in scores suggests little agreement on what constitutes “good” communication.
  5. Abstract Urbanization is changing Earth's ecosystems by altering the interactions and feedbacks between the fundamental ecological and evolutionary processes that maintain life. Humans in cities alter the eco-evolutionary play by simultaneously changing both the actors and the stage on which the eco-evolutionary play takes place. Urbanization modifies land surfaces, microclimates, habitat connectivity, ecological networks, food webs, species diversity, and species composition. These environmental changes can lead to changes in phenotypic, genetic, and cultural makeup of wild populations that have important consequences for ecosystem function and the essential services that nature provides to human society, such as nutrient cycling, pollination, seed dispersal, food production, and water and air purification. Understanding and monitoring urbanization-induced evolutionary changes is important to inform strategies to achieve sustainability. In the present article, we propose that understanding these dynamics requires rigorous characterization of urbanizing regions as rapidly evolving, tightly coupled human–natural systems. We explore how the emergent properties of urbanization affect eco-evolutionary dynamics across space and time. We identify five key urban drivers of change—habitat modification, connectivity, heterogeneity, novel disturbances, and biotic interactions—and highlight the direct consequences of urbanization-driven eco-evolutionary change for nature's contributions to people. Then, we explore five emerging complexities—landscape complexity, urban discontinuities, socio-ecological heterogeneity,more »cross-scale interactions, legacies and time lags—that need to be tackled in future research. We propose that the evolving metacommunity concept provides a powerful framework to study urban eco-evolutionary dynamics.« less