Working papers

[vc_title title=”Working papers and research in progress” title_align=”text-center” title_tag=”big_head”]
[vc_project][vc_project_single project_image=”147″ project_title=”Conservation policies: Who responds to price and who responds to prescription?” project_short_description=”with Laura O. Taylor and Roger von Haefen”]

Abstract:

The efficiency properties of price and non-price instruments for conservation in environmental policy are well understood. Yet, there is little evidence comparing the effectiveness of these instruments, especially when considering water resource management. We exploit a rich panel of residential water consumption to examine heterogeneous responses to both price and non-price conservation policies during times of drought while controlling for unobservable household characteristics. Our empirical models suggest that the burden of pricing policies fall disproportionately on low-income households and fail to reduce consumption among households who generally are large consumers of water. However, prescriptive policies such as restrictions on outdoor water use result in uniform responses across income classes while simultaneously targeting reductions from households with irrigation systems or historically high consumption.[/vc_project_single][vc_project_single project_image=”75″ project_title=”Information provision and consumer behavior: A natural experiment in billing frequency”]

Abstract:

In this study, I examine the causal effect of information provision on consumer behavior. When consumers make decisions with less than real-time information, they may misperceive price and quantity consumed. I exploit an exogenous transition from bi-monthly to monthly billing for residential water customers to explore the demand response to more frequent information. In contrast to previous studies, I find that customers increase consumption by approximately five percent as billing information increases. This result is reconciled in a model of price or quantity uncertainty, where the increase in billing frequency allows consumers to improve their perception of price and quantity consumed. Within this framework, I calculate welfare changes using treatment effects as sufficient statistics. My results suggest that increases in information provide consumers with welfare gains equivalent to 0.5 to 1 percent of annual expenditures on water. I find important heterogeneity in the response to billing frequency, suggesting an increase in nonessential uses of water.[/vc_project_single][vc_project_single project_image=”148″ project_title=”Incentives, green preferences, and private provision of environmental public goods”]

Abstract:

I consider the role of heterogeneous green preferences for private provision of environmental public goods in an asymmetric information context. Under varying degrees of information available to a regulator, I characterize equilibrium properties of several mechanisms. I find truth-revealing Nash equilibria that provide socially optimal public goods provision when the regulator can enforce individual consumption contracts as well as when reported consumption contracts are supplemented with group penalties. The role of budget balance is reconsidered as a policy intervention for correcting environmental market failures.[/vc_project_single][vc_project_single project_image=”116″ project_title=”Public transit alternatives and traffic congestion: Evidence from the Washington, D.C. Capital Bikeshare program” project_short_description=”with Timothy L. Hamilton”]

Abstract:

In this paper, we explore the impact of the Capital Bikeshare program in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area on private and public transportation use. Accounting for selection bias in a matching framework, we estimate a causal effect of the existence of a bicycle-sharing system on traffic congestion. We exploit a unique traffic dataset that is finely defined on a spatial and temporal scale. Our approach offers an advantageous means of examining within-city commuting decisions as opposed to examining changes in traffic patterns on major thruways and arterial highways. Our empirical results suggest that the availability of a bikeshare reduces motor vehicle congestion by roughly 2 percent within a neighborhood, though we identify important geographic spillover effects that may counteract any aggregate benefits from reductions in local pollution.[/vc_project_single][vc_project_single project_image=”150″ project_title=”A design replication study with panel data and two control groups” project_short_description=”with Paul J. Ferraro”]

Abstract:

Design-replication studies assess the comparability of treatment effect estimates from experimental and observational designs that share the same treatment group but different comparison groups. Our design-replication study uses, as a benchmark, a large-scale randomized field experiment that tested the effectiveness of norm-based messages designed to induce voluntary reductions in water consumption during a drought.  To form non-experimental comparison groups, we use data on approximately 150,000 households from two neighboring counties.  We explore the ability of fixed-effects, panel data designs to replicate the experimental benchmark’s estimated treatment effect.  Such designs are well suited for evaluating the impacts of local government programs where participating households do not self-select into the program, but they may have sorted themselves across administrative units based on fixed characteristics that also affect the outcomes. We explore a variety of designs, from simple linear, fixed-effects panel data estimators to more advanced non-parametric panel data estimators.  Design-replication studies, however, have often been criticized because they typically use a single treatment group and a single non-experimental comparison group. Without additional comparison groups, one cannot examine the robustness of the design or method – does it perform just as well when applied to another comparison group for which it should, based on theory and field knowledge, perform just as well.  With two potential pools of comparison households, we can explore the robustness of successful designs or methods to changes in the comparison group.[/vc_project_single][vc_project_single project_image=”151″ project_title=”Water supply shocks and the electricity generation mix” project_short_description=”with Jonathan Eyer”]

Abstract:

This paper considers the role of water scarcity on electricity generation from different fuel sources in geographically differentiated markets in the US. We find that hydroelectric generation decreases substantially in response to drought, though this baseline generation is offset by coal, natural gas, and other renewables depending on the geographic region. Results at both the state- and plant-level provide evidence that increases in water scarcity between 2001 and 2012 shifted the generation portfolio towards fossil fuels in many energy markets. We provide empirical evidence that droughts increased emissions of carbon as well as local pollutants. We estimate the social costs of water scarcity to be $10 million per month for a drought-ridden state attributable to carbon emissions alone.[/vc_project_single][/vc_project]

css.php