Research

Publications


Do Energy Efficiency Investments Deliver at the Right Time? (with Lucas W. Davis).

American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. Forthcoming.

Paper Supplementary Material NBER Working Paper Version

Media and Outreach: Vox, EI at Haas Blog


Drilling Like There's No Tomorrow: Bankruptcy, Insurance, and Environmental Risk.

American Economic Review (2019).

Paper Supplementary Material

Media and Outreach: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Globe and Mail, Wall Street Journal, AEA Chart of the Week, SIEPR Policy Brief, EI at Haas Blog


A Credible Approach for Measuring Inframarginal Participation in Energy Efficiency Programs (with Lucas W. Davis).

Journal of Public Economics (2014).

Paper


Working Papers


Moral Hazard, Wildfires, and the Economic Incidence of Natural Disasters (with Patrick Baylis).

NBER Working Paper 26550 (Non-paywall Version) Earlier SIEPR Working Paper

Media and Outreach: NBER Digest, Politico, RFF Resources Radio, EI at Haas Blog, Marginal Revolution


Does the Environment Matter at the Ballot Box? Persuasive Effects of a New Externality from Fracking.

Coming soon (draft available on request).

Abstract: In principle, the regulation of externalities in a democracy is subject to electoral discipline. In practice, there is limited evidence on whether voters hold politicians accountable for the perceived quality of environmental regulation. This study examines this question through the lens of energy regulation in the U.S. states of Texas and Oklahoma. These states select their oil and gas regulators via popular ballot, creating an opportunity to observe voter and candidate behavior both in generalist races (e.g., Governor) and in a narrower race that unbundles energy regulation from other issues. I consider the effects of a new and costly externality: earthquakes caused by disposal of drilling waste. Text analysis of campaign news coverage shows that induced seismicity received little attention in the governor campaign but heavy emphasis in the energy regulator race, consistent with theoretical predictions about elections for specialist regulators (Besley & Coate, 2003). Earthquake exposure had no effect on overall turnout or candidate choice in the governor race. For the energy regulator, earthquake exposure slightly reduced the relative performance of the Republican candidate and also reduced ballot rolloff, consistent with increased attention among voters. However, these persuasive effects were small at most. Instead, vote shares for the energy regulator and other races are almost entirely explained by local partisan lean regardless of earthquake exposure. Overall, these results suggest that existing models of voting and the environment may assume unrealistically high levels of attention and unrealistically low levels of partisan polarization. The electoral consequences of environmental externalities in partisan races may be limited.


Work in Progress


Urban Density and Travel Demand (with Mark Jacobsen and Laura Schewel).

Abstract: The transportation sector accounts for about one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce externalities from driving, recent policies have sought to increase urban density. This project uses new data to revisit the effects of urban form on travel demand. We take advantage of panel data on individual mobility gathered from mobile devices for a large sample of U.S. households. This new empirical approach complements existing evidence on urban density and driving, which relies on cross-sectional, survey-based approaches.


Allocative Efficiency in Wildland Fire Policy.

Abstract: Wildfires impose a variety of large and growing costs via property damage, air pollution in downwind communities, electricity service disruptions, and other channels. Of these various costs, policies to manage wildfire are overwhelmingly focused on preventing property damage. This study compares the marginal benefit of past fire management investments across these categories. Our focus is on understanding whether these large public expenditures on this growing problem are allocated efficiently across objectives.


Peer Effects in Energy Efficiency Program Participation.

Slides

Policy and Outreach


Lead author for California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) study, "Orphan Wells in California" (2019).

Study page

Earlier Work on Environmental Science & Policy


Costa Rica’s payment for environmental services program: Intention, implementation, and impact (with G. Arturo Sánchez-Azofeifa, Alexander Pfaff, and Juan Andres Robalino).

Conservation Biology (2007).


Assessing catch shares' effects: Evidence from federal United States and associated British Columbian fisheries (with Dietmar Grimm, Ivan Barkhorn, David Festa, Kate Bonzon, Valerie Hovland, and Jason Blau).

Marine Policy (2012).


Prediction and verification of possible reef-fish spawning aggregation sites in Los Roques Archipelago National Park, Venezuela (with Marco Romero, Juan Posada, Shin Kobara, and Will Heyman).

Journal of Fish Biology (2010).


Rhythms of gene expression in a fluctuating intertidal environment (with Andrew Gracey, Maxine Chaney, Will Tyburczy, Kwasi Connor, and George Somero).

Current Biology (2008).


Sharing the catch, conserving the fish (with David Festa and Diane Regas).

Issues in Science and Technology (2008).