Job market candidate
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Available for Interviews at :
Simposio de la Asociación Española de Economía (SAEe), December 15-17, Bilbao, Spain
Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA), January 6-8, Chicago, US
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Environmental and Energy Economics, Economics of Climate Change, Applied Microeconomics
“Compliance, Efficiency, and Instrument Choice: Evidence from Air Pollution Control in China” (Job Market Paper)
This research evaluates China's main air pollution control policy. In 2005, China decided on a 10% SO2 emissions reduction goal as part of the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010). I study the effect of this policy on pollution outcomes, using both the official, misreporting-prone indicator and independent NASA SO2 satellite data in a differences-in-differences strategy that exploits variation in target stringency at the province level. I find that results from the official and the satellite data differ initially when the Chinese government lacked the ability to effectively monitor SO2 pollution. Ultimately, however, the policy worked and reduced air pollution by more than 10%. The regulated provincial governments react both through rhetorical compliance, measured by a unique dataset of quantified political statements, and through real compliance. Rhetorical compliance increases, especially before the government gained the ability to monitor SO2 in 2008. Real compliance sets in through the shutdown of small, inefficient thermal units. Next, I compute detailed marginal abatement cost curves for SO2 for each province in China, thus illustrating the large heterogeneity in abatement cost across provinces. I use those curves to construct the counterfactual cost-efficient allocation of SO2 reduction targets across provinces. Using this benchmark, I find that the cost-efficient allocation would increase efficiency by 49% at the margin, by lowering marginal abatement cost from 658€/tSO2 to 338€/tSO2. This finding is robust to inclusion of a back-of-the-envelope measure for the marginal benefits of abatement. I conclude that a market-based allocation of SO2 reduction targets would have doubled the efficiency of China's main air pollution control policy.
"Searching for Carbon Leaks in Multinational Companies" with A. Dechezleprêtre, C. Gennaioli, R. Martin and M. Muûls, LSE Grantham Research Institute Working Paper No. 165.
Does climate change policy lead companies to shift the location of production, thereby creating carbon leakage? We examine the impact of the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) on the geographical distribution of carbon emissions within multinational companies based on data from the Carbon Disclosure Project for the period 2007-2014. Because they already operate from multiple locations, multinational firms should be the most prone to carbon leakage. Our data includes regional emissions of 1785 companies, of which 142 are subject to EU ETS regulation. We find no evidence that the EU ETS has induced a displacement of carbon emissions from Europe towards the rest of the world. Our results suggest that claims that the EU ETS would cause carbon leakage might have been exaggerated.
"Statistical Corruption in Beijing's Air Quality Data Has Likely Ended in 2012" (2016), Atmospheric Environment, 127 (February 2016), 365-371.
This research documents changes in likely misreporting in official air quality data from Beijing for the years 2008-2013. It is shown that, consistent with prior research, the official Chinese data report suspiciously few observations that exceed the politically important Blue Sky Day threshold, a particular air pollution level used to evaluate local officials, and an excess of observations just below that threshold. Similar data, measured by the US Embassy in Beijing, do not show this irregularity. To document likely misreporting, this analysis proposes a new way of comparing air quality data via Benford's Law, a statistical regularity known to fit air pollution data. Using this method to compare the official data to the US Embassy data for the first time, I find that the Chinese data fit Benford's Law poorly until a change in air quality measurements at the end of 2012. From 2013 onwards, the Chinese data fit Benford's Law closely. The US Embassy data, by contrast, exhibit no variation over time in the fit with Benford's Law, implying that the underlying pollution processes remain unchanged. These findings suggest that misreporting of air quality data for Beijing has likely ended in 2012. Additionally, I use aerosol optical density data to show the general applicability of this method of detecting likely misreporting in air pollution data.
"From Intention to Action: Can Nudges Help Consumers Choose Renewable Energy?" (with K. Momsen), Energy Policy, 74 (2014), 376-382.
In energy consumption, individuals feature a gap between intention and action. Survey data from the US, the UK, and other European countries show that 50-90% of respondents favour energy from renewable sources, even at a small premium. Yet less than 3% actually buy renewable energy. We investigate how nudges - a slight change in the information set that an individual faces when taking a decision - can help individuals align behaviour with intention. We present evidence from an original survey experiment on which nudges affect the choice whether to contract renewable energy or conventional energy. We find that only a default nudge has a significant effect, while all other nudges prove ineffective. In our setting, a default nudge increases the share of individuals who choose renewable energy by 44.6%.