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Berkeley Enviro., Energy, and Resource Economics Seminar

Student presentation schedule

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Presentations begin at 12pm SHARP and conclude at 1pm in Giannini Hall, room 248.

Fall 2018 schedule

22 August 2018


Presenter: Shaoda Wang
Title: “Environmental Regulation and Firm Productivity in China: Estimates from a Regression Discontinuity Design”
Abstract: This paper estimates the effect of environmental regulation on firm productivity using a regression discontinuity design implicit in China’s water quality monitoring system. Because water quality readings are important for political evaluations, and the monitoring stations only capture emissions from their upstream regions, local governments are incentivized to enforce tighter environmental regulations on firms immediately upstream of a monitoring station, rather than those immediately downstream. Exploiting this discontinuity, we find that upstream firms’ TFP is 27% lower than that of downstream firms, indicating that China’s water-pollution abatement target (2016-2020) would lead to roughly one trillion Chinese Yuan loss in industrial output value.

29 August 2018


Presenter: Karl Dunkle-Werner
Title: “US Nuclear Closures and Air Pollution”
Abstract: Nuclear power is the largest source of non-fossil energy in the US, but the plants are expensive to run, and many are closing down. These shutdowns cause other plants to produce more electricity and release more air pollution. This early-stage project investigates the damages from these changes in air pollution, as well as potential policy responses.


Presenter: Stephen Jarvis
Title: “Choosing between environmental ills: a study of the phase-out of nuclear power in Germany”
Abstract: This study examines the impacts of Germany’s decision to phase-out nuclear power. In response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, Germany committed to phasing out nuclear power by 2022, and immediately shutdown almost half of their operating nuclear reactors. In the long-term the government aims to replace this lost generation with renewable sources as part of Germany’s ambitious Energiewende initiative. To date though much of the gap has likely been filled using fossil fuels, particularly coal. Our analysis utilizes a novel machine learning approach to identify the power plants that stepped in as nuclear capacity was taken offline. We use this to estimate empirically the private costs from higher electricity prices, as well as the external costs from increased emissions of CO2 and local pollutants.

19 September 2018


Presenter: Deirdre Sutula
Title: “Flooding and Flood Insurance in the UK”
Abstract: TBA

3 October 2018


Presenter: Scott Kaplan
Title: “Recreational Damages from Air Pollution: Evidence from a Secondary Ticket Marketplace for Major League Baseball Games”
Abstract: This project aims to measure the economic cost of air pollution in a recreational setting. We leverage a unique environment to study the effects of different types of air pollution (specifically, ozone or PM2.5, which may result from fires or other causes) on a market good, namely tickets to Major League Baseball (MLB) games. We use novel data-scraping methods to collect (i) individual ticket listing level-data for each future MLB game each half-hour from a widely used online secondary marketplace, and (ii) hourly air quality data (and forecasts) in cities with MLB teams. We also leverage randomly announced “Action Days,” which are public air pollutant notices warning people about poor air quality conditions (e.g. Spare the Air Days), as well as wildfire events that may cause severe reductions in air quality. Our goal is to understand the effect of air pollution levels and warnings on price fluctuations in the secondary ticket marketplace for MLB games. In order to determine the economic significance of this estimated cost of air pollution, we plan to compare it to other economic effects, for example the effect of a one standard deviation change in game-time temperature from the expected climatic mean, a starting all-star pitcher versus non-all-star starter, the playoff probability of the home team, a weekday versus weekend game, etc.

10 October 2018


Presenter: Gabe Englander
Title: “Extraction, Enforcement, and Detection Avoidance in an International Property Rights Regime”
Abstract: I test whether Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), an international property rights regime covering 30% of the planet, affect fishing effort using a boundary regression discontinuity design and two global, high resolution fishing effort datasets. Hours of fishing by unauthorized foreign vessels drops discontinuously by more than 80% just inside EEZs compared to just outside EEZs on the high seas, a difference of more than 50,000 hours of fishing. However, this net effect is concentrated in a small number of EEZs; most EEZs do not deter unauthorized foreign fishing effort. Given the high cost of patrolling EEZ boundaries, I find evidence that deterrence only occurs in the most valuable EEZs. EEZs in the top net primary productivity decile (quintile) account for 84% (97%) of the deterrence effect. I also find evidence that unauthorized foreign vessels strategically manipulate their Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponders to avoid being detected fishing illegally in another nation’s EEZ. These vessels are four times more likely to turn their transponder off when they are just outside another nation’s EEZ compared to when they are just inside another nation’s EEZ. This strategic behavior reveals that some vessels anticipate a penalty from illegal fishing and illustrates the difficulty coastal nations face in enforcing their EEZs.

17 October 2018


Presenter: Itai Trilnick
Title: “Micro-Climate Engineering for Climate Change Adaptation in Agriculture”
Abstract: TBA

31 October 2018


Presenter: Kwabena Donkor
Title: “Default Options and Active Choice: The Role of Cognitive Cost and Social Pressure”
Abstract: TBA

14 November 2018


Presenter: Dina Gorenshteyn
Title: TBA
Abstract: TBA

28 November 2018


Presenter: Hal Gordon
Title: TBA
Abstract: TBA