Job market paper
A Policy by Any Other Name: Unconventional Industrial Policy in the US Residential Solar Industry
Private Benefits from Public Investment in Climate Adaptation and Resilience (w/ Joseph E. Aldy)
Spatial Sorting, Agglomeration Economies, and Travel Cost Endogeneity in Recreation Demand Models
Work in progress
Clearing the Air: The Welfare Effects of the Clean Air Act’s Regional Haze Rule
Hashtags for Hotelling: User-generated Social Media Data and Recreation Demand Models
Increasing the Adoption of Rooftop Solar in Madhya Pradesh (w/ Teevrat Garg and Meera Mahadevan)
Complementarities and Optimal Targeting of Electric Vehicle and Solar PV Subsidies (w/ Frank Pinter)
Voluntary Purchases and Adverse Selection in the Market for Flood Insurance (w/ Carolyn Kousky and Oliver Wing)
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 2021Flood-related events are the most damaging natural hazard in the United States, yet many households at risk do not have flood insurance. Using detailed policy- and claims-level data from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), we conduct a holistic analysis of the market for publicly provided flood insurance in the U.S., focusing on not only high-risk areas subject to an incomplete mandate requiring the purchase of insurance, but also lower risk areas where no such mandate exists. We are able to better understand determinants of demand for insurance in a setting with voluntary purchase and low take-up and therefore provide a more complete analysis of the market for flood insurance in the U.S. than previous work. In addition to exploring correlates of demand for flood insurance, this paper provides quasi-experimental estimates of households’ willingness-to-pay for flood insurance and finds strong evidence to suggest the NFIP failing to utilize full information on flood risk leads to adverse selection in the program.
Analysis of Proposed 20-year Mineral Leasing Withdrawal in Superior National Forest (w/ James H. Stock)
Ecological Economics, 2022The Rainy River Watershed on the Superior National Forest is home to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). It also contains deposits of copper, nickel, and trace metals, and copper-nickel mining has been proposed adjacent to and upstream of the BWCAW. In 2017, the US Department of Agriculture proposed withdrawing land in the Rainy River Watershed within the Superior National Forest from mineral leasing, a position it reversed in 2018. These developments highlight the potential tradeoff between economic benefits from mining and concerns about its negative economic consequences for the local recreational and amenity-based economy. Previous studies of mining in the Superior National Forest focus on static effects on a single industry (e.g., mining) at some unspecified point over a medium-run horizon. We draw on these studies and the economics literature to provide a unified analysis of the effect of the proposed mining development on income and employment over time. Our results suggest that the proposed mining would lead to a boom-bust cycle that is typical of resource extraction economies, exacerbated by the likely negative effect on the recreation industry.
'Underwaterwriting:' From Theory to Empiricism in Regional Mortgage Markets in the US (w/ Jesse M. Keenan)
Climatic Change, 2020This article provides the theoretical foundation for the concept of "Underwaterwriting," which can be understood as various informational and institutional limitations related to environmental exposure and climate change impacts—specifically flooding and sea level rise inundation—shaping firm participation in mortgage markets. Underwaterwriting suggests that the unevenness of scientific knowledge and local soft information, as well as the institutional barriers for the utilization of that information, could result in determinations of risk that may not accurately reflect long-term asset performance or credit loss. These informational asymmetries may result in assignments of risk that reflect a degree of arbitrariness or inaccuracy that may operate to strand assets and shed or increase market share in ways that are inefficient and may otherwise lead to negative public externalities. Consistent with this theory, this article provides evidence that concentrated local lenders are transferring risk in high-risk coastal geographies in the Southeast Atlantic and Gulf Coasts (U.S.) through increased securitization of mortgages. These findings provide an impetus for supporting more robust analysis of climate-risk in light of forthcoming accounting rules that require an upfront accounting of forward-looking credit losses.
Comparing the Effects of Behaviorally Informed Interventions on Flood Insurance Demand: An Experimental Analysis of 'Boosts' and 'Nudges'
Behavioural Public Policy, 2019This paper compares the effects of two types of behaviorally informed policy – nudges and boosts – that are designed to increase consumer demand for insurance against low-probability, high-consequence events. Using previous findings in the behavioral sciences literature, this paper constructs and implements two nudges (an ‘informational’ and an ‘affective’ nudge) and a statistical numeracy boost and then elicits individual risk beliefs and demand for flood insurance using a contingent valuation survey of 331 participants recruited from an online labor pool. Using a two-limit Tobit model to estimate willingness to pay (WTP) for flood insurance, this paper finds that the affective and informational nudges result in increases in WTP for flood insurance of roughly $21/month and $11/month relative to the boost, respectively. Taken together, the findings of this paper suggest that nudges are the more effective behaviorally informed policy in this setting, particularly when the nudge design targets the affect and availability heuristics; however, additional research is necessary to establish sufficient conditions for this conclusion.