Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The End of the Line: Overfishing on video

Good video looking at EU overfishing and why we will be "fishless" by 2050.

A useful video for my "economics of fishery students".


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Spatially disaggregated analysis of pollution

A must read paper for the pile. Apologies for using this blog as an online repository of papers I need to read but it helps me keep a record.

The abstract does not make for very interesting reading I am afraid. It is the techniques that are important in my view.

Measuring the effects of the Clean Air Act Amendments on ambient PM10 concentrations: The critical importance of a spatially disaggregated analysis

Maximilian Auffhammer, Antonio M. Bento and Scott E. Lowec


We examine the effects of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAAs) on ambient concentrations of PM10 in the United States between 1990 and 2005. We find that non-attainment designation has no effect on the “average monitor” in non-attainment counties, after controlling for weather and socioeconomic characteristics at the county level. In sharp contrast, if we allow for heterogeneous treatment by type of monitor and county, we do find that the 1990 CAAAs produced substantial effects. Our best estimate suggests that PM10 concentrations at monitors with concentrations above the national annual standard dropped by between 7 and View the MathML source, which is roughly equivalent to a 11–14% drop. We also show that monitors which were in violation of the daily standard experience two fewer days in violation of the daily standard the following year. Empirical results suggest that this treatment effect is independent of whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized the non-attainment designation.

Keywords: Air pollution; Clean air act; Spatial modeling


Monday, June 08, 2009

Pigs in Space

The geographical location of hog farms in the US and the impact of environmental regulations led to this inevitable blog title. I can only apologise.

However, the abstract does draw you in. What is the answer? Which of the three options won out? Now I have to also read the paper.

Environmental Regulations and the Structure of U.S. Hog Farms

Date: 2009
By: Nene, Gibson
Azzam, Azzeddine M.
Schoengold, Karina


The U.S hog production industry has been continually subjected to rapid structural changes since the early 1990s. The industry√Ęs move towards more concentrated large hog farms and geographical concentration of such farms, have triggered public concerns over the dangers such big animal feeding operations are likely to pose to the waters of the country. This study investigates the implications of state-level environmental regulations on the structure of hog farms. The results of this study suggest that environmental regulations will result in one of three possible scenarios: (1) a more competitive industry in which small hog operations are not adversely affected which will allow more small operations to enter rather than exit the industry; (2) a more concentrated hog production industry in which large operations survive while small operations exit the industry; (3) no change in the structure of the industry where both sizes of operations are not significantly affected by environmental stringency.

Research fellow position - economy, energy and climate

For recent environmental economics PhDs. Living in either Milan or Venice sounds great.

Research Programme on Sustainable Development
Research fellow position

The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM), an Italian research institute that carries out research on sustainable development, encourages to submit applications for a Research Fellow position. The successful candidate will join one of the two modelling teams at FEEM that are engaged in frontier research on the connections between the economy, energy and climate. An outline of the modelling done so far is available at and Duties will be carried out at the FEEM offices in Milan or Venice, Italy.

The candidate is expected to have a good general background in applied and theoretical economics, with previous experience in applied modelling work. Candidates must have a Ph.D. or be near its completion. The Ph.D should be preferably in economics; Ph.Ds in energy engineering/mathematics coupled with a solid economic background are also accepted. Experience in modelling, and proficiency in GAMS are important requisites.

The selected candidate will interact with researchers of different nationalities, and will write and present scientific papers. Part of the activities are realized in the context of European research projects. An excellent command of written and spoken English is essential for this position.

FEEM offers a truly international and interdisciplinary workplace. The strong ties with a world-wide network of research institutions engaged in environmental research and in particular on the analysis of climate change issues allows a continuous fruitful exchange of experiences. A full range of the activities of FEEM is available at

The successful candidate is expected to begin his/her assignment in September 2009. The appointment period will be at least one year long. Gross salary will be based on qualification and working experience (indicatively from 27,000 to 35,000 Euro/yearly). Higher salaries may be considered for particularly experienced candidates.

Applicants should send a detailed curriculum vitae with a full list of publications and at least one letter of recommendation to: Monica Eberle,

Deadline for applications: FEEM will begin considering candidates in June 2009 and will continue until the position is filled.


The EU Emissions Trading Scheme: assessment and outlook

After setting this question to my Econ 211 students as part of their assessment I was interested to come across an academic answer to the question. I hope this paper does not "too" closely resemble the answers given by my students for their sakes.

The EU Emissions Trading Scheme: assessment and outlook

Sébastien E. J. Walker

The Queen's College, University of Oxford


In this article I assess the design of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and the performance of its first Phase. The article argues that, contrary to common belief, Phase I fulfilled its objectives. It then discusses the changes that have been made to the Scheme's framework for Phase II, and those that are planned for Phase III, covering the latest developments and the recent price trends for emissions allowances. I conclude that the aforementioned changes constitute substantial improvements to the Scheme, while unwelcome uncertainties nevertheless remain over long-term price signals.


Saturday, June 06, 2009

"Pollution, Health, and Avoidance Behavior: Evidence from the Ports of Los Angeles"

I have a forthcoming paper the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty looking at the relationship between pollution exposure and wages.

Dirty Money: Is there a Wage Premium for Working in a Pollution Intensive Job? [PDF old working paper version]

This paper is part of a growing literature looking at the health and the environment by economists. We argue that individuals demand higher wages to compensate for the negative health implications. These authors argue that individuals act to reduce exposure.

This appears to be a great natural experiment that gets to the heart of the matter without many of the measurement problems that are associated with studies of this type.

"Pollution, Health, and Avoidance Behavior: Evidence from the Ports of Los Angeles"

NBER Working Paper No. w14939

ENRICO MORETTI, University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
MATTHEW NEIDELL, University of Chicago - Department of Economics and CISES

A pervasive problem in the literature on the health costs of pollution is that optimizing individuals may compensate for increases in pollution by reducing their exposure to protect their health. This implies that estimates of the health effects of pollution may vastly understate the full welfare effects of pollution, particularly for individuals most at risk who have the greatest incentive to adopt compensatory behavior. Furthermore, using ambient monitors to approximate individual exposure to pollution may induce considerable measurement error. We overcome these issues by estimating the short run effects of ozone on respiratory related health conditions using daily boat arrivals and departures into the two major ports of Los Angeles as an instrumental variable for ozone levels. While daily variation in boat traffic is a major contributor to local ozone pollution, time-varying pollution due to port activity is arguably a randomly determined event uncorrelated with factors related to health. Instrumental variable estimates are significantly larger than OLS estimates, indicating the importance of accounting for avoidance behavior and measurement error in understanding the full welfare effects from pollution.


Monday, June 01, 2009

Climate Change Articles

New blog to check out. Nice layout and a good place to get information.

Climate Change Articles


The End of Civilisation

Nothing better than a good "end of the world" story for a Monday morning. This should appeal to economists everywhere.

'Earth 2100': the Final Century of Civilization? [ABC News]

It's an idea that most of us would rather not face -- that within the next century, life as we know it could come to an end. Our civilization could crumble, leaving only traces of modern human existence behind.

To change the future, first you have to imagine it.

It seems outlandish, extreme -- even impossible. But according to cutting edge scientific research, it is a very real possibility. And unless we make drastic changes now, it could very well happen.

Experts have a stark warning: that unless we change course, the "perfect storm" of population growth, dwindling resources and climate change has the potential to converge in the next century with catastrophic results.


"Economists in the Pits?"

Apologies for the low posting rate - academics occasionally have to take a holiday and when that location is "internetless" even the most ardent blogger has to admit defeat.

In UK academia the pressure to publish in "A" journals is immense. However, with a large increase in the number of economists and the pressure to publish increasing from all directions it is no surprise that this is difficult to achieve (not least if you are an environmental economist).

This paper is of interest to any academic trying to pin down that "A" publication and perhaps even more interesting to those who have accepted that this is a dream not worth pursuing.

The abstract definitely sucks you in. How do the losers react and why is it harmful. Any "losers" reading this post should think how they have or are reacting to see if it matches. How can the system be changed from rewarding those who are able to publish in the top journals? How can that not be a good thing?

Economists in the Pits? [SSRN]

Bruno S. Frey
University of Zurich - Institute for Empirical Research in Economics (IEW); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

March 2009

CESifo Working Paper Series No. 2594

Academic economists today are caught in a "Publication Impossibility Theorem System" or PITS. To further their careers, they are required to publish in A-journals, but this is impossible for the vast majority because there are few slots open in such journals. Such academic competition is held to provide the right incentives for hard work, but there may be serious negative consequences: the wrong output may be produced in an inefficient way, the wrong people may be selected, and the losers may react in a harmful way. The paper suggests several ways for improvement.

Keywords: academia, economists, publication, journals, incentives, economic methodology

JEL Classifications: A1, D02, I23
Working Paper Series