Economics and Business Division Seminars
December 2, 2016 (3:15 EH 211)
Speaker: Eric Alston, University of Colorado, Boulder
Topic: Ecuador's 2008 Constitution:The Political Economy of Securing an Aspirational Social Contract
Bio: Eric Alston's background displays a commitment to better understanding fundamental societal institutions such as the rule of law and property rights, with experience ranging from criminal justice reform advocacy to active involvement in constitutional drafting processes. Ultimately, it is this passion for understanding the institutional building blocks of modern societies that guides him in pursuit of his research agenda. Eric's current research projects blend his practical experience with an academic specialization in institutional and organizational analysis and law and economics, informed by his pursuit of a Masters in Economics from the University of Maryland and a JD from the University of Chicago. Previous areas of research include constitutional process design, constitutional drafting, constitutional implementation, economic development, comparative institutional analysis, and law & economics. Methods employed have ranged from statistical analysis of large data sets to creation of unique datasets based upon numerous constitutions. [CU Leeds School of Business]
September 12, 2016 (3:15 EH 211)
Speaker: Ivan Rudik, Iowa State University
Topic: External Impacts of Local Energy Policy: The Case of Renewable Portfolio Standards
Abstract: Renewable portfolio standards (RPSs) are state level policies that require in-state electricity providers to procure a minimum percentage of electricity from renewable sources. Using theoretical and empirical models, we show that RPSs induce out-of-state emissions reductions because states allow for inter state trade of the credits used for RPS compliance. When one state passes an RPS, it increases demand for credits sold by firms in other (potentially non-RPS) states. We find that increasing one state's RPS decreases coal generation and increases wind generation in outside states. The annual aggregate value of avoided criteria coal pollution ranges between $0.4-$2.0 billion.
September 30, 2016 (3:15 EH 211)
Speaker: Mar Reguant, Northwestern University
Topic: Learning from Schools about Energy Efficiency
Abstract: This paper studies the impacts of energy efficiency investments at public K-12 schools in California. Schools provide a rare laboratory to analyze energy efficiency as there are thousands of them, all pursuing very similar economic activities but exposed to different outdoor temperatures and existing infrastructures. We make use of high frequency metering data to develop several approaches to estimating counterfactual energy consumption absent the energy efficiency investments. In particular, we use difference-in-difference approaches with rich sets of fixed effects. We also implement a novel machine-learning approach to predict counterfactual energy consumption at treated schools, and validate the approach with non-treated schools. Using both approaches, we find that the energy efficiency projects in our sample reduce electricity consumption between 2 to 4% on average, which can result in substantial savings to schools.
October 21, 2016 (3:15 EH 211)
Speaker: Nathan Wozny, U.S Air Force Academy
Topic: Time Use and Earnings:What’s Gender got to do with it?
Abstract: This research, coauthored by Wozny and Nan Maxwell (Mathematica Policy Research), assesses how gender-based norms about work and household responsibilities and the economic incentives to specialize labor within a household create gender differences in time allocated to work and household production and earnings. It isolates the influence of each using the American Community Survey and American Time Use Survey and four groups of individuals with homogeneous within-group needs for household production: singles without children, single parents, marrieds without children, and married parents. Results suggest that norms contribute up to 62 minutes to the gender gap in daily time spent working, while specialization of labor in the household contributes up to 77 minutes to that same gap. The relative importance of gender-based norms in explaining time-use gaps, along with similar findings for labor market outcomes, suggest that policies designed to reduce gender gaps in time use and earnings might not be successful unless differences in the norms surrounding how females and males should behave in household production and work disappear.
October 28, 2016 (3:15 EH 211)
Speaker: Louis Preonas, UC Berkeley
Topic: Out of the Darkness and Into the Light? Development Effects of Rural Electrification
Abstract: Over 1 billion people still lack access to electricity. Developing countries are investing billions of dollars in rural energy access, with explicit goals of reducing poverty and spurring economic growth. Despite the scale of these programs, there is limited empirical evidence of their effectiveness. This paper estimates the effects of rural electrification on economic development in the context of India’s massive national electrification program, which improved power access in over 400,000 villages. We use a regression discontinuity design and high-resolution geospatial and administrative data to identify the medium-run economic effects of electrification. We find a substantial increase in electricity use, but we can reject even modest effects on labor markets, asset ownership, housing characteristics, village-wide outcomes, household wealth, and school enrollment. This suggests that rural electrification may not be as beneficial as previously thought.
November 18, 2016 (3:15 EH 211)
Speaker: Elisa Belfiori, Colorado State University
Topic: Carbon Trading, Carbon Taxes, and Social Discounting
Abstract: This paper studies the optimal taxation of carbon emissions in a dynastic economy. When the welfare function places direct Pareto weights on unborn generations, the social discount rate is lower than the discount rate of the current generation. I show that this welfare criterion has important consequences for the structure of the optimal regulatory system. In particular, I show that: (i) the optimal carbon tax does not in general equal the social cost of carbon (the Pigouvian rate); (ii) a subsidy on oil reserves is sometimes optimal; and (iii) carbon trading programs should limit the award of carbon offset allowances