nep-res New Economics Papers
on Resource Economics
Issue of 2015‒03‒22
three papers chosen by

  1. Urban development and air pollution: Evidence from a global panel of cities By Christian Hilber; Charles Palmer
  2. Transboundary Pollution Abatement: The Impact of Unilateral Commitment in Differential Games By Luisito Bertinelli; Amer Tabakovic; Luca Marchiori; Benteng Zou
  3. Customary International Law and Public Goods By Niels Petersen

  1. By: Christian Hilber; Charles Palmer
    Abstract: Study examines air pollution concentration in 75 urban areas between 2005 and 2011. Focuses specifically on the impacts of changes in the urban environment and transportation mode on pollution. A surprising finding of the research is that increasing car and population densities significantly reduce air pollution concentration in city centers where air pollution induced health risks are greatest. These effects are largely confined to cities in non-OECD countries. Two possible mechanisms for the negative effect of car density are explored: (i) increasing car density permits a decentralization of residential and economic activity; and (ii) car usage substitutes for motorbike usage. We find limited evidence in favour of (i) and no evidence in favour of (ii). We also observe a complex relationship between income and pollution concentration as well as a general downward-trend in pollution concentration over time. Overall, our findings are indicative that densely populated polycentric cities may be ‘greener’ and ‘healthier’ than comparable monocentric ones.
    Date: 2014–12
  2. By: Luisito Bertinelli (CREA, Université de Luxembourg); Amer Tabakovic (CREA, Université de Luxembourg); Luca Marchiori (Central Bank of Luxembourg); Benteng Zou (CREA, Université de Luxembourg)
    Abstract: The present study explores the strategic interactions of countries setting pollution abatement policies in a dynamic two-player game. To reach a common target of environmental quality, countries can choose to commit to a stream of pollution abate- ment right from the beginning of the game or decide upon abatement at each moment in time. Most of the literature studies homogenous strategies, where no country or all countries commit to a (same) predefined policy. The main novelty of this paper resides in the introduction of heterogeneous strategies, where only one country commits to a specific abatement policy and which is actually the kind of strategic behavior currently observed among large pollution nations. We find that the pollution level can be lower under heterogeneous than under homogenous strategies. A stringent environmental quality target will induce the committed player to produce an abatement effort that more than compensates the free-riding attitude of the non-committed player.
    Keywords: Heterogeneous strategies, differential games, transboundary pollution, abatement.
    JEL: Q55 C61 Q59
    Date: 2015
  3. By: Niels Petersen (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)
    Abstract: The paper examines the potential of customary international law to protect global public goods. In particular, it focuses on the question whether customary law can contribute to the mitigation of climate change. The analysis proceeds in the three steps. First, it will have a closer look at the concept of public goods and common pool resources in economic theory and experimental economics. On this basis, the second section examines the formation of customary international law. The analysis shows that sustaining cooperation in multilateral settings through customary law is difficult. With regard to the mitigation of climate change, it is unlikely that states will coordinate on an equilibrium that will lead to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The section then examines two further ways of identifying customary international law through moral interpretation and judicial lawmaking. However, the potential of these two avenues to protect global public goods effectively is rather limited. The final section analyzes the protection of global public goods through the initially unilateral extension of authority. One problem of global public goods is that states have shared authority over them. A solution might be to divide authority by extending the jurisdiction of the nation states. I will draw from an example concerning the protection of common pool resources, the protection of fish stocks, and analyze whether this example contains any lessons for the mitigation of climate change.
    JEL: K33
    Date: 2015–02

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