nep-res New Economics Papers
on Resource Economics
Issue of 2017‒12‒03
three papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Long-run impacts of land regulation: evidence from tenancy reform in India By Besley, Timothy; Leight, Jessica; Pande, Rohini; Rao, Vijayendra
  2. Economic and Environmental Impacts of Raising Revenues for Climate Finance from Public Sources By Christoph Boehringer; Jan Schneider; Marco Springmann
  3. Prospects for a “just transition” away from coal-fired power generation in Australia: Learning from the closure of the Hazelwood Power Station By John Wiseman; Stephanie Campbell; Fergus Green

  1. By: Besley, Timothy; Leight, Jessica; Pande, Rohini; Rao, Vijayendra
    Abstract: Agricultural tenancy reforms have been widely enacted, but evidence on their long-run impact remains limited. In this paper, we provide such evidence by exploiting the quasi-random assignment of linguistically similar areas to different South Indian states that subsequently varied in tenancy regulation policies. Given imperfect credit markets, the impact of tenancy reform should vary by household wealth status, allowing us to exploit historic caste-based variation in landownership. Thirty years after the reforms, land inequality is lower in areas that saw greater intensity of tenancy reform, but the impact differs across caste groups. Tenancy reforms increase own cultivation among middle-caste households, but render low-caste households more likely to work as daily agricultural laborers. At the same time, agricultural wages increase. These results are consistent with tenancy regulations increasing land sales to relatively richer and more productive middle-caste tenants, but reducing land access for poorer low-caste tenants.
    Keywords: land reform; inequality; long-run impact of institutions
    JEL: O12 O13 Q15
    Date: 2016–01–01
  2. By: Christoph Boehringer (University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics); Jan Schneider (University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics); Marco Springmann (University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: In response to anthropogenic climate change, developed countries have committed themselves to raise 100 billion USD a year from 2020 onwards for addressing the needs of developing countries. In this paper, we investigate the economic and CO2 emission impacts of four alternative options for raising climate funds from public sources in developed countries: CO2 emission prices, wires charges on electricity consumption, a tax on international transport services, and the removal of fossil fuel subsidies. We find that these four options do not only induce very different global costs to raise given amounts of climate funds but have quite diverging implications for the cost incidence between developed and developing countries. Likewise, the global CO2 emission impacts of alternative fund-raising policies differ a lot.
    Keywords: climate finance; computable general equilibrium; green climate fund
    Date: 2017–11
  3. By: John Wiseman (Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne); Stephanie Campbell (Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne); Fergus Green (London School of Economics and Political Science)
    Abstract: Until its relatively sudden closure in March 2017, the Hazelwood Power Station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley was the most carbon-intensive electricity generator in Australia. It became a symbol of Australia’s reliance on coal and an electoral battleground in the bitter political struggles over climate policy that have raged since the mid-2000s. The announcement by Hazelwood’s owners, French multinational power company, Engie, in late 2016 that it would be closing the plant for commercial reasons, therefore came as somewhat of a shock. We argue that Australia’s political and economic institutions help to explain the autonomous decision of Engie to close the plant, the short notice period, and the lack of pre-closure government transition policy. These institutions discourage long-term policymaking and encourage a disproportionate amount of vote-seeking activity directed at marginal electorates. Straightforward “vote-seeking” is however too simplistic an explanation of the transition policies announced at the time of the Hazelwood closure. Of particular relevance is the fact that, over the last few years, the transition away from coal and towards renewable energy has become a virtual inevitability in the Australian energy sector. One important outcome of this trend has been the shift in position of the Australian union movement towards advocacy for “just transition” policies, bringing it both closer to—and, in some cases, in alliance with—environmental groups. Absent institutional reform, the most likely means by which coal closures could move closer to “best practice” in Australia is through action by unions and environmental groups to mobilise institutional investors to pressure energy companies to adopt more worker- and community-friendly, “just transition” policies. The most plausible institutional reform path, given Australia’s existing political-economic institutions, would involve the direct regulation of companies’ transition obligations. Yet, the more interventionist the regulatory change, the greater the costs imposed on existing generators and the more politically contentious the reforms are likely to be. In this difficult policymaking environment, an important variable is likely to be the agency of civil society actors in making the politics of energy/climate policymaking more conducive to just transition-oriented regulatory reforms. Our case study has demonstrated that the positions of key civil society stakeholders in Australia’s energy debate, including unions, environment groups and to some extent business groups have been converging toward a “just”—or at least an orderly—transition as a dominant political narrative for substantive policies to improve the transition arrangements in the Australian energy sector. Strengthening and perhaps formalising these alliances will improve the incentives for political parties to invest in long-term policies in the energy sector.
    Keywords: Australia, coal transitions, just transitions, regional policy, energy policy
    JEL: O38 R11
    Date: 2017–11

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