nep-res New Economics Papers
on Resource Economics
Issue of 2023‒01‒09
five papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. How Can We Improve Air Pollution?: Try Increasing Trust First By Cafferata, Fernando G.; Hoffmann, Bridget; Scartascini, Carlos
  2. Urban pollution: A global perspective By Rainald Borck; Philipp Schrauth
  3. How Regressive are Mobility-Related User Fees and Gasoline Taxes? By Edward L. Glaeser; Caitlin S. Gorback; James M. Poterba
  4. Man vs. Machine : Technological Promise and Political Limits of Automated Regulation Enforcement By Browne, Oliver R.; Gazze, Ludovica; Greenstone, Michael; Rostapshova, Olga
  5. Climate Change and Political Participation: Evidence from India By Amirapu, Amrit; Clots-Figueras, Irma; Rud, Juan Pablo

  1. By: Cafferata, Fernando G.; Hoffmann, Bridget; Scartascini, Carlos
    Abstract: Environmental policies are characterized by salient short-term costs and long-term benefits that are difficult to observe and to attribute to the government's efforts. These characteristics imply that citizens' support for environmental policies is highly dependent on their trust in the government's capability to implement solutions and commitment to investments in those policies. Using novel survey data from Mexico City, we show that trust in the government is positively correlated with citizens' willingness to support an additional tax approximately equal to a days minimum wage to improve air quality and greater preference for government retention of revenues from fees collected from polluting firms. We find similar correlations using the perceived quality of public goods as a measure of government competence. These results provide evidence that mistrust can be an obstacle to better environmental outcomes.
    Keywords: Trust;Mexico;Publicly provided private goods;Public services quality;Air pollution
    JEL: Q53 Q52 Q56 H23 H41 H42
    Date: 2021–08
  2. By: Rainald Borck (University of Potsdam, CESifo, DIW Berlin); Philipp Schrauth (University of Potsdam)
    Abstract: We use worldwide satellite data to analyse how population size and density affect urban pollution. We find that density significantly increases pollution exposure. Looking only at urban areas, we find that population size affects exposure more than density. Moreover, the effect is driven mostly by population commuting to core cities rather than the core city population itself. We analyse heterogeneity by geography and income levels. By and large, the influence of population on pollution is greatest in Asia and middle-income countries. A counterfactual simulation shows that PM2.5 exposure would fall by up to 36% and NO2 exposure up to 53% if within countries population size were equalized across all cities.
    Keywords: population density, air pollution, gridded data
    JEL: Q53 R12
    Date: 2022–12
  3. By: Edward L. Glaeser; Caitlin S. Gorback; James M. Poterba
    Abstract: Pigouvian taxes and user fees can address environmental externalities and efficiently fund transportation infrastructure, but these policies may place burdens on poorer households. This paper presents new evidence on the distributional consequences of the gasoline tax, bus and light rail charges and a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax. Gas taxes have become more regressive over time, partially because of environmentally-oriented technological change, although the share of expenditures on gas taxes declines with expenditures much less than the share of income spent on gas taxes declines with income. Replacing the gasoline tax with a household-level VMT tax would increase the average tax burden on households in the top income and expenditure deciles, because of their greater use of hybrid-electric and battery-electric vehicles. This progressive shift would be small given current levels of hybrid and electric vehicle ownership, but will be larger in the future if such vehicles continue to be more common among higher than lower income households. An expanded commercial VMT would place a larger burden, as a share of expenditures, on lower income or expenditure households, because better-off households consume more non-tradable goods that do not require transportation. User charges for airports, subways and commuter rail are progressive, while bus fees loom much larger for lower income households.
    JEL: H23 R48
    Date: 2022–12
  4. By: Browne, Oliver R. (University of California, Berkeley); Gazze, Ludovica (University of Warwick, Department of Economics & CAGE); Greenstone, Michael (University of Chicago); Rostapshova, Olga (University of Chicago)
    Abstract: New technologies allow perfect detection of environmental violations at near-zero marginal cost, but take-up is low. We conducted a field experiment to evaluate enforcement of water conservation rules with smart meters in Fresno, CA. Households were randomly assigned combinations of enforcement method (automated or in-person inspections) and fines. Automated enforcement increased households’ punishment rates from 0.1 to 14%, decreased water use by 3%, and reduced violations by 17%, while higher fine levels had little effect. However, automated enforcement also increased customer complaints by 1,102%, ultimately causing its cancellation and highlighting that political considerations limit technological solutions to enforcement challenges.
    Keywords: Field Experiment ; Automated Enforcement ; Remote Sensing ; Water Conservation JEL Codes: Q25 ; K42
    Date: 2022
  5. By: Amirapu, Amrit (University of Kent); Clots-Figueras, Irma (University of Kent); Rud, Juan Pablo (Royal Holloway, University of London)
    Abstract: We study the effects of extreme temperature shocks on political participation using data from Indian elections between 2009 and 2017. Taking advantage of localized, high-frequency data on land surface temperatures, we find that areas with greater cumulative exposure to extreme temperatures experience an increase in voter turnout and a change in the composition of the pool of candidates who stand for election. As a consequence, electoral outcomes are affected. We provide evidence that our results are driven by the negative effect of climate change on agricultural productivity. First, we show that the results are strongest in areas with a larger rural population. Second, we show that there is a non-monotonic relationship between temperatures and turnout which closely mirrors the relationship between temperatures and agricultural productivity. We also find that, following temperature shocks, winning candidates are more likely to have an agricultural background. Finally, we show that politicians with an agricultural background invest more in irrigation, which mitigates the effects of high temperatures, on both agricultural production and on turnout. Our paper provides new evidence about the ways in which political agents in developing countries (including both voters and candidates) may respond to climate change via political channels.
    Keywords: climate change, political economy, voter turnout
    JEL: O13 P48 Q54
    Date: 2022–11

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