nep-res New Economics Papers
on Resource Economics
Issue of 2023‒06‒26
three papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Prenatal Exposure to PM2.5 and Infant Birth Outcomes: Evidence from a Population-Wide Database By Jahanshahi, Babak; Johnston, Brian; McVicar, Duncan; McGovern, Mark; O'Reilly, Dermot; Rowland, Neil; Vlachos, Stavros
  2. Why is Satisfaction from Pro-Environmental Behaviors Increasing in Costs? Insights from the Rational-Choice Decision-Error Framework By Heinz Welsch
  3. Africa under a Warming Climate: The Role of Trade Towards Building Resilient Adaptation in Agriculture By Henri Casella; Jaime de Melo

  1. By: Jahanshahi, Babak; Johnston, Brian; McVicar, Duncan; McGovern, Mark; O'Reilly, Dermot; Rowland, Neil; Vlachos, Stavros
    Abstract: There are growing concerns about the impact of pollution on maternal and infant health. In the UK in 2018, 36% of local authorities had levels of PM2.5 where exposure exceeded the annual level recommended by the World Health Organisation at the time. Using a population database of births in Northern Ireland linked to localised geographic information on pollution in mothers' postcodes (zip codes) of residence during pregnancy, we examine whether prenatal exposure to PM2.5 is associated with a comprehensive range of birth outcomes. Overall, we find little evidence that particulate matter is related to worse infant outcomes once we implement a fixed effects approach that accounts for time-invariant factors common to mothers. While reducing pollution remains an urgent public health priority, our results imply that improvements in short-run levels of prenatal PM2.5 exposure are unlikely to be sufficient by themselves to reduce disparities in birth outcomes.
    Keywords: Pollution, PM2.5, infant outcomes, sibling fixed-effects, birth weight
    JEL: I10 J10 Q53
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Heinz Welsch (University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: The literature on subjective well-being (SWB) and the environment has found robust evidence of positive net marginal SWB from pro-environmental behavior (PEB), that is, positive marginal SWB net of the associated costs in terms of money, time and effort (Finding 1). Accordingly, people could increase their SWB (utility) by behaving more pro-environmentally. In addition, net marginal SWB was found to be larger with respect to more costly than with respect to less costly PEBs (Finding 2). Finding 1 is at odds with rational choice theory’s demand that marginal utility be equalized with marginal costs, that is, net marginal utility be zero. The finding can be (and has been) explained by decision error, that is, a failure in forecasting the well-being consequences of an act of choice. This paper uses the rational-choice decision-error framework to show that if (i) observed levels of PEB are the result of rational choice and (ii) there is positive net marginal SWB at observed PEB levels due to decision error, then net marginal SWB from a PEB is increasing in its marginal costs. The ability of the rational-choice decision error framework to explain not only Finding 1 but Finding 2 provides empirical support for that framework.
    Keywords: pro-environmental behavior; subjective well-being; decision error; rational choice; affective forecasting
    Date: 2023–05
  3. By: Henri Casella; Jaime de Melo
    Abstract: The paper reports on evidence on how trade can help Africa adapt to Climate Change (CC) along three dimensions: (i) fast-onset events from short-lived extreme occurrences (floods, extreme temperatures); (ii) slow-onset events (rise in average temperatures and sea-level rise); (iii) trade facilitation policies.• Fast onset events. Trade reduces the amplitude of extreme events like a drought. But policy reactions to large shocks can increase the amplitude of the shock. During the South African drought of 2015-6, policies had spillovers in neighboring countries. Following the 2008-09 financial crisis, export restrictions by major crop exporters and reduction in tariffs by importers amplified the shock. Policy coordination is needed to control spillover effects.• Slow-onset events. Modelling efforts have concentrated on exploring the ‘margins’ of adjustment to CC: changes in production levels of existing crops; switches in crops; changes in land utilization; labor relocating to urban areas/migration; adjustments in the volume of trade at different scales (regional or international). All reviewed models show that enlarging the channels of adjustment mitigate the amplitude of the loss in welfare from expected CC over the 21st Century. Decomposing the welfare changes suggests two conclusions. First adjustments in crop selection and in bilateral trade partners contribute approximately equally to reducing the costs of adjustments. Second, the expected sharp increase in food prices resulting from warming is likely to hit SSA most strongly.• Trade facilitation. A functioning global trading system is a public good to become more valuable under CC. Free and unfettered access to global food (and other key) supplies must be ensured, especially for Africa. This requires a rapprochement between the trade and climate regimes. As an entry point, besides dealing with harmful subsidies (fossil fuels, fisheries), developed countries could conclude a plurilateral Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) that would be a triple win for trade, for the environment, and for African agriculture that needs tariff-free access to climate-Adaptation related EGs (AEGs). The paper documents the magnitude of tariffs on Environmental Goods.The paper concludes that African countries could improve the functioning of the continental policy architecture by several measures. First by excluding AEGs from exclusion lists on the AfCFTA while simultaneously reducing their barriers to trade on AEGs and EPPs. Second, preserving the environment should be mainstreamed in the African trade architecture by including environmental provisions.
    Keywords: Climate change, adaptation, Africa, Environmental goods
    JEL: Q50 Q56 F18 F64
    Date: 2022–07

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