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Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Nov 2020)
No abstract available.
In Chapter 1, I study how households respond to financial rewards offered for achieving electricity conservation targets. Using an event-study empirical approach, I estimate the short-run and long-run changes in electricity use. I find that electricity use declines as households join the program and attempt to achieve their conservation targets, but rebounds close to pre-program levels as households leave the program. This suggests that households do not make changes that result in persistent electricity conservation, and that the ongoing incentive of the financial rewards is necessary for causing long-run lower electricity use. In Chapter 2, I exploit a discontinuity in the probability that households re-enroll in the same energy conservation program. This provides direct evidence on what determines households’ re-enrollment decisions, and permits me to use a fuzzy regression discontinuity empirical strategy to estimate the treatment effect of re-enrolling. I find households’ decisions whether to re-enroll are sensitive to their success or failure in achieving their conservation target but, conditional on their success, are largely independent of the level of conservation they achieve or their pre-determined characteristics. As a result, households do not make re-enrollment decisions that are consistent with the incentive structure of the reward program. Importantly for many incentive programs, this suggests households are using simple heuristics in making decisions rather than responding to the detailed information provided to them. In Chapter 3, I show that trade models incorporating multiple transport modes have imposed strong—and potentially unrealistic—restrictions on substitution patterns across mode-specific trade flows. In particular, I show that different models have implicitly assumed bilateral trade by air and sea to be both complements and substitutes, and this assumption has significant quantitative and qualititive implications for counterfactual trade patterns. Using freight costs for U.S. imports I estimate that the elasticity of substitution between modes. I find no evidence that transport modes are substitutes and limited evidence they are complements.
The first essay, co-authored with Sumeet Gulati, estimates the increase in the market share of ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances attributed to utility rebates in the US. Results show that a dollar increase in the rebate leads to a 0.3% increase in the share of ENERGY STAR-qualified clothes washers while the effect is not significant for dishwashers and refrigerators. Assuming a redemption rate of 40%, the cost of a megawatt hour saved is lower than the estimated cost of building and operating an additional power plant and the average on-peak spot price. Therefore, rebate programs for ENERGY STAR clothes washers are a cost-effective way to reduce energy demand.In the second essay I analyse the presence of pollution spillovers by looking at emission levels and changes in emissions. I use a spatial autoregressive (SAR) model with geographic distance and industry distance weight matrices as well as an extension of the SAR model that uses the two weight matrices simultaneously toexploit the variation in the toxicity-weighted emission levels and emission changes in a large sample of manufacturing facilities in Canada. I find that, compared to OLS results, these spatial linkages exist and are stronger for within sector linkages than geographic linkages. In the third essay I use firm-level characteristics to predict the lobbyingand abatement decision of firms in a model with two non-cooperating firms. There are three sources of firm heterogeneity, viz. the marginal cost of production, the emission intensity and the marginal cost factor of abatement. The decision to lobby or abate or do both depends on the cost-effectiveness of lobbying against that of abating. I find that a firm will abate and not lobby if its effective marginal abatement cost, which depends on output, is lower than a threshold value.