Patrick Baylis

Prospective Graduate Students / Postdocs

This faculty member is currently not actively recruiting graduate students or Postdoctoral Fellows, but might consider co-supervision together with another faculty member.

Assistant Professor

Research Classification

Research Interests

Climate Changes and Impacts
Economic Planning of Energy
climate change economics
energy economics
environmental economics

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs


Research Methodology

Applied microeconomics
Natural Language Processing

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

Essays on environmental economics : environmental regulations and climate change adaptation (2023)

In Chapter 1, I study how newspaper closures affect environmental monitoring and enforcementactivities conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. First, I propose a modelof regulatory behaviour where newspapers influence the regulator’s optimal probability of detectingenvironmental violations, by working as vehicles of information dissemination about firms’environmental performance. I then use a difference-in-differences estimator to estimate the impactof newspaper closures on enforcement activities conducted by the Environmental ProtectionAgency. I find that a daily newspaper closure leads to a drop in the number of inspections, detected violations, and enforcement actions that is within a range of 8-22 percentage points of their yearly averages.In Chapter 2, I investigate two mechanisms that are behind the drop in monitoring and enforcement activities following a newspaper closure. First, consistent with the information mechanism I propose in the model presented in Chapter 1, I find evidence that newspapers serve as an informant to the regulator about potential sources of environmental violations, reducing the cost of detecting a violation. Second, I find that newspapers inform regulated facilities about enforcement activities conducted in other facilities within the same state and industry. The second information mechanism enhances compliance spillover effects of EPA activities, improving the effectiveness of regulation enforcement.Chapter 3 uses a longitudinal survey from Indonesia to examine whether the effects of droughtson individual consumption are mitigated by the ability to migrate. By instrumenting between surveymigration with pre-existing migrant networks, we show that one standard deviation drop inannual precipitation in the origin location reduces consumption by 1.82% for non-migrant individuals, but that migrants are actually able to increase consumption. Given a one standard deviation drop in annual precipitation, the ability to migrate leads to an increase of about 13.9% in consumption over the medium run. Migration is a potentially important way to mitigate the costs of being exposed to extreme weather events that are a result of climate change, and these results suggest that removing barriers to migration is a promising strategy for mitigating climate damages.

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Three essays on environmental and development economics (2023)

This dissertation presents three essays on Environmental and Development Economics. The first studies how economic activity erodes biodiversity and the role of decentralized institutions for achieving sustainable development. The second explores how structural change affects the geography of agriculture. The third focuses on legacies of coal power plant investments. This blend of short-term, spatial, and long-term analyses produces a comprehensive body of work that helps deepen our understanding of how economic activity shapes the environment. Chapter 2 documents biodiversity loss triggered by infrastructure expansion in India. Combining new data on infrastructure-driven deforestation with one million birdwatching diaries, and exploiting within-birdwatcher travel for identification, I find that infrastructure development drives 20% of total species loss and that species diversity does not recover in the medium run. Fortunately, species loss is more than halved when local institutions empower marginalized communities who are excluded from project planning. Informed consent by tribes is a key mechanism, underscoring the importance of grassroots institutions for balancing development and conservation. Chapter 3 studies the land use implications of internal migration in India. Using household microdata and a shift-share instrument for migration, we document sharp declines in crop production among migrant-sending households. Guided by a spatial equilibrium model, we find that non-migrant households living in the same village, as well as in more remote villages, contrastingly expand farming and adopt technology. Over half of aggregate production losses are cushioned by these spillovers, leading to a spatial reallocation of food production from urban to remote areas. Chapter 4 quantifies the long-run health effects of India’s coal power plants. Using an atmospheric dispersion model to compute an exogenous measure of cumulative exposure to power plant pollution, we find that a one standard deviation increase in this measure increases child mortality by 1.3 per 1,000 births. These effects are largely driven by exposure in utero, as well as exposure to private power plants built between 1992-2005. We find no evidence of differential economic development between more and less exposed districts, underscoring pollution as the main mechanism.

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