Economics and Business Division Seminars

Fall 2017 Speakers:

Sept. 14, 2017 (2:00-3:15pm EH 211)
Speaker: Teevrat Garg, Assistant Professor, UCSD School of Global Policy and Strategy

Topic: Effects of Heat Stress on Physiology and Livelihoods: Implications for Human Capital Accumulation
Abstract: We present estimates of the effects of extreme temperatures on human capital accumulation in India. Short-run temperature reduces math but not reading test scores through a physiological mechanism. However, this effect is temporary; hot days prior to the day of the test have no effect on performance. Longer-run temperature, in contrast, reduces both math and reading test scores through an agricultural income mechanism - hot days during the growing season reduce agricultural yields and test score performance with comparatively modest effects of hot days in the non-growing season. The roll-out of a conditional cash transfer program, by providing a safety net for the poor, substantially weakens the link between longer-run temperature and test scores. Our results indicate that (1) extreme temperatures can affect a single economic outcome through multiple channels over different time horizons requiring multiple policy instruments to combat rising heat stress and (2) that absent social protection programs, climate change will have disproportionate and large negative impacts on human capital accumulation of poor populations in agrarian economies. (flyerPDF versionText only version)

Spring 2017 Speakers:

March 10, 2017 (3:15 EH 211)
Speaker: Christoph Böhringer, University of Oldenburg
: Paris After Trump: Carbon Tariffs Reloaded
Abstract: The Paris Agreement adopted in December 2015 builds on global cooperation and coordination of greenhouse gas emission abatement where more than 190 countries contribute via voluntary pledges, so-called intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs). The Agreement entered into force on 5 October 2016, after all the world top emitters – most notably, China, the United States, India, and the European Union – ratified. However, the outcome of the recent US presidential elections may throw a serious wrench in the international climate policy works. Opposite to Barack Obama who pushed Paris as a “turning point for the planet” his successor Donald Trump has called climate change a “hoax” and promised to scrap the deal. Against the background of a potential US withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, this paper assesses the economic impacts of carbon tariffs levied  by Paris-compliant countries on US imports and the consequences of US retaliation by optimal tariffs as well as the outcome of a multilateral trade war. For our quantitative assessment we use a multi-sectoral multi-regional computable general equilibrium (CGE) model based on most recent data from the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP). (flyer)

March 17, 2017 (3:15 EH 211)
Speaker: Nick Kuminoff, Arizona State University

Topic: Hazed and Confused: The Effects of Air Pollution on Cognitive Functioning and Financial Decision Making Among the Elderly
Abstract: Dementia is one of the most terrifying and expensive shocks to human health. In its most common form—Alzheimer’s disease—patients experience a progressive decline of their cognitive and functional skills. The medical literature demonstrates that ambient air pollution is positively associated with dementia rates in particular cohorts and geographic locales. Our study provides the first nationally representative longitudinal cohort study of how long term exposure to air pollution affects cognitive decline and financial decision making among the elderly. We link administrative records from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services to information on spatial sorting in the housing market and leverage a quasi-experimental design to estimate how long term pollution exposure affects a variety of financial and health outcomes including (1) medically diagnosed cognitive impairment, (2) health care expenditures, (3) potential savings in health insurance markets, and (4) the probability of violating axioms of consumer preference theory when choosing among health insurance plans.  Preliminary results suggest that long term exposure to fine particulates negatively affects all of these outcomes.  For example, we find that a 10 microgram per cubic meter increase in 10-year annual average exposure to fine particles (pm2.5) increases the probability of being diagnosed with dementia by one to two percentage points. (flyer) 

April 14, 2017 (3:15 EH 211)
Speaker: Arthur Van Bentham, Wharton School of Business

Topic: Sufficient Statistics for Imperfect Externality-Correcting Policies
Abstract: Pigouvian taxes can fully correct for market failures due to externalities, but actual policies are commonly forced to deviate from the Pigouvian ideal due to administrative or political constraints. We utilize our approach in three diverse empirical applications: random mismeasurement in externalities, imperfect spatial policy differentiation, and heterogeneity in the longevity of energy-consuming durable goods. Regarding the latter, we use our method and a novel data set and find that policies that regulate vehicle fuel-economy, but ignore the differences in average longevity across types of automobiles, recover only about one-quarter to one-third of the welfare gains achievable by a policy that also takes product longevity into account. In contrast, our other two empirical applications suggest that policy imperfections have only small welfare costs. (flyer)


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