Research

Peer-Reviewed Publications:
  • Air Quality Warnings and Temporary Driving Bans: Evidence from Air Pollution, Car Trips, and Mass-Transit Ridership in Santiago. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 2021. [View]
  • Is Mining and Environmental Disamenity? Evidence from Resource Extraction Site Openings. Environmental and Resource Economics, 2020. [View]
  • Spatial Aggregation Bias in Implicit Prices of Environmental Amenities. Economics Bulletin, 2019. [View]
  • Mineral Taxes and the Local Public Goods Provision in Mining Communities (with Dusan Paredes). Resources Policy, 2017. [View]
Working Papers: 

Coal-to-Gas Fuel Switching and its Effects on Housing Prices (with Scott Loveridge) (R&R at Energy Economics) [Latest Version]

We derive causal property value impacts of the coal-to-gas fuel switching conversion implemented by several power plants in the United States. We use an extensive dataset of property transactions around the country and adopt several spatial difference-in-difference approaches that use records of residential property transactions of homes with pollution exposure and proximity to the fuel switching plants before and after the switch. The use of homes near coal-fired plants that did not innovate strengthens these estimations. The results indicate that the shutdown of coal-fired generators increases property values by 18.8% within 0.5 miles of fuel-switching stations, which brings to light the strong and localized disamenity effect of coal-fired power plants. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that the fuel switching led to a 14.5-million increase in property values around the country.

The Health Benefits of Solar Power Generation: Evidence from Chile (with Beia Spiller and Cristobal Ruiz-Tagle). Environmental Defense Fund Economics Discussion Paper Series, EDF EDP 21-02 [Link][Blog Post]

Renewable energy can yield social benefits through local air quality improvements and their subsequent effects on human health. We estimate some of these benefits using data gathered during the rapid adoption of large-scale solar power generation in Chile over the last decade. Relying on exogenous variation from incremental solar generation capacity over time, we find that solar energy displaces fossil fuel generation (primarily coal-fired generation) and curtails hospital admissions, particularly those due to lower respiratory diseases. These effects are noted mostly in cities downwind of displaced fossil fuel generation and are present across all age groups. Our results document the existence of an additional channel through which renewable energy can increase social welfare.

Oil, Politics, and “Corrupt Bastards” (with Alexander James) (Under Review) [Latest Version]

Does oil corrupt? We test this theory using forty years of U.S. state-level data mea- suring corruption as both convictions of corruption and the frequency that words like “corrupt,” “fraud,” and “bribe”— and their iterations—appear in newspapers. We find that oil-rich U.S. states experience more corruption than their oil-poor counter- parts, particularly during periods of high oil prices, suggesting a causal relationship. Exploring mechanisms, we show that oil wealth depresses demand for government accountability (measured as the prevalence of local newspapers) and increases state and local campaign contributions from energy and natural resource industries. Implications are discussed.

Digging Deep: Resource Exploitation and High-Level Education (with Lenin Balza and Camilo de los Rios) [New version coming soon]

Do resource extraction booms crowd out postsecondary educational investments? We shed light on this question by exploring higher education enrollment and completion decisions of Chilean high school seniors who graduated during the 2000scommodities boom. For identification, we rely on exogenous variation that come from copper prices along with the pre-treatment spatial distribution of mineral leases throughout the country. We find that mining booms do not affect students’ likelihoodof enrolling in a postsecondary education. However, there is a significant effect in the likelihood of dropping out from college, especially from a four-year professional degree program. An examination of potential mechanisms reveals that lower returns to higher education and fewer inputs available to primary and secondary schools in resource-rich areas seem to be driving the results. Our findings constitute strong evidence that natural resources may severely affect human capital accumulation in resource-rich places, resulting in detrimental long-term consequences for economic development and growth.

Work in Progress:

Economic Shocks, Voter Turnout, and Regional Migration (with Alexander James)

The Local Pollution and Health Impact of the Copper Mining Expansion in Chile (with Lenin Balza, Camilo de los Rios, and Gustavo Ahumada)

Renewables, Pollution Avoided, and Infant Health (with Beia Spiller)

Pre-Dissertation Work:
  • Peer-Reviewed Publications:
    • Disaggregation of Sectors in Social Accounting Matrices Using a Customized Wolsky Method: A Comment on its Estimation Bias. Applied Economics Letters, 2016. [View]
    • Scales of Production and Mining Economies: The Case of Chile in its Regional Dimension (with Patricio Aroca) (In Spanish). EURE, 2014. [View][Media Coverage]
  • Chapters in Books:
    • Project Analysis and the Regional Dimension (with P. Aroca), in Evaluación Social de Proyectos: Orientaciones para su Aplicación. Aguilera, R. (Editor). Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República, Uruguay. 2011.
    • Copper Mining in the Antofagasta Region (with P. Aroca), in Región de Antofagasta, Pasado, Presente y Futuro. Llagostera, A. (Editor). Ediciones Universitarias, Universidad Católica del Norte, Chile. 2010.
    • Water Resources in a Dry Area (with M. Lufin and M. Hasewaga), in Región de Antofagasta, Pasado, Presente y Futuro. Llagostera, A. (Editor). Ediciones Universitarias, Universidad Católica del Norte, Chile. 2010.
    • La Experiencia del Instituto de Economía Aplicada Regional (IDEAR) de la Universidad Católica del Norte (with E. López), in Centros de pensamiento estratégico territorial: Instrumentos de la gobernanza regional en Chile, Vergara, P. (Editor). Subsecretaría de Desarrollo Regional y Administrativo, Chile. 2010.
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CU Environmental and Resource Economics Workshop. Colorado, 2017 – Photo Credits: Sarah Jacobson