- Is Mining and Environmental Disamenity? Evidence from Resource Extraction Site Openings. Environmental and Resource Economics. Online [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]
- 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]
We develop an analytical framework in which a natural-resource-extracting firm pays an incumbent politician both legal and illegal bribes in exchange for a reduced severance tax rate. A positive resource shock increases the marginal benefit of a tax cut and more bribes are given. We test this theory using forty years of U.S. state-level data, measuring legal corruption as contributions to political campaigns from the oil and gas sector. We measure illegal corruption in two ways: convictions of public corruption and as “reflections” of corruption — measured as the fequency that iterations of words like “corrupt” and “fraud” appear in local newspapers. We find that oil-rich U.S. states are significantly more corrupt than their oil-poor counterparts and that this is especially true during periods of high oil prices, suggesting an underlying causal relationship. Beyond natural resources, our theory predicts that political competition increases legal contributions and decreases illegal ones. The former prediction is supported by the data.
- Air Quality Warnings and Temporary Driving Bans: Evidence from Air Pollution, Car Trips, and Mass-Transit Ridership in Santiago (Under Review)[Paper]
Driving restrictions are a common governmental strategy to reduce airborne pollution and traffic congestion in many cities of the world. Using high-frequency data on air pollution, car trips, and mass-transit systems ridership, I evaluate the effectiveness of temporary driving bans triggered by air quality warnings in Santiago, Chile. I employ a fuzzy regression discontinuity design that uses the thresholds in the air quality index used to announce these warnings as instruments for their announcement. Results show that these temporary bans reduce car trips by 6-9% during peak hours, and by 7-8% during off-peak hours. This is consistent with air pollution reductions during peak hours, and with increases in the use of Santiago’s mass-transit systems during hours the systems run with excess capacity. Increments in mass-transit ridership uncover the importance of alternatives modes of transportation in securing the effectiveness of temporary driving bans.
Work in Progress:
The U.S. Coal-to-Gas Plant Conversion Process: Evidence from Housing Market Capitalizations (with Scott Loveridge)
Recent fuel-switching projects carried by several power plants in the United States promise several environmental gains at both the global and the local level. Using data on more than 1,000,000 property transactions around the country, we derive local property value impacts from the coal-to-natural gas switching process on residential properties that are located in the neighborhood of the switching facilities. We adopt a spatial difference-in-difference approach that uses records of residential property transactions of homes that are located near, and far, from plants substituting their fuels and plants that do not innovate. A triple difference estimator strengthens these estimations. Our results indicate that property values increase in the immediate vicinity of the fuel-switching plants. Most of these impacts occur immediately after the shutdown of a coal-fired power generation unit, which reveals the disamenity effect of coal-fired power plants.
Renewable energy can yield social benefits through local air quality improvements and their consequent impacts on human health. We estimate some of these benefits using the rapid adoption of solar power generation experienced by Chile over the last decade. Our focus is on the spatial heterogeneous effects of this adoption. Using daily variation in generation, we find that solar energy (1) displaces fossil-fueled generation, primarily coal-fired generation, and (2) curtails hospital admissions and urgent care visits –particularly those due to upper and lower respiratory diseases–. These effects are noted mostly in cities that host fossil-fueled generation, and among vulnerable age groups such as seniors, infants and toddlers. Our results document the existence of an additional channel through which renewable energy can increase social welfare.
Pre-Doctoral Work (in Spanish):
- 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.