Three Essays in Environmental and Development Economics
Behrer, Arnold Patrick
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CitationBehrer, Arnold Patrick. 2020. Three Essays in Environmental and Development Economics. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractIn these three essays I examine the relationship between environmental quality and economic development in a variety of settings. In Chapter 1, I examine the impact of the world’s largest anti-poverty program (NREGA) on agricultural burning and its subsequent contribution to air pollution in India.
I find that agricultural burning increases substantially after the implementation of NREGA. I find evidence that this is due to farmers mechanizing part of the production process in response to higher wages induced by NREGA. The increase in agricultural burning leads to a substantial increase in the emissions of particulate pollutants from biomass burning. In Chapter 2, I and a co-author examine how chronic exposure to particulate air pollution in the United States may worsen the mortality impacts of a pandemic. Using an instrumental variables approach based on shifts in electric power generating capacity due to the shock of hydraulic fracturing, we show that mortality from COVID19 increases in counties that have experienced higher levels of PM2.5 pollution in the ten years prior to the pandemic.
In Chapter 3, co-authors and I examine how exposure to high temperatures during schooling may reduce student learning. Using data from both the United States and 58 other countries we find that hotter days in the year(s) leading up to an exam substantially reduce performance on that exam. The impact of hot days is concentrated on school days as compared to weekends or summer days. The impact of heat is larger in low income districts of the United States and low income countries. We discuss the implications that this may have for climate change and long-run economic growth.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365826
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