Essays at the Intersection of Environmental and Development Economics
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AbstractAir pollution levels in many developing countries are critically high and hazardous to human health. This dissertation studies interventions and policies to reduce air pollution in India. The first chapter focuses on greenhouse gas and local air pollution emissions from road transport. I evaluate whether a randomized introduction of a training program or financial incentives can improve fuel efficiency among public sector bus drivers. The training program increased fuel efficiency in the short term for four months and had no effect thereafter. The incentives scheme increased fuel efficiency for a twelve month period. The second chapter analyzes how personality traits relate to attendance, fuel efficiency, changes in incentive structure, and human resource decisions among public sector bus drivers. I find that personality traits do not predict attendance, rarely predict baseline fuel efficiency, and do not predict responses to randomized training or incentives. Personality traits predict a number of human resources decisions, and the organization's drivers are unusually pro-social and honest. The third chapter focuses on particulate matter emissions from industrial plants. Using granular plant-level data, we pair an engineering model of emissions with an economic framework in which plants minimize costs subject to regulatory constraints. We use this to estimate outcomes under potential pollution control policies. We find that abatement costs are modest and far exceeded by health benefits, and that market based instruments significantly reduce costs compared to command and control regulations.
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