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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The University of California, Berkeley offers the premier graduate program in Agricultural and Resource Economics.* Graduate studies in this department emphasize a firm foundation in economic analysis and quantitative methods and their application to agricultural economics, environmental and resource economics, international agricultural trade and development, intellectual property rights and biotechnology, agribusiness/marketing/finance, and applied econometrics. The faculty have a distinguished research and public service record, having received numerous research awards, and played a major advisory role in shaping agricultural, resource and environmental policies. Fourteen faculty members of ARE have been elected Fellows of the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) and three are currently Fellows of the Econometric Society.

The papers below are part of the CUDARE (California, University. Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics) working paper series, which began in 1976. The series has over 1000 papers, many of which have been digitized by the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics Library Staff.

*Perry, Gregory M. 1994. "Ranking M.S. and Ph.D. Graduate Programs in Agricultural Economics." Review of Agricultural Economics 16:333-40.

Photo of Giannini Hall by Grace Dote

Papers are uploaded to this site by the Giannini Foundation Library staff.

Cover page of The Environmental Bias of Trade Policy

The Environmental Bias of Trade Policy

(2020)

This paper documents a new fact, then analyzes its causes and consequences: in most countries, import tariffs and non-tariff barriers are substantially lower on dirty than on clean industries, where an industry’s “dirtiness” is defined as its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per dollar of output. This difference in trade policy creates a global implicit subsidy to CO2 emissions in internationally traded goods and so contributes to climate change. This global implicit subsidy to CO2 emissions totals several hundred billion dollars annually. The greater protection of downstream industries, which are relatively clean, substantially accounts for this pattern. The downstream pattern can be explained by theories where industries lobby for low tariffs on their inputs but final consumers are poorly organized. A quantitative general equilibrium model suggests that if countries applied similar trade policies to clean and dirty goods, global CO2 emissions would decrease and global real income would change little

Are We #StayingHome to Flatten the Curve?

(2020)

The recent spread of COVID-19 across the U.S. led to concerted efforts by states to ``flatten the curve" through the adoption of stay-at-home mandates that encourage individuals to reduce travel and maintain social distance. Combining data on changes in travel activity with COVID-19 health outcomes and state policy adoption timing, we characterize nationwide changes in mobility patterns and isolate the portion attributable to statewide mandates. We find evidence of dramatic nationwide declines in mobility prior to adoption of any statewide mandates. Once states adopt a mandate, we estimate further mandate-induced declines between 2.1 and 7.0 percentage points across methods that account for states' differences in travel behavior prior to policy adoption. In addition, we investigate the effects of stay-at-home mandates on changes in COVID-19 health outcomes while controlling for pre-trends and observed pre-treatment mobility patterns. We estimate mandate-induced declines between 0.13 and 0.17 in deaths (5.6 to 6.0 in hospitalizations) per 100 thousand across methods. Across 43 adopting states, this represents 23,366-30,144 fewer deaths (and roughly one million averted hospitalizations) for the months of March and April - which indicates that death rates could have been 42-54% higher had states not adopted statewide policies. We further find evidence that changes in mobility patterns prior to adoption of statewide policies also played a role in reducing COVID-19 mortality and morbidity. Adding in averted deaths due to pre-mandate social distancing behavior, we estimate a total of 48-71,000 averted deaths from COVID-19 for the two-month period. Given that the actual COVID-19 death toll for March and April was 55,922, our estimates suggest that deaths would have been 1.86-2.27 times what they were absent any stay-at-home mandates during this period. These estimates represent a lower bound on the health impacts of stay-at-home policies, as they do not account for spillovers or undercounting of COVID-19 mortality. Our findings indicate that early behavior changes and later statewide policies reduced death rates and helped attenuate the negative consequences of COVID-19. Further, our findings of substantial reductions in mobility prior to state-level policies convey important policy implications for re-opening.

Take Away Link https://are.berkeley.edu/sites/are.berkeley.edu/files/PolicyTakeAway_0.pdf

Cover page of Inferring informal risk-sharing regimes: Evidence from rural Tanzania

Inferring informal risk-sharing regimes: Evidence from rural Tanzania

(2020)

This paper studies informal risk-sharing regimes in a unified framework by examining intertemporal consumption behavior of rural households in Tanzania. We exploit  a theoretically-consistent link between interest rates and cross-sectional consumption moments to test alternative risk-sharing models without requiring data on interest rates or assuming a restriction to eliminate the need for such data, which are often unavailable in developing economies. We specify tests that allow us to distinguish among models even with temporal dependence in income shocks. Our analysis shows that the consumption pattern in rural Tanzania is consistent with the self-insurance regime, and that risk aversion varies substantially across districts. Imposing a strict condition on interest rates, as often done in prior literature, misses their intertemporal heterogeneity and biases the estimation of risk aversion.

Cover page of US Water Pollution Regulation over the Last Half Century: Burning Waters to Crystal Springs?

US Water Pollution Regulation over the Last Half Century: Burning Waters to Crystal Springs?

(2019)

In the half century since the founding of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, public and private U.S. sources have spent nearly $5 trillion ($2017) to provide clean rivers, lakes, and drinking water, or annual spending of 0.8 percent of U.S. GDP in most years. Yet over half of rivers and substantial shares of drinking water systems violate standards, and polls for decades have listed water pollution as Americans’ number one environmental concern. We assess the history, effectiveness, and efficiency of the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, and obtain four main conclusions. First, water pollution has fallen since these laws, in part due to their interventions. Second, investments made under these laws could be more cost-effective. Third, most recent studies estimate benefits of cleaning up pollution in rivers and lakes which are less than their costs, though these studies may under-count several potentially important types of benefits. Analysis finds more positive net benefits of drinking water quality investments. Fourth, economic research and teaching on water pollution is relatively uncommon, as measured by samples of publications, conference presentations, and textbooks.