ESSAYS ON TRANSPORTATION ECONOMICS WITH FOCUS ON THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY
Given the fact that fuel efficiency and safety technologies are now being developed and deployed rapidly, saving gasoline and lives while incidentally rendering older analyses obsolete, this dissertation provides further discussions and insights on the relationship between fuel economy and vehicle safety using new empirical evidence. The different roles of size and weight are at the center of our concern; they have not yet been definitively separated in most studies. Another major component of this dissertation research is to study the impacts of the 2011 U.S. CAFE reform. This dissertation research employs an empirically estimated medium-run model to study the equilibrium effects of the 2011 CAFE reform. Micro-level data and counterfactual policy simulations are used to investigate the welfare implications of the “attribute-basing” structure (i.e., in which regulatory compliance depends upon some secondary attribute that is not the intended target of the regulation) of the footprint-based CAFE standards, including both potential benefits and likely costs.