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Essays in Environmental and Behavioral Economics

  • Author(s): Panassie, Yann
  • Advisor(s): Carson, Richard
  • et al.
Abstract

This dissertation studies questions in environmental economics by exploring the mechanisms through which government and private decisions interact in the transportation and housing markets. These have important environmental and distributional consequences in terms of mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. In Chapter 1, I compare new vehicle sales in the United States and Canada to determine whether updated EPA fuel economy labels introduced in 2012 succeeded in altering consumers' new vehicle purchase choices. I find small savings in gasoline consumption through a 1.5 percentage point increase in small car market shares, a corresponding decrease in SUV shares, and a 6% increase in the valuation of small SUVs' fuel economies. In Chapter 2, I study gasoline price volatility in California by estimating the gasoline price elasticity of demand for driving, and show that this parameter is both highly inelastic and likely to vary over time. Chapter 3 focuses on the impacts of hurricanes on the Florida housing market. I show that hurricanes cause an equilibrium increase in home prices and a concurrent decrease in transaction probability, lasting up to three years. With supplementary evidence from demographic trends, I conclude that the main driver of these dynamics is a negative transitory shock to the housing supply in the aftermath of hurricanes as homes recover from physical damages. I further observe that new homeowners have higher incomes, resulting in a permanent shift in the demographic composition of disaster-prone areas, and suggesting important implications about the expected costs and distributional impacts of future federal disaster relief spending.

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