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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Working papers of faculty, affiliated researchers and students at the Department of Economics, University of California at Santa Barbara.

Cover page of IMMIGRATION AND DEMOGRAPHICS: CAN HIGH IMMIGRANT FERTILITY EXPLAIN VOTER SUPPORT FOR IMMIGRATION?

IMMIGRATION AND DEMOGRAPHICS: CAN HIGH IMMIGRANT FERTILITY EXPLAIN VOTER SUPPORT FOR IMMIGRATION?

(2019)

First generation immigrants to the United States have higher fertility rates than natives. This paper analyzes to what extent this factor provides political support for immigration, using an overlapping generation model with production and capital accumulation. In this setting, immigration represents a dynamic trade-off for native workers as more immigrants decrease current wages but increase the future return on their savings. We find that immigrant fertility has surprisingly strong effects on voter incentives, especially when there is persistence in the political process. If fertility rates are sufficiently high, native workers support immigration. Persistence, either due to inertia induced by frictions in the legal system or through expectational linkages, significantly magnifies the effects. Entry of immigrants with high fertility has redistributive impacts across generations similar to pay-as-you-go social security: initial generations are net winners, whereas later generations are net losers.

Cover page of Defensive investments and the demand for air quality: Evidence from the NOx budget program

Defensive investments and the demand for air quality: Evidence from the NOx budget program

(2017)

The demand for air quality depends on health impacts and defensive investments, but little research assesses the empirical importance of defenses. A rich quasi-experiment suggests that the Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) Budget Program (NBP), a cap-and-trade market, decreased NOxemissions, ambient ozone concentrations, pharmaceutical expenditures, and mortality rates. The annual reductions in pharmaceutical purchases, a key defensive investment, and mortality are valued at about $800 million and $1.3 billion, respectively, suggesting that defenses are over one-third of willingness-to-pay for reductions in NOxemissions. Further, estimates indicate that the NBP's benefits easily exceed its costs and that NOxreductions have substantial benefits.

Cover page of Agricultural pesticide use and adverse birth outcomes in the San Joaquin Valley of California.

Agricultural pesticide use and adverse birth outcomes in the San Joaquin Valley of California.

(2017)

Virtually all agricultural communities worldwide are exposed to agricultural pesticides. Yet, the health consequences of such exposure are poorly understood, and the scientific literature remains ambiguous. Using individual birth and demographic characteristics for over 500 000 birth observations between 1997-2011 in the agriculturally dominated San Joaquin Valley, California, we statistically investigate if residential agricultural pesticide exposure during gestation, by trimester, and by toxicity influences birth weight, gestational length, or birth abnormalities. Overall, our analysis indicates that agricultural pesticide exposure increases adverse birth outcomes by 5-9%, but only among the population exposed to very high quantities of pesticides (e.g., top 5th percentile, i.e., ~4200 kg applied over gestation). Thus, policies and interventions targeting the extreme right tail of the pesticide distribution near human habitation could largely eliminate the adverse birth outcomes associated with agricultural pesticide exposure documented in this study.The health consequences of exposure to pesticides are uncertain and subject to much debate. Here, the effect of exposure during pregnancy is investigated in an agriculturally dominated residential area, showing that an increase in adverse birth outcomes is observed with very high levels of pesticide exposure.

Cover page of Adapting to climate change: The remarkable decline in the US temperature-mortality relationship over the Twentieth Century

Adapting to climate change: The remarkable decline in the US temperature-mortality relationship over the Twentieth Century

(2016)

© 2016 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved. This paper examines the temperature-mortality relationship over the course of the twentieth-century United States both for its own interest and to identify potentially useful adaptations for coming decades. There are three primary findings. First, the mortality impact of days with mean temperature exceeding 807F declined by 75 percent. Almost the entire decline occurred after 1960. Second, the diffusion of residential air conditioning explains essentially the entire decline in hot day–related fatalities. Third, using Dubin and McFadden’s discrete continuous model, the present value of US consumer surplus from the introduction of residential air conditioning is estimated to be $85– $185 billion (2012 dollars).

Cover page of A note on uncertainty and perception concerning measurable utility

A note on uncertainty and perception concerning measurable utility

(2015)

© 2015. A linkage to reconcile measurable utility derived from intensity comparisons or from probability mixtures is provided in this note. This brief note is in honor of Lloyd Shapley whose relatively unknown seminal paper on measurable utility from axioms involving the fineness of perception offered a different view on utility measurement.