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Publications

Viewing all publications in Academic Articles/Working Papers
  • Just Regulation: Improving Distributional Analysis in Agency Rulemaking Cover

    Just Regulation: Improving Distributional Analysis in Agency Rulemaking

    Forthcoming in Ecology Law Quarterly

    This Article seeks to understand the shortcomings of current agency practice and outline what agencies can do better. To do so, it examines fifteen significant proposed or final agency rules promulgated during the Biden-Harris Administration’s first eighteen months and reveals four categories of limitations. First, agencies often pursue inconsistent goals across different regulatory initiatives. Second, they do not grapple with the core issue that distributional analysis should raise: the extent to which the better distributional consequences of one alternative should trump the higher net benefits of another alternative. Third, agencies do not apply a consistent approach to defining disadvantaged groups, which makes the analysis inconsistent and unpredictable. Fourth, the distributional analysis relies on a truncated set of costs and benefits, and thus presents an incomplete picture of the consequences of regulation on disadvantaged communities.

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  • Still Your Grandfather‘s Boiler: Estimating the Effects of the Clean Air Act‘s Grandfathering Provisions

    Working paper

    While vintage differentiation is a highly prominent feature of various regulations, it can induce significant biases. We study these biases in the context of New Source Review—a program within the US Clean Air Act imposing costly sulfur dioxide (SO2) abatement requirements on new boilers but not existing ones. In particular, we empirically investigate how the differential treatment of coal boilers shaped the generation landscape by affecting unit utilization, retirement, and emissions. Focusing solely on the additional SO2 emissions, we estimate annual costs of up to $65 billion associated with the vintage differentiation in New Source Review.

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  • Unheralded and Transformative: The Test for Major Questions After West Virginia Cover

    Unheralded and Transformative: The Test for Major Questions After West Virginia

    Published in William and Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review

    In West Virginia v. EPA, the Supreme Court expressly relied on the “major questions doctrine” for the first time in a majority opinion to hold that a federal agency lacked authority to issue a regulation. Published in the William and Mary Environmental Law and Policy Reviewthis paper explores whether West Virginia provides such a framework and concludes that it does. A close look at West Virginia and the alternative frameworks that parties and others urged on the Court in the West Virginia litigation also reveals a great deal about what the major questions doctrine is not.

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  • Do Non-Damaging Earthquakes Shake Mortgage Lenders' Risk Perception? Cover

    Do Non-Damaging Earthquakes Shake Mortgage Lenders’ Risk Perception?

    Working paper in Journal of Environmental Economics and Management

    This study examines how banks respond to earthquakes that convey seismic risk salience but do not cause damage, i.e., noticeable non-damaging earthquakes (NNDEs). Using evidence from California, we find loans more likely to be denied or sold after increased NNDEs. Banks with fewer assets, more diversified branching markets, or stronger sales capability relied more on securitization to transfer the perceived seismic risk. We show evidence that banks likely learned about the NNDEs through personal experience and local news. The effects of NNDEs persisted up to three years. Meanwhile, the NNDEs only caused moderate and temporary collateral devaluation but did not increase the observable default risk. Thus, banks' responses most likely resulted from the increased risk salience of future damaging earthquakes during the mortgage term. Our findings call for reevaluations of the heuristics in banks' risk-perception updating and have implications for designing more efficient disaster risk-sharing mechanisms in the financial market.

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  • Who Knows What: Information Barriers to Efficient DER Roll-Out Cover

    Who Knows What: Information Barriers to Efficient DER Roll-Out

    Published in International Association of Energy, Environment and Economy Journal

    While academic research on Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) has been mostly focused on first-best systems, we hypothesize that in reality multiple information barriers to efficient DER roll-out exist. We thus study the prevalence and importance of information issues arising in the context of deployment of DERs by reviewing the existing engineering and economic literature on distributed resources, analyzing DER-related regulatory proceedings, and surveying the relevant electricity sector stakeholders for their perception of information relevance and accessibility.

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