Research

Ongoing projects:

Regulatory Enforcement in Oil and Gas Production

Taxation of Oil and Gas

Designing Regional Greenhouse Gas Cap-and-Trade Systems

Published Papers:

An Examination of Geographic Heterogeneity in Price Effects of Superfund Site Remediation (with Ralph Mastromonaco), Economics Letters, 2018

Leakage in Regional Environmental Policy: The Case of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (with Harrison Fell), Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 2018

The Local Employment Impacts of Fracking: A National Study (with Ralph Mastromonaco), Resource and Energy Economics, 2017

Jurisdictional Tax Competition and the Division of Nonrenewable Resource Rents (with Dale Manning), Environmental and Resource Economics, 2017

An Estimate of the Producer Cost of Liability for Oil SpillsApplied Economics Letters, 2017

Why Have Greenhouse Emissions in RGGI States Declined? An Econometric Attribution to Economic, Energy Market and Policy Factors (with Brian Murray), Energy Economics: Volume 51, September 2015, Pages 581-589

 

 

Working Papers:

Updating Allowance Allocations in Cap-and-Trade: Evidence from the NOx Budget Program (with Ian Lange)

The level and distribution of the costs of tradable allowance schemes are important determinants of whether the regulation is ultimately enacted. Theoretical and simulation models have shown that updating allowance allocations based on firm emissions or output can improve the efficiency of the scheme by acting as a production subsidy. Using the U.S. NOx Budget Program (NBP) as a case study, this analysis tests whether power plants in states which chose an updating allocation increase their electricity production relative to plants in states that chose a fixed allocation. Results find that updating allocations led to a 5 percentage point increase in capacity factors for natural gas combined cycle generators and no effect or a modest decrease for coal generators. These findings imply that an updating allocations confers a modest but meaningful subsidy to production relative to a fixed allocation and that firm responses are heterogeneous based on production technology and market conditions.

Can Learning Explain Deterrence? Evidence from Oil & Gas Production

This paper tests a learning model of regulatory deterrence.  Firms exert compliance effort based on their belief about a regulator’s effort level at detecting violations.  Firms use regulatory actions to learn about the regulator and update their own compliance efforts accordingly.  This theoretical model suggests that deterrence will be most effective when regulators have discretion or when firms are inexperienced.  Econometric analysis of inspections of Pennsylvania oil and gas wells supports the model.  Econometric results show that inexperienced firms are substantially more deterred than experienced firms.  These results are robust to regulatory targeting in inspections, unobserved heterogeneity at the firm and site level, and different measures of experience and enforcement.