Research

Ongoing projects:

Justice in Climate and Energy Policy

Regional Climate Policies & Decarbonizing Electricity

Local Impacts of Oil and Gas Production

 Published Papers:

Costs of Increasing Oil and Gas Setbacks are Initially Modest but Rise Sharply (with Sean Ericson and Dan Kaffine)Energy Policy, forthcoming

Effects of State Taxation on Investment: Evidence from the Oil Industry (with Jason Brown and Dale T. Manning), Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, forthcoming

Can Learning Explain Deterrence? Evidence from Oil & Gas ProductionJournal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, 2019

Environmental Justice in Unconventional Oil and Gas Production: A Critical Review and Research Agenda (with Adrianne Kroepsch, John Adgate, Lisa McKenzie, and Katherine Dickinson), Environmental Science & Technology, 2019

Interfirm Learning in Environmental Safety: Evidence from the Bakken (with Mike Redlinger and Ian Lange), Applied Economics, 2019

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.

If You See (or Smell) Something, Say Something: Citizen Complaints and Regulation of Oil and Gas Wells (with Dan Kaffine)

The traditional theory of firm regulation and enforcement examines the interplay of firms and regulator, with citizens as passive consumers of goods or providers of votes. However, in industries such as oil and gas, citizens can play an important role in inspections and enforcement, which we analyze with a novel dataset of Colorado regulatory activities. We find regulators frequently conduct follow-up inspections of citizen complaints, and these citizen-driven inspections are just as likely to lead to regulatory action as “normal” scheduled inspections. However, the evidence is consistent with regulators treating these complaints as “one-offs” — regulators do not increase inspection activity of other wells owned by a firm that was complained about. An inspector conducting a complaint inspection crowds out two regular inspections at the daily level, but we find no evidence of crowd-out at time scales of one month or greater. Finally, heterogeneity across complaint types suggests citizens are particularly adept at identifying nuisance-related violations (e.g. noise, smell), but are less adept at identifying more technical violations.