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Working Paper Series

  • Oil, Energy Poverty and Resource Dependence in West Africa

    Daniel Kammen, Morgan Bazilian, Ijeoma Onyeji, Peri-Khan Aqrawi, Benjamin K Sovacool, Emmanuel Ofori, Thijs Van de Graaf

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (June 2013)

  • Visually-Weighted Regression

    Solomon Hsiang

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (May 2013)

    Uncertainty in regression can be eciently and e ectively communicated using the visual properties of statistical objects in a regression display. Altering the visual weight” of lines and shapes to depict the quality of information represented clearly communicates statistical con dence even when readers are unfamiliar with the formal and abstract de nitions of statistical uncertainty. Here we present examples where the color-saturation and contrast of regression lines and con dence intervals are parametrized by local measures of an estimate's variance. The results are simple, visually intuitive and graphically compact displays of statistical uncertainty. This approach is generalizable to almost all forms of regression

  • Varieties of Corruption: The Organization of Rent-Seeking in India

    Jennifer Bussell

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (April 2013)

    How is corruption organized? Studies of corrupt behavior to date shed light on both the causes and consequences of corruption. Yet we have little understanding of how corrupt activities are structured and the ways in which rents are, or are not, distributed across various actors—insightsthat would, in theory, prove enlightening for efforts to reduce corruption. In this paper, I analyze the organization of corruption through a set of related questions: Are rents from a single bribe distributed across multiple actors? If so, do different types of actors benefit differentially from different types of corruption? What factors, such as the type of corruption or the degree of government centralization, are associated with variation in the distribution of rents? To explore these questions, I first present a new, three-level typology of corruption emphasizing the type of actor paying a bribe and roughly reflecting the character of illicit acts across three realms: high-level policy-making, e.g. bribes for favorable legislation; mid-level policy implementation, such as kickbacks for government contracts; and low-level delivery of public services, for example the payment of “speed money” by citizens. I then draw on new and original data from surveys of Indian politicians to assess how the distribution of rents across actors varies as a function of the type of corruption and the degree of government centralization. I show that there is considerable division of rents across government and non-government actors and the perceived distribution of rentsis strongly associated with the type of corruption, though not necessarily in the ways predicted by existing theory. In addition, I find a mixed relationship between government centralization and the distribution of rents. These results validate the utility of a more disaggregated typology of corruption and provide the first clear evidence of the extent to which different political actors benefit from diverse corrupt acts.

  • Turning Words into Action on Climate Change

    Daniel Kammen

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (April 2013)

  • Indirect Land Use and Greenhouse Gas Impacts of Biofuels

    Daniel Kammen, Richard J. Plevin

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (April 2013)

  • Deep carbon reductions in California require electrification and integration across economic sectors

    Daniel Kammen, Max Wei, James H Nelson, Jeffery B Greenblatt, Ana Mileva, Josiah Johnston, Michael Ting, Christopher Yang, Chris Jones, James E McMahon

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (March 2013)

  • Renewable energysectordevelopmentintheCaribbean:Current trends andlessonsfromhistory

    Daniel Kammen, Rebekah Shirley

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (March 2013)

    Island regions and isolated communities represent an understudied area of not only clean energy development but also of innovation. Caribbean states have for some time shown interest in developing a regional sustainable energy policy and in implementing measures which could help to protect its member states from volatile oil markets while promoting reliance on local resources. Here we examine four case studies of renewable energy advancements being made by public utility companies and independent energy companies in the Caribbean. We attempt to locate renewable energy advances in a broader historical framework of energy sector development, indicating a few policy lessons. We find that different degrees of regulatory and legislative sophistication have evolved in different islands. Islands should have specialized policy focus, contrasting the ad-hoc nature of current regional energy policy discussion. We also conduct a cost benefit analysis which shows that these early, innovative alternative energy projects show themselves to be both profitable and significant sources of emissions reduction and job creation. This lends support to the potential benefits of regional energy policy.

  • Destruction, Disinvestment, and Death: Economic and Human Losses Following Environmental Disaster

    Solomon Hsiang, Jesse Keith Anttila-Hughes

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (February 2013)

    The immediate physical damages caused by environmental disasters are conspicuous and often the focus of media and government attention. In contrast, the nature and magnitude of post-disaster losses remain largely unknown because they are not easily observable. Here we exploit annual variation in the incidence of typhoons (West-Pacific hurricanes) to identify post-disaster losses within Filipino households. We find that unearned income and excess infant mortality in the year after typhoon exposure outnumber immediate damages and death tolls roughly 15-to-1. Typhoons destroy durable assets and depress incomes, leading to broad expenditure reductions achieved in part through disinvestments in health and human capital. Infant mortality mirrors these economic responses, and additional findings—that only female infants are at risk, that sibling competition elevates risk, and that infants conceived after a typhoon are also at risk—indicate that this excess mortality results from household decisions made while coping with post-disaster economic conditions. We estimate that these post-typhoon “economic deaths” constitute 13% of the overall infant mortality rate in the Philippines. Taken together, these results indicate that economic and human losses due to environmental disaster may be an order of magnitude larger than previously thought and that adaptive decision-making may amplify, rather than dampen, disasters' social cost.