Many governments seek to advance public policies that aim to improve the welfare of their citizens. Often these efforts are inadequate, and in some instances, may even make things worse. This is especially true for two of society’s most pressing environmental and energy challenges: addressing anthropogenic climate change and ensuring access to affordable, clean energy for all citizens.
My research focuses on the welfare evaluation of imperfect or ‘second-best’ public policies. Thematically, my research examines large-scale public policies that target significant market failures, with a particular focus on public policies related to climate change, energy and transportation systems, and the urban sector. Methodologically, my research explores these themes using and advancing theoretical and empirical models grounded in the fields of environmental and energy economics, public finance, and political economy, such as computational general equilibrium models, optimal power flow models, models of strategic regulatory decision-making, and models of political economy.
The imperfections I examine through my research span two interrelated areas:
1. The welfare evaluation of current and proposed policies given the presence of pre-existing policy distortions and multiple market failures, and,
2. The evaluation of the incentives, institutions, and decision-making processes that explain why imperfect policies often emerge.
In short, the when and why, public policies succeed or fail. For additional details, please see my past and current research.
As large-scale environmental and energy problems demand complex interdisciplinary answers, I am interested in developing quality interactions with both economists and non-economists that seek to integrate economic models with models of political economy, physical, engineering, chemical, electrical, and ecological systems. To this end, an ideal collaboration is one that fosters and extends our knowledge of and the tools of economics at the same time that it extends your primary field of knowledge. My educational background and current research demonstrate both this commitment as well as its promise to deepen our knowledge in profound ways. Please feel free to contact me, should you be interested in such a collaboration.
Prior to joining Penn State in 2014, I completed my Ph.D. at Cornell University where I studied environmental and energy economics and was a member of Dr. Antonio M. Bento's research group. I also hold a M.S. in Public Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park, where I studied environmental and development policy, and two B.A.s in economic and political science from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
Primary Fields: Environmental Economics, Energy Economics
Secondary Fields: Public Finance, Political Economy
Topics: Climate Change, Energy Systems, Welfare Evaluation of Public Policy, Optimal Design of Public Policy, Estimation and Validation of Structural Models
- “The Political Allocation of Green Pork and Its Implications for Federal Climate Policy." 2021. Journal of Public Economics, 201 (September) 104483. Supplementary Appendix. July 2021 Draft.
- “Emissions and Health Implications of Pennsylvania’s Entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative" (with Wei Peng, Hui Yang, An Pham, and Seth Blumsack). 2021. Environmental Science & Technology, 55(18): 12153-12161. Supplementary Appendix. September 2021 Draft.
- “Think Globally, Cap Locally, and Trade Widely: Efficient Decentralized Policymaking in the Presence of Spillovers." 2021. Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, 8(1): 91-124. Supplementary Appendix. August 2020 Draft.
- “Modeling the Impact of RGGI on Pennsylvania’s Power Grid: Costs, Emissions, and Leakage", Chapter 3 in Prospects for Pennsylvania in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a report prepared on behalf of the Pennsylvania State University’s Center for Energy Law and Policy (with Seth Blumsack, Andrew Bell, Mingsong Chen, Seamus Gibbons, Daniel Mallinson, Wei Peng, An Pham, Daniel Walters, and Hui Wang) and submitted as a public comment to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Proposed Rulemaking for Pennsylvania's “CO2 Budget Trading Program". Supplementary Appendix. Last updated December 2020. Center for Energy Law and Policy Webinar on Chapter 3, October 2nd, 2020. Other press: June 25, 2021 story by Rachel McDevitt for StateImpact Pennsylvania.
- “On the Trade-Offs of Regulating Multiple Unpriced Externalities with a Single Instrument: Evidence from Biofuel Policies" (with Antonio M. Bento). 2020. Energy Economics, 85: 1-13. Supplementary Appendix. October 2019 Draft.
- “Does Titling Matter? Evidence from Housing Markets in India" (with Antonio M. Bento and Somik Lall). 2018. Review of Regional Studies, 48(3): 377-400. Supplementary Appendix. June 2018 Draft.
- “Are there Carbon Savings from US Biofuel Policies? The Critical Importance of Accounting for Leakage in Land and Fuel Markets" (with Antonio M. Bento and Richard Klotz). 2015. Energy Journal, 36(3): 75-109. Supplementary Appendix. Executive Summary. July 2014 Draft.
Papers Under Review
- “The Use of Target and Trade Systems to Achieve Vaccination Goals." Last updated February 2022.
- “Fiscal Federalism Under Political Failure: New Results and an Application to U.S. Climate Policy." Supplementary Appendix. Last updated January 2022.
- “Marginal Emissions Pathways and Mitigation Pledges." (with Richard Klotz and Antonio M. Bento). Supplementary Appendix. Last updated February 2022. Revisions requested.
- “Policy Competition for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Mitigation and the Preferred Social Cost of Carbon." Abstract.
- “Assessing the Direct and Strategic Impacts of Voluntary Entry into Regional Cap and Trade Systems" (with An Pham, Seth Blumsack, Mingsong Chen, and Seamus Gibbons). Last updated October 2021.
- “How do Federal Bureaucracies Balance Efficiency, Distributional, and Political Considerations When Creating New Regulations?" (with Joseph Perla).
- “Who’s Ready to Trade? Voluntary Allowance Market Linking Under a National Cap and Trade System Given Overlapping Regional Allowance and Electricity Markets" (with An Pham). Last updated March 2021.
- “The Feasibility of Carbon Pricing within Regional Electricity Markets" (with An Pham and Mingsong Chen).
- “Should We Tax or Subsidize E-Cigarettes? Identifying the Optimal Price Instrument In the Presence of Dynamic Health Trade-offs" (with Kyle Rozema).
Works in Progress
- “Linking Housing and Automobile Purchase Decisions: Do Housing Supply Regulations Promote Green Cities?" (with Antonio M. Bento, Sanket Roy, and Edson Severnini).
- “The Unintended Congestion Cost and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Impacts of Solar Policies in California" (with Andrew R. Waxman and An Pham)
- “Decentralized Policymaking when States can form Coalitions: How Does California’s Waiver Authority Affect Environmental Outcomes?" (with Antonio M. Bento and Daniel T. Kaffine).