Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this online conference.

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Session Overview
J05: Environmental Economics I
Friday, 20/Aug/2021:
10:45am - 12:15pm

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10:45am - 11:07am

The Effect of Weather on the Spread of SARS-CoV-2 and the Mediation Role of Social Behaviour

Simone Ferro1, Chiara Serra2

1University of Milan, Queen Mary University of London; 2European University Institute

We combine mobile locations, weather data, and COVID-19 confirmed cases in a two-way fixed effects mediation model to estimate the causal impact of weather on the COVID-19 infection rate in the United States, disentangling its direct impact from the indirect effect via the endogenous response of social activity. We show that, while temperature has a negative impact on viral infectiousness, it also increases the amount of time individuals spend out of home, which favouring the spread of the virus offsets half of the potential beneficial effect of temperature. Estimates are robust to an alternative definition of social activity based on the number of visits to indoor venues. This suggests that our results are not driven by reduced indoor activity on warmer days, leaving a biological effect of temperature on the virus as the most probable mechanism. Finally, our estimates show that school closures and lockdowns are effective in reducing infections.

Ferro-The Effect of Weather on the Spread of SARS-CoV-2 and the Mediation Role of Social Behaviour-388.pdf

11:07am - 11:30am

Toxic Heavy Metal Injustice? Early Life Conditions and Proximity to Contamination

Oscar Erixson1, Linuz Aggeborn2, Mattias Öhman3, Jenny Jans4

1Uppsala University, Sweden; 2Uppsala University, Sweden; 3Uppsala University, Sweden; 4Stockholm University, Sweden

We study toxic heavy metals and ask whether proximity to contamination is unequally distributed in the population at the time of birth. To answer this question, we employ registry data from Sweden together with air pollution data from moss samples for the years 1995–2015. We find that the overall level of toxic heavy metals in the environmenthas substantially decreased during these years. At the same time, economic inequalitieshave, in contrast, increased. Finally, we find that closeness to contamination is weaklycorrelated with socioeconomic status at birth and with perinatal health endowment. Weconclude that there are no clear evidences of substantial environmental injustice withregards to toxic heavy metal contamination.

Erixson-Toxic Heavy Metal Injustice Early Life Conditions and Proximity-513.pdf

11:30am - 11:52am

Climate Adaptation Policies and Infant Health: Evidence from a Water Policy in Brazil

Daniel Da Mata1, Lucas Emanuel2, Vitor Pereira3, Breno Sampaio2

1Sao Paulo School of Economics - FGV, Brazil; 2Universidade Federal de Pernambuco; 3National School of Public Administration - ENAP

This paper studies how in utero exposure to a large-size climate adaptation program affects birth outcomes. The program built about one million cisterns in Brazil's poorest and driest region to promote small-scale decentralized rainfall harvesting. Access to cisterns during early pregnancy increased birth weight, particularly for more educated women. Data suggest that more educated women complied more with the program's water disinfection training, highlighting that even simple, low-cost technologies require final users' compliance ("the last-mile") to be effective. In the context of growing water scarcity, our findings suggest that adaptation policies can foster a predictor of future individual outcomes.

Da Mata-Climate Adaptation Policies and Infant Health-516.pdf

11:52am - 12:15pm

Impact of Natural Disasters on the Income Distribution

Regina Pleninger

ETH Zurich, Switzerland

During the last decades, the United States experienced an increase in the number of natural disasters and their destructive capability. Several studies suggest a damaging effect of natural disasters on income. In this paper, I estimate the effects of natural disasters on the entire income distribution using county-level data in the United States. In particular, I determine the income fractions that are affected by natural disasters. The results suggest that in the short-term natural disasters primarily affect middle incomes, thereby leaving income inequality levels unchanged. In addition, the paper examines potential channels that intensify or mitigate the effects, such as unemployment insurance or the severity of natural disasters. The findings show that unemployment benefits and migration are important adaptation tools that reduce the effects of natural disasters. In contrast, the occurrence of multiple and severe disasters aggravate the effects. Finally, the analysis detects heterogeneous effects on incomes by disaster type.

Pleninger-Impact of Natural Disasters on the Income Distribution-259.pdf

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