Public Finance in the Era of the COVID-19 Crisis
18-20 August 2021 | Online, Organized by University of Iceland, Reykjavík
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Please note that all times are shown in the time zone of the conference. The current conference time is: 5th Dec 2021, 05:44:46pm GMT
K01: Environmental Economics II
12:30pm - 12:52pm
Regulating Conglomerates: Evidence from an Energy Conservation Program in China
Duke University, United States of America
How does energy regulation affect production and energy use within conglomerates? We study the effects of a prominent program aimed at reducing the energy use of large Chinese companies. Difference-in-differences analyses show that regulated firms significantly reduced their energy consumption and output but did not increase their energy efficiency. Using detailed business registration data, we link regulated firms to non-regulated firms that are part of the same conglomerate. We estimate large spillovers on cross-owned non-regulated firms, which increased both output and energy use. We then specify and calibrate a model of conglomerate production that fits our setting and the estimated effects of the regulation. The model quantifies the importance of conglomerate reallocation for aggregate outcomes, the shadow cost of the regulation, and the efficiency gains from using public information on business networks to improve the design of energy regulation.
12:52pm - 1:15pm
Minimum Quality Standards and Exports
1NGU | Nürtingen-Geislingen University, Germany; 2University of Bremen, Germany
This paper studies the interaction of a minimum quality standard and exports in a vertical product differentiation model when firms sell global products. If ex ante quality of foreign firms is lower (higher) than the quality of exporting firms, a mild minimum quality standard in the home market hinders (supports) exports. The minimum quality standard increases quality in both markets. A welfare maximizing minimum quality standard is always lower under trade than under autarky. A Minimum quality standard reduces profits for the exporting firm. It increases domestic welfare, but reduces welfare in the export market.
1:15pm - 1:37pm
Optimal Carbon Taxation and Horizontal Equity: A welfare-theoretic approach with application to German household data
1Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany; 2Mercator Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), Germany; 3Technische Universität Berlin, Germany; 4Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Potsdam, Germany
We develop a model of optimal carbon taxation and redistribution taking into account horizontal equity concerns. Within each income decile, households are heterogeneous in terms of how efficient an exogenous technology allows them to convert carbon-intensive energy into individual well-being. We then investigate how horizontal equity is considered in the economy's welfare maximizing tax structure by deriving first- and second-best policy rules. Further, we characterize optimal non-linear carbon taxes, which the government can use when individual households' energy efficiency is not directly observable. Subsequently, we apply our finding to empirical data on energy consumption in Germany to quantify optimal policies.
1:37pm - 2:00pm
Does Media Coverage Affect Governments’ Preparation for Natural Disasters?
University of Bern, Switzerland
To prepare for natural disasters, local governments can adopt mitigation measures. However, in doing so, there is a trade-off between risk reduction and risk disclosure as these initiatives may signal latent dangers of a place to unsuspecting homebuyers. Increased media coverage may ease this trade-off by revealing these dormant risks. I develop a measure of newspaper coverage of storms using data on newspapers’ circulation and occurrence of storms at the ZIP code level in the United States. Using the variation in this measure, I identify the effects of heightened media attention on local governments’ mitigation efforts under the Hazard Mitigation Grant program managed by FEMA. I find that when newspaper coverage is high, jurisdictions that have experienced severe storms tend to implement significantly more mitigation projects. This effect appears to be driven by property investors seeking to maximize their investment’s value.
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