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Theses Doctoral

Essays on Animal Farming and External Validity for Sustainable Development

Palandri, Claire

Research for sustainable development is distinguished by its intended focus on socio-ecological systems, and its mandate to bring together the insights and strengths of multiple disciplines. The animal farming system is understudied in the causal inference literature, despite the increasingly apparent environmental and social costs of its industrial form. The flourishing climate-economy literature, largely motivated by impending changes in climate, rests on assumptions that limit the external validity of its findings, and thereby their relevance for the future. This dissertation sheds light on (i) factors that limit the sustainability of animal farming, and (ii) statistical assumptions that limit the relevance of findings for sustainable development, through three empirical analyses.

Chapter 1 quantifies the marginal surface water pollution caused by swine feeding operations in the U.S., which suggests the sustainability of animal production requires reducing its concentration in space. Chapter 2 estimates the impacts of humid heat stress on cow milk yield, their potential alleviation through cooling technologies, and provides evidence against the common assumption of time separability of temperature effects in agricultural production. Chapter 3 shows how the standard linear regression model can generate highly misleading conclusions in the climate-conflict literature, and proposes an alternative framework for inference.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Sustainable Development
Thesis Advisors
Almond, Douglas V.
Lall, Upmanu
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 17, 2022