Theses Doctoral

Essays on Environmental Economics and Policy

Walker, William Reed

A central feature of modern government is its role in designing welfare improving policies to address and correct market failures stemming from externalities and public goods. The rationale for most modern environmental regulations stems from the failure of markets to efficiently allocate goods and services. Yet, as with any policy, distributional effects are important there exist clear winners and losers. Despite the clear theoretical justification for environmental and energy policy, empirical work credibly identifying both the source and consequences of these externalities as well as the distributional effects of existing policies remains in its infancy. My dissertation focuses on the development of empirical methods to investigate the role of environmental and energy policy in addressing market failures as well as exploring the distributional implications of these policies. These questions are important not only as a justification for government intervention into markets but also for understanding how distributional consequences may shape the design and implementation of these policies. My dissertation investigates these questions in the context of programs and policies that are important in their own right. Chapters 1 and 2 of my dissertation explore the economic costs and distributional implications associated with the largest environmental regulatory pro- gram in the United States, the Clean Air Act. Chapters 3 and 4 examine the social costs of air pollution in the context of transportation externalities, showing how effective transportation policy has additional co-benefits in the form of environmental policy. My dissertation remains unified in both its subject matter and methodological approach - using unique sources of data and sound research designs to understand important issues in environmental policy.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Schlenker, Wolfram
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 9, 2012