Products: Research Papers
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Integrating Demand-Management with Development of Supply-Side Substitutes
Sustaining water availability at current prices in the face of growing demand and declining resources is not possible, and scarcity is further exacerbated by falling recharge levels due to climate change, urbanization, and watershed depreciation. We discuss an integrated approach to water-resource development based on principles of sustainability science. In addition to demand management such as pricing, we consider supply-side substitutes such as desalination and wastewater recycling. The importance of integrating demand- and supply-side approaches is especially evident in the case of watershed conservation as climate adaptation. Watershed conservation reduces scarcity by improving groundwater recharge. Yet, incorrect pricing can waste those potential gains. We discuss a joint management strategy, wherein block prices for groundwater consumption and co-determined prices for watershed conservation incentivize and finance efficient profiles of both.
Ordering Extraction from Multiple Aquifers
Optimal groundwater extraction satisfies the condition that the marginal benefits of water consumption equal the full marginal cost of extraction in each period, including the opportunity cost of future benefits foregone. But how should this well-known condition be generalized when there are multiple aquifers available? We provide an extension of the “Pearce equation” to guide the optimal ordering of resource extraction and an illustrative application wherein it is optimal to extract from the “leakiest” aquifer first, letting another aquifer increase in volume. This generalized least cost-first principle contrasts strongly with the sustainable yield approach. By including spatial dimensions, the model provides the marginal valuations of water at each time and place, such that full marginal cost pricing can incentivize users to implement the efficient program. While an untrammeled water market would fail to provide the optimal solution, regulators can facilitate efficient water trading by setting appropriate exchange rates.
A Policy Analysis of Hawaii's Solar Tax Credit Incentive
This study uses Hawaii as an illustrative case study in state level tax credits for PV. We examine the role of Hawaii’s tax credit policy in PV deployment, including distributional and tax payer impacts. Hawaii is interesting because its electricity rates are nearly four times the national average as well as has a 35% tax credit for PV, capped at $5,000 per system. We find that PV is an excellent investment for Hawaii’s homeowners, even without the state tax credit. For the typical household, the internal rate of return with the state tax credit is about 14% and, without it, 10%. Moreover, the vast majority of installations are demanded by households with the median income and higher. We estimate that single-family homeowner’s in Hawaii may demand as much as 1,100 MW of PV. There are, however, significant grid constraints. Policy currently limits PV generation to no more than 15% of peak load for any given circuit, or approximately 3% of aggregate electricity demand. Tax credits are therefore not likely to increase the overall deployment of PV, but rather spread the cost of installation from homeowners to taxpayers and accelerate the rate at which Hawaii reaches grid restrictions.
Intergenerational Equity with Individual Impatience in an OLG Model of Optimal and Sustainable Growth
Among the ethical objections to intergenerational impartiality is the violation of consumer sovereignty given that individuals are impatient. We accommodate that concern by distinguishing intra- and inter-generational discounting in an OLG model suitable for analyzing sustainability issues. Under the assumption of constant elasticity of marginal felicity, the optimum trajectory of aggregate consumption is guided, via the Ramsey condition, by the intergenerational discount rate but not the personal discount rate. In an economy with produced capital and a renewable resource, intergenerational neutrality results in a sustained growth path, without the necessity of a sustainability constraint, even in the presence of intragenerational impatience. We also find that green net national product remains constant along the optimal approach path to golden rule consumption.
Published version: Endress, L.H., Pongkijvorasin, S., Roumasset, J., Wada, C.A., 2013. Intergenerational equity with individual impatience in a model of optimal and sustainable growth. Resource and Energy Economics. In Press.
How Have Catch Shares Been Allocated?
A unique database was created that describes the methods used to allocate shares in nearly every major catch share fishery in the world. Approximately 54% of the major catch share fisheries in the world allocated the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) solely on the basis of historical catch records, 3% used auctions, and 6% used equal sharing rules. The remaining 37% used a combination of methods, including vessel-based rules. These results confirm the widely-held belief that nearly all catch share programs have “grandfathered” private access to fishery resources: 91% of the fisheries in the database allocated some fraction of the TAC on the basis of historical catch. This publicly available database should be a useful reference tool for policymakers, academics, and others interested in catch shares management in Hawai‘i and across the globe.
To suggest edits or additions to the database, please email email@example.com.
Behind-the-counter, but Over-the-border? The Assessment of the Geographical Spillover Effect of Increased Access to Emergency Contraception
Washington was the first state to ease the prescription requirements making emergency contraception (EC) available behind-the-counter at pharmacies to women of any age in 1998. I hypothesize that the increased availability of EC affects fertility rates beyond the borders of the state that allows it. In contrast to the literature, I show that increased access to EC is associated with a statistically significant albeit economically small decrease in abortion rates in Washington counties where women had access to no-prescription EC pharmacies. Yet, there is no effect on pregnancy rates. These results are robust in a number of specifications. Finally, I find some evidence in support of the spillover effects in Idaho, but not Oregon. However, after accounting for changes in the availability of abortion services, the decrease in fertility rates in “treated” Idaho counties is rather small and models lack sufficient power to detect it.
Investigating the Effects of Furloughing Public School Teachers on Juvenile Crime in Hawaii
Due to the large social costs of juvenile crime, policymakers have long been concerned about its causes. In the 2009-10 school year, the State of Hawaii responded to fiscal strains by furloughing all school teachers employed by the Department of Education and canceling class for seventeen instructional days. We examine the effects of this unusually short school year to draw conclusions about the relationship between time in school and juvenile arrests on Oahu. We calculate marginal effects from a negative binomial model and find that time off from school is associated with significantly fewer juvenile assault and drug-related arrests, although there are no changes in other types of crimes, such as burglaries. During the shortened school year, we calculate that there were twenty fewer assault arrests and fourteen fewer drug-related arrests of juveniles on Oahu. The declines in arrests for assaults were the most pronounced in poorer regions of the island whereas the declines in drug-related arrests were higher in relatively more prosperous regions.
Common correlated effects and international risk sharing
Existing studies of risk pooling among groups of countries are predicated upon the highly restrictive assumption that all countries have symmetric responses to aggregate shocks. We show that the conventional risk sharing test fails to isolate idiosyncratic fluctuations within countries and produces spurious results. To avoid these problems, we propose an alternative form of the risk sharing test that is robust to heterogeneous country characteristics. In our empirical example, we provide estimates using the proposed approach for various groupings of 158 countries.
Estimating Demand Elasticities in Non-Stationary Panels: The Case of Hawai‘i Tourism
It is natural to turn to the richness of panel data to improve the precision of estimated tourism demand elasticities. However, the likely presence of common shocks shared across the underlying macroeconomic variables and across regions in the panel has so far been neglected in the tourism literature. We deal with the effects of cross-sectional dependence by applying Pesaran’s (2006) common correlated effects estimator, which is consistent under a wide range of conditions and is relatively simple to implement. We study the extent to which tourist arrivals from the US Mainland to Hawaii are driven by fundamentals such as real personal income and travel costs, and we demonstrate that ignoring cross-sectional dependence leads to spurious results.
The Impact of Marriage Equality on Hawai′i’s Economy and Government: An Update After the U.S. Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Decisions
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in the two same-sex marriage cases have substantially increased the short-term and medium-term benefits that could accrue to Hawai‘i if the Hawai‘i State Legislature enacts legislation allowing same-sex marriages to begin in Fall 2013 or early in 2014.
Forecasting with Mixed Frequency Factor Models in the Presence of Common Trends
We analyze the forecasting performance of small mixed frequency factor models when the observed variables share stochastic trends. The indicators are observed at various frequencies and are tied together by cointegration so that valuable high frequency information is passed to low frequency series through the common factors. Differencing the data breaks the cointegrating link among the series and some of the signal leaks out to the idiosyncratic components, which do not contribute to the transfer of information among indicators. We find that allowing for common trends improves forecasting performance over a stationary factor model based on differenced data. The common-trends factor model" outperforms the stationary factor model at all analyzed forecast horizons. Our results demonstrate that when mixed frequency variables are cointegrated, modeling common stochastic trends improves forecasts.
Published Version: Peter Fuleky and Carl S. Bonham. Forecasting with Mixed-Frequency Factor Models in the Presence of Common Trends. Macroeconomic Dynamics, available on CJO2013. doi:10.1017/S136510051300059X.
Sustainable Development and the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative: An Economic Assessment
The connection between the emerging field of sustainability science and the economics of sustainable development has motivated a line of interdisciplinary research inspired by the notion of “positive sustainability.” This notion is founded on three principles or pillars: (1) adopting a complex systems approach to modeling and analysis, integrating natural resource systems, the environment, and the economy; (2) pursuing dynamic efficiency, that is, efficiency over both time and space in the management of the resource-environment-economy complex to maximize intertemporal well-being; and (3) enhancing stewardship for the future through intertemporal equity, which is increasingly represented as intergenerational neutrality or impartiality. This paper argues that the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI) fails to satisfy all three pillars of sustainability, and consequently fails to achieve the "sustainability criterion" put forward by Arrow, Dagupta, Daily et al: that total welfare of all future generations not be diminished. HCEI shrinks the economy, contributes negligibly to reduction of global carbon emissions, and sparks rent seeking activity (pursuit of special privilege and benefits) throughout the State of Hawaii.
The Impact of Same-Sex Marriage on Hawai‘i’s Economy and Government
This report provides quantitative and qualitative measures of the impact of same-sex marriage on Hawai`i’s economy and government. We find that marriage equality is likely to lead to substantial increases in visitor arrivals, visitor spending, and state and county general excise tax revenues. We estimate that fewer than 100 spouses will be added as beneficiaries to public and private employer-provided health insurance plans. The size of the gains from marriage equality depends critically on upcoming rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.
A dynamic approach to PES pricing and finance for interlinked ecosystem services: Watershed conservation and groundwater management
A theory of payment for ecosystem services (PES) pricing consistent with dynamic efficiency and sustainable income requires optimized shadow prices. Since ecosystem services are generally interdependent, this requires joint optimization across multiple resource stocks. We develop such a theory in the context of watershed conservation and groundwater extraction. The optimal program can be implemented with a decentralized system of ecosystem payments to private watershed landowners, financed by efficiency prices of groundwater set by a public utility. The theory is extended to cases where land is publicly owned, conservation instruments exhibit non-convexities on private land, or the size of a conservation project is exogenous. In these cases, conservation investment can be financed from benefit taxation of groundwater consumers. While volumetric conservation surcharges induce inefficient water use, a dynamic lump-sum tax finances investment without distorting incentives. Since the optimal level of conservation is generated as long as payments are correct at the margin, any surplus can be returned to consumers through appropriate block pricing. The present value gain in consumer surplus generated by the conservation-induced reduction in groundwater scarcity serves as a lower bound to the benefits of conservation without explicit measurement of other benefits such as recreation, biodiversity, and cultural values.
Published Version: Roumasset, J., Wada, C.A., 2013. A dynamic approach to PES pricing and finance of interlinked ecosystem services: Watershed conservation and groundwater management. Ecological Economics. 87, 24-33.
How China’s Approved Destination Status Policy Spurs and Hinders Chinese Travel Abroad
China’s “Approved Destination Status (ADS) policy allows citizens of mainland China to take pleasure trips abroad on group package tours to countries that have negotiated and implemented agreements with China. In this paper, we examine the reasons for this unique preferential and incremental travel liberalization system and how it affects mainland Chinese outbound pleasure travel.