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Professor Jennifer Alix-Garcia, together with co-authors from the University of New South Wales in Australia and the World Bank, investigates the impact of refugee camps on local populations. The work uses both nighttime lights data -- a proxy for economic activity -- and household surveys to assess whether or not Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya has helped or hurt the local pastoral population. The research shows that, on average, local residents benefit from the camp. In fact, a 10% increase in the refugee population is associated with approximately a 5.5% increase in consumption of locals living near the camp. This effects seem to be driven by increases in wage earning opportunities and the possibility of selling agricultural and livestock production to camp residents. The work is in the January 2018 issue of the Journal of Development Economics. Prof. Alix-Garcia recently appeared on the Voice of America radio program South Sudan in Focus to discuss this research (available here, starting at minute 12:25).
Assistant Professor Steven Dundas, with co-authors from North Carolina State University and RTI International, recently published a study that provides evidence on the relative economic value of efforts to balance environmental protection with recreation access to public lands. Using recreational data for Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the research shows that the costs to recreational fishing from temporally and spatially varying closures to both vehicle and pedestrian access to portions of the seashore range from $400,000 to $2 million annually. These costs are shown to be substantively lower than potential benefits of protecting nesting shorebirds (piping plovers) and sea turtles. The paper, Recreation Costs of Endangered Species Protection: Evidence from Cape Hatteras National Seashore, is in the January 2018 issue of Marine Resource Economics. A recent news story about this paper can be found here.
The Annual Review of Resource Economics recently published "A Conversation with Emery Neal Castle" by faculty members Emery Castle, Bruce Weber, Richard Sandler, and JunJie Wu. Emery was Professor Emeritus at OSU in this department where he taught agricultural economics for more than twenty-five years and held numerous administrative positions including Dean of the Graduate School, Director of the Water Resources Institute, and Dean of Faculty. Sadly, Emery passed away in October 2017.
Faculty members David Lewis and Christian Langpap just published an article entitled "How Does Urbanization Affect Water Withdrawals? Insights from an Econometric-Based Landscape Simulation" in the journal Land Economics. They studied how urban land development affects water withdrawals on a regional scale to account for market adjustments, human behavioral responses, and government institutions; and found a complicated relationship between future water withdrawals and changes in socioeconomic drivers.
Assistant Professor Steve Dundas has published "Benefits and ancillary costs of natural infrastructure: Evidence from the New Jersey coast" in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. Steve's paper estimates the economic impacts of a large-scale public investment in natural infrastructure aimed at adapting to climate change and increasing coastal resilience, and the results suggest that the policy intervention generates ancillary costs related to impaired ocean views and privacy concerns that partially offset large protection benefits.
Professors Christian Langpap and JunJie Wu recently published an article entitled “Thresholds, Perverse Incentives, and Preemptive Conservation of Endangered Species” in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. Implementation of the Engendered Species Act (ESA) on private land has historically focused on regulation after a species was officially listed. In recent years, it has shifted towards offering pre-listing incentives to avoid listings and the costs and conflicts resulting from regulation. In this paper, they examine these pre-listing incentives by allowing the incentive structure, perverse incentives to destroy habitat or preemptive conservation, to be endogenously determined. They found that which incentive structure emerges depends on how high the conservation threshold is and on the relative costs of habitat conservation versus habitat destruction. It is critical to distinguish between these incentive structures because a policy that works in one setting does not necessarily work in the other. Their results shed light on policy decisions in several recent high-profile ESA cases.
Beau Olen and JunJie Wu published a Choices article titled “Tracking the Evolution and Recent Development of Whole Farm Insurance Programs.” This article analyzes the development of Whole Farm Revenue Protection—WFRP—as well as outcomes in its first two years. WFRP addresses adverse selection by expanding the size and diversity of the insurance pool and serves as a complement for buy-up insurance and a substitute for disaster assistance and catastrophic risk protection. This research is supported by a joint project with UC Davis and Cornell University through a USDA NIFA funded project.
Senior Faculty Research Assistant Laurie Houston has a journal article - "Northwest U.S. Agriculture in a Changing Climate: Collaboratively Defined Research and Extension Priorities" - recently published in Frontiers in Environmental Science, section Agroecology and Land Use Systems. The article focuses on “win-win” management practices that simultaneously provide short-term benefits to farmers and improve the sustainability and resiliency of agricultural systems with respect to climate change. In the Northwest U.S., a collaborative process has been used to engage individuals spanning the research-practice continuum.