Partisan Priorities: How Issue Ownership Drives and Distorts American Politics

Partisan Priorities: How Issue Ownership Drives and Distorts American Politics
Cambridge University Press.

Egan, Patrick J.

Americans consistently name Republicans as the party better at handling issues like national security and crime, while they trust Democrats on issues like education and the environment – a phenomenon called “issue ownership.” Partisan Priorities investigates the origins of issue ownership, showing that in fact the parties deliver neither superior performance nor popular policies on the issues they “own.” Rather, Patrick J. Egan finds that Republicans and Democrats simply prioritize their owned issues with lawmaking and government spending when they are in power. Since the parties tend to be particularly ideologically rigid on the issues they own, politicians actually tend to ignore citizens' preferences when crafting policy on these issues. Thus, issue ownership distorts the relationship between citizens' preferences and public policies.

Putting a Price on the Welfare of Our Children and Grandchildren

Putting a Price on the Welfare of Our Children and Grandchildren
In "The Globalization of Cost-Benefit Analysis in Environmental Policy", edited by Michael A. Livermore, and Richard L. Revesz. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Maria Damon, Kristina Mohlin, and Thomas Sterner

Discount rates have a profound effect on estimates for costs and benefits that accrue over time or in the future. Given that minute differences in discount rates can result in enormous differences in future values, discounting implicates moral as well as technical issues. This chapter reviews some of the main issues that discounting presents and discusses some important recent debates over time-varying discount rates and the importance of relative prices when examining effects of public policy in the far future. The authors also collect and discuss the discount rates currently used by decision makers around the world, and explain how differences in level of development should and should not affect the discount rates used by analysts.

Taxes and the Extraction of Exhaustible Resources: Evidence from California Oil Production

Taxes and the Extraction of Exhaustible Resources: Evidence from California Oil Production
NYU Wagner Research Paper No. 2211681. Jan 2013

Rao, Nirupama.

Rapid oil price increases frequently bring calls for special oil industry taxes. This paper uses new well-level production data and price variation induced by federal oil taxes and price controls to estimate how taxes affect production. Theory suggests temporary taxes create strong incentives for retiming productioneven well shutting. Empirical estimates suggest little shut-in in response to taxes, but substantial production retiming with an estimated elasticity between 0.208 and 0.261. The estimates are used to calibrate a simple model of the efficiency cost of tax-induced distortions, implying that a 15% tax reduces social efficiency by between 3% and 25% of the revenue raised.

Transport, the Environment and Security: Making the Connection

Transport, the Environment and Security: Making the Connection
Edward Elgar Publishing, Ltd.

Zimmerman, Rae

Effective means of transport are critical under both normal and extreme conditions, but modern transport systems are subject to many diverse demands. This path-breaking book uniquely draws together the typically conflicting arenas of transport, the environment and security, and provides collective solutions to their respective issues and challenges.

From a primarily urban perspective, the author illustrates that the fields of transportation, environment (with an emphasis on climate change) and security (for both natural hazards and terrorism) and their interconnections remain robust areas for policy and planning. Synthesizing existing data, new analyses, and a rich set of case studies, the book uses transportation networks as a framework to explore transportation in conjunction with environment, security, and interdependencies with other infrastructure sectors. The US rail transit system, ecological corridors, cyber security, planning mechanisms and the effectiveness of technologies are among the topics explored in detail. Case studies of severe and potential impacts of natural hazards, accidents, and security breaches on transportation are presented. These cases support the analyses of the forces on transportation, land use and patterns of population change that connect, disconnect and reconnect people from their environment and security.

The book will prove a fascinating and insightful read for academics, students, and practitioners across a wide range of fields including: transport, environmental economics, environmental management, urban planning, public policy, and terrorism and security.

Asthma Hospital Admissions and Ambient Air Pollutant Concentrations in New York City

Asthma Hospital Admissions and Ambient Air Pollutant Concentrations in New York City
Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 3 No. 29, 2012, pp. 1102-1116. doi: 10.4236/jep.2012.329129.

C. Restrepo, J. Simonoff, G. Thurston and R. Zimmerman

Air pollution is considered a risk factor for asthma. In this paper, we analyze the association between daily hospital admissions for asthma and ambient air pollution concentrations in four New York City counties. Negative binomial regression is used to model the association between daily asthma hospital admissions and ambient air pollution concentrations. Potential confounding factors such as heat index, day of week, holidays, yearly population changes, and seasonal and long-term trends are controlled for in the models. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) show the most consistent statistically significant associations with daily hospitalizations for asthma during the entire period (1996-2000). The associations are stronger for children (0 - 17 years) than for adults (18 - 64 years). Relative risks (RR) for the inter-quartile range (IQR) of same day 24-hour average pollutant concentration and asthma hospitalizations for children for the four county hospitalization totals were: NO2 (IQR = 0.011 ppm, RR = 1.017, 95% CI = 1.001, 1.034), SO2 (IQR = 0.008 ppm, RR = 1.023, 95% CI = 1.004, 1.042), CO (IQR = 0.232 ppm, RR = 1.014, 95% CI = 1.003, 1.025). In the case of ozone (O3) and particulate matter (PM2.5) statistically significant associations were found for daily one-hour maxima values and children’s asthma hospitalization in models that used lagged values for air pollution concentrations. Five-day weighted average lag models resulted in these estimates: O3 (one-hour maxima) (IQR = 0.025 ppm, RR = 1.049, 95% CI = 1.002, 1.098), PM2.5 (one-hour maxima) (IQR = 16.679 μg/m3, RR = 1.055, 95% CI = 1.008, 1.103). In addition, seasonal variations were also explored for PM2.5 and statistically significant associations with daily hospital admissions for asthma were found during the colder months (November-March) of the year. Important differences in pollution effects were found across pollutants, counties, and age groups. The results for PM2.5 suggest that the composition of PM is important to this health outcome, since the major sources of NYC PM differ between winter and summer months.

Environmental Policies and Political Realities: Fisheries Management and Job Creation in Pacific Island Countries and Territories

Environmental Policies and Political Realities: Fisheries Management and Job Creation in Pacific Island Countries and Territories
Journal of Environment and Development

Maria Damon and Joshua Graff Zivin

Effective environmental policymaking requires an understanding of how environmental goals interact with other political goals. This article analyzes development strategies in the PICT’s, where policymakers aim to leverage tuna resources into sustainable economic development and job creation. The authors develop a model that analyzes costs and benefits of different development strategies, with a focus on job creation and local socioeconomic factors that drive optimal policy mixes across PICTs. The analysis demonstrates that investment in fisheries management can effectively encourage economic development and create employment opportunities, and compare this strategy to others such as selling access permits and investing in processing capacity. While many benefits of fisheries management are widely recognized, its ability to create high-quality employment opportunities is often overlooked. For many PICTs, this may represent the lowest cost strategy for jobs creation and, coupled with selling fishery access to foreign vessels, can form a strong basis for economic development plans.

Policy Instruments for Sustainable Development at Rio +20

Policy Instruments for Sustainable Development at Rio +20
Journal of Environment and Development, June 2012

Maria Damon and Thomas Sterner

Twenty years ago, governments gathered for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. The “Rio Declaration” laid out several principles of sustainable development, including the central role of policy instruments. In this article, we take stock of where we stand today in implementing sound and effective environmental policy instruments throughout the world, particularly in developing and transitional economies. We argue that, as our experience with market-based environmental policies has deepened over the past two decades, so has the ability to adapt instruments to complicated and heterogeneous contexts—but we are only just beginning, and the need to be further along is dire. One key factor may be that economists have not yet meaningfully accounted for the importance of political feasibility, which often hinges on risks to competitiveness and employment, or on the distribution of costs rather than on considerations of pure efficiency alone.


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