Working Papers

Powering Down and Moving On? Energy Transition, Gentrification, and Local Impacts (Job Market Paper)

Camp Resources XXIX, 24th CU Environmental & Resource Economics Workshop, SWEEEP 2023

Abstract: As the United States navigates a significant energy transition, marked by the retirement of fossil-fuel power plants and a shift towards renewables, it is crucial to comprehend its impact on local communities. This study leverages comprehensive datasets, including USPS Change of Address data and power plant retirement details, to conduct a nationwide assessment of how the retirement of fossil fuel power plants influences local migration trends and community dynamics during an unprecedented energy transition. Contrary to the typical narrative of gentrification, my findings reveal that the complete retirement of fossil-fuel generators in a region leads to a “stagnation effect,” characterized by decreases in both in-migration and out-migration. Despite improvements in environmental quality, plant closure is associated with long-term declines in employment and wages and a modest decrease in housing values. My analysis further reveals that lower-income groups and regions with a higher proportion of Black residents experience an intensified stagnation effect, raising environmental justice concerns. These findings underscore the complex interplay between the advantages and challenges associated with phasing out fossil fuel infrastructure, emphasizing the need for policies to support at-risk communities during the energy transition.

Social Norms on the Consumption of Eco-labeled Products (with Tibor Besedes, draft upon request)

Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics Conference 2022, SEA-AERE 2022

Abstract: The current literature have shown the effects of social norms on promoting pro-social behaviors. The varied types of norms information may work differently, however, by the way they are presented to consumers. This paper investigates the effect of social norms information, which includes injunctive norms, descriptive norms, and workingtogether normative appeals, on the consumption behaviors of eco-labeled products. I conduct a choice survey to investigate how different types of social norms work associated with multiple eco-labels. I use different levels of descriptive norms information and eco-labels as attributes in a series of choice set. I randomly assign injunctive norms message and working-together normative appeals message as treatments. The results show the price premium exists for eco-labels and descriptive norms start to work at the 50-percent level. The willingness to pay increases from one label to three labels when presented to consumers. Further, under injunctive norms and working-together normative appeals treatments, the willingness to pay for both descriptive norms information and certified eco-labels increase. These results demonstrate how to use norms information to improve eco-labels’ performance to promote green consumption and environmental improvement.