NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Joshua Murphy

Natural Resources Canada
580 Booth Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0E4
Canada

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Institutional Affiliation: Natural Resources Canada

NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2019Optimal Environmental Targeting in the Amazon Rainforest
with Juliano Assunção, Robert McMillan, Eduardo Souza-Rodrigues: w25636
This paper sets out an empirically-driven approach for targeting environmental policies optimally in order to combat deforestation. We focus on the Amazon, the world's most extensive rainforest, where Brazil's federal government issued a ‘Priority List’ of municipalities in 2008, to be targeted with more intense environmental monitoring and enforcement. In this setting, we first estimate the causal impact of the Priority List on deforestation using ‘changes-in-changes’ (Athey and Imbens, 2006), a flexible treatment effects estimation method, finding that it reduced deforestation by 40 percent and cut emissions by 39.5 million tons of carbon. Second, we develop a novel framework for computing targeted ex-post optimal blacklists. This involves a procedure for assigning municipalities to a c...
 
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