6000 Iona Dr
Vancouver School of Economics
Vancouver, BC V6T 2E8
Institutional Affiliation: University of British Columbia
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|December 2019||Moral Hazard, Wildfires, and the Economic Incidence of Natural Disasters|
with Judson Boomhower: w26550
This study measures the degree to which large public expenditures on wildfire protection subsidize development in harm's way. Using administrative firefighting data, we calculate geographically-differentiated implicit subsidies to homeowners throughout the western USA. We first examine how the presence of homes affects firefighting expenditures. These results are used to reconstruct the implied historical cost of protecting each home and to perform an actuarial calculation of expected future protection cost. The expected net present value of this subsidy can exceed 20% of a home's value. It increases with fire risk and decreases surprisingly steeply with development density. A simple model is used to explore effects on expansion of developed areas, density, and private risk-reducing invest...
|June 2017||Default Effects and Follow-On Behavior: Evidence from an Electricity Pricing Program|
with Meredith Fowlie, Catherine Wolfram, C. Anna Spurlock, Annika Todd, Peter Cappers: w23553
We study default effects in the context of a residential electricity pricing program. We implement a large-scale randomized controlled trial in which one treatment group is given the option to opt-in to time-based pricing while another is defaulted into the program but allowed to opt-out. We provide dramatic evidence of a default effect – a significantly higher fraction of households defaulted onto the time-based pricing plan enroll in the program, even though opting out simply involved making a phone call or clicking through to a website. A distinguishing feature of our empirical setting is that we observe follow-on behavior subsequent to the default manipulation. Specifically, we observe customers’ electricity consumption in light of the pricing plan they face. This, in conjunction with ...