Research


Published papers in economics

Byrne, D., L. Martin, and A. La Nauze (2018). "Tell Me Something I Don't Already Know: Informedness and the Impact of Information Programs." Review of Economics and Statistics. 100(3): 510-527.

Reynolds, M., B. Sullivan, E. Hallstein, S. Matsumoto, S. Kelling, M. Merrifield, D. Fink, A. Johnston, W. Hochachka, N. Bruns, M. Reiter, S. Veloz, C. Hickey, N. Elliott, L. Martin, J. Fitzpatrick, P. Spraycar, G. Golet, C. McColl and S. Morrison (2017). "Dynamic Conservation for Migratory Species." Science Advances 3(8), Aug 23, 2017.

Martin, L., S. Nataraj, and A. Harrison (2017). "In with the Big, Out with the Small: Removing Small-Scale Reservations in India." American Economic Review, 107(2): 354–386.

Harrison, A., L. Martin, and S. Nataraj (2017). "Green Industrial Policy in Emerging MarketsAnnual Review of Resource Economics, 9: 5.1-5.22.

Harrison, A., L. Martin, and S. Nataraj (2012). "Learning Versus Stealing: How Important are Market-Share Reallocations to India's Productivity Growth?World Bank Economic Review, 27(2), 202-228.


Working papers


"The Margins of Response to Road Use Prices" with Sam Thornton. SSRN Nov 2017 draft.

We use a large field experiment to document the potential mismatch between who contributes the most to congestion and who responds the most to road use prices. The experiment collected six-second location data from GPS transponders installed in 1400 vehicles over a nine month period and implemented different prices via a system of credit accounts. We find an average price elasticity of -0.11 to uniform per kilometer charges, which is consistent with the literature on short-term demand response to fuel price increases. We document however that under uniform road use charges the reductions in driving come primarily from trip segments that were not contributing to congestion externalities. We find no evidence of higher prices changing work commutes, or drivers avoiding highly-congested roads or times or spending less time at low speeds. Finally, we show that because low-income drivers contribute least to congestion externalities and respond most to road use charges, they would be better off if existing sources of road revenues were replaced with fees that better reflect each driver's contribution to road use externalities.

"When do Firms Go Green? Comparing Price Incentives with Command and Control Regulations in India" with Ann Harrison, Ben Hyman, and Shanthi Nataraj. NBER working paper.

India has a multitude of environmental regulations but a history of poor enforcement. Between 1996 and 2004, India's Supreme Court required 17 cities to enact Action Plans to reduce air pollution through a variety of command-and-control (CAC) environmental regulations. We compare the impacts of these regulations with the impact of changes in coal prices on establishment-level pollution abatement, coal consumption, and productivity growth. We find that higher coal prices reduced coal use within establishments, with price elasticities similar to those found in the US. In addition, higher coal prices are associated with lower pollution emissions at the district level. CAC regulations did not affect within-establishment pollution control investment or coal use, but did impact the extensive margin, increasing the share of large establishments investing in pollution control and reducing the entry of new establishments. For reducing SO2 emissions, our results suggest that higher coal prices were more effective in improving environmental outcomes than command and control measures.

"An Experimental Study of Monthly Electricity Demand (In)elasticity" with David Byrne and Andrea La Nauze. SSRN, under review.

We partnered with an electricity retailer to run a field experiment involving close to 1000 households where 300 randomly received discounts of up to 50% on their total electricity bill, or up to 95% off the per unit cost of electricity. Over two months, we find that the quantity of electricity consumed by treatment households remained unchanged despite the steep discounts. Exploiting rich billing, smart meter, and survey data, we reject comparable price elasticity estimates from the literature, even among the subgroups who were most likely to respond.

"I'm Sitting This One Out: What non-participants reveal about counterfactual emissions" with Kim Liu.

In a voluntary emissions-reductions system, regulators must evaluate and sign off on firms' claims of what they would do absent credits. This paper uses the behavior of non-participants to ex-post evaluate these claims. We focus on carbon offset projects in industrial energy efficiency, co-generation, input substitution, and fuel switching that are supplied by firms in India to the international emissions trading market through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). We identify the firms involved in over 600 CDM projects in a comprehensive dataset of Indian manufacturing firms. We first look for signs of strategic selection into program participation. After controlling for firm size and industry, there is no evidence that applicants are more likely to have decreasing emissions trends pre-application. We then evaluate behavior ex-post. We find that participants indeed reduce emissions intensity relative to similar non-participant firms, but in a way that is moderated by a greater expansion of output. Looking across project types, the largest emission reductions come from projects that improve energy efficiency and export excess energy to the grid. Fuel switching and input blending projects are more questionable recipients of credits because non-participants engage in these activities at similar rates.

"Credit Where Credit's Due? Local Development Co-Benefits of the CDM in India" with Priyanka Banerjee.

There is increasing interest in promoting social impact investing that can leverage private capital and expertise for environmental goals. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) was launched in 2006 to direct private funds into projects that reduce GHG emissions in developing countries. It is the largest system of carbon offsets in the world. We ask: did it indeed deliver sustainable development co-benefits to communities that hosted projects? We show that, in India, CDM projects followed FDI flows to districts with better public infrastructure. Comparing trends in districts that received CDM projects to similar ones that did not, we show that projects reduced poverty and accelerated the convergence of infant mortality rates. Hosting a project led, on average, to a 3 percentage point reduction in poverty. Renewable energy, energy efficiency, and methane avoidance projects were particularly effective in improving these outcomes. HFC projects were not. The results reflect positively on the sustainable development benefits of carbon offsets in rapidly industrialising countries, and underscore the importance of the recent growth in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

"When Giants Take Steps: The impact of conservation targets on China's largest energy-consuming firms," with Miao Liu.

Due to increasing coal use and related emissions, in 2006 the Chinese government mandated that the top 1000 energy-using firms adopt strict targets for reducing industrial energy consumption. This paper exploits the structure of the Top 1000 program to investigate the costs and benefits of an energy efficiency program in a rapidly industrialising economy. We match the Chinese Annual Census of Industrial Enterprises of over 200,000 firms per year with Top 1000 participation data and city-level air quality and economic outcomes. We find that although participating firms' productivity grows slower than that of non-participating firms, the difference in growth rates is very small (less than 1%). Although we cannot rule out that overstated compliance lowered program cost, we find significant improvements in city-level air quality associated with the program, suggesting that firms did indeed respond.

"Energy efficiency gains from trade: greenhouse gas emissions and India's manufacturing sector" 2011-2012 JMP. Revisions requested.

Using 19 years of annual data from over 30,000 firms, I show that India's 1991 trade liberalization and market reforms lead to within-firm improvements in energy efficiency and reallocation of market share to more energy-efficient firms. This shift mitigated post-liberalization growth in energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions. Two mechanisms led to increases in emissions intensity: increasing generator use post-liberalization and decreasing tariffs on intermediate material inputs, which helped firms that use inputs inefficiently to retain market share. But reductions in tariffs on intermediate capital inputs led to a 23% improvement in within-firm fuel efficiency.  And liberalization of FDI and licensing requirements led to reallocations of market share to more fuel-efficient firms, further reducing emissions.



Other work (system dynamics, climate change adaptation)

L. Martin, et al. (2007) "Gaming with a microworld of a local product chain in the Oder river basin, Lower Silesia, Poland.” Simulation & Gaming, special issue on Natural Resource Management. Volume 38 , Issue 2, pp. 211 – 232.

Sexton, S., L. Martin, and D. Zilberman. "Biofuel and Biotech: A Sustainable Energy Solution." ARE Update, Vol. 9, No. 3, Jan/Feb, 2006.

Newman, J., L. Martin (2005). "A Poverty and Social Impact Analysis of the Cost of Pension Reform in Bolivia." World Bank, Washington DC.

Newman, J., M. Velasco, L. Martin, A. Fantini (2003). "A System Dynamics Approach to Monitoring and Evaluation at the Country Level: An Application to the Evaluation of Malaria-Control Programs in Bolivia." Fifth Biennial World Bank Conference on Evaluation and Development Evaluating Development Effectiveness: Challenges and the Way Forward Washington, DC 15-16 July 2003.

Freeman, P., L. Martin, R. Mechler, K. Warner with P. Hausman (2002). "Catastrophes and Development, Integrating Natural Catastrophes into Development Planning," Disaster Risk Management Working Paper Series No. 4. Washington DC, World Bank.