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The Impact of Environmental Disamenities on Property Values: Evaluating the Municipal Fringe

By Ryan B. Hoecker

This paper analyzes the municipal fringe of cities in Eastern North Carolina between 2006-2016, and how the values of individual properties on the outskirts can fluctuate after they are
incorporated within a city. A large portion of the research process consisted of manually recreating annexation ordinances from scanned photocopies on ArcGIS, creating the first geographic archive of annexations in North Carolina compatible with digital software. As environmental nuisances, such as landfills and hazardous waste sites, are often located on town borders, this study pays specific attention to how their presence affects the change in property values before and after annexation. Results show that incorporation brings with it higher property values, and that the impact of annexation is greater in the presence of nuisances that threaten water quality for private wells.

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Advisor: Christopher Timmins | JEL Codes: H79, Q53, R31

Low-Income Residential Solar: A SASH Evaluation

By Jeff Knaide

In this paper, I examine the impacts of California’s Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) subsidy on the rate of adoption of residential solar power. The SASH program looks to provide low-income families with a sizeable subsidy to install residential solar panels. Eligibility for the program depends on income, among a few other factors. This work represents part of a small body of energy justice literature, and the only existing evaluation of SASH. Zip-codes with higher eligibility (based on income levels) showed a significantly higher number of adoptions when controlling for important characteristics, specifically median income. While this policy did generate low-income adoptions, it does not offer a strong carbon abatement strategy – low-income households require greater financial support than might higher-income households.

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Advisor: Chris Timmins | JEL Codes: Q29

Segregation, Bargaining Power and Environmental Justice

By Kai Yu Lee

Under efficient Coasian bargaining, the recipients of an environmental harm are compensated by the polluter for every unit of the nuisance that they bear. When those doing the negotiation are also those bearing the costs of the environmental harm, this will lead to an efficient outcome in which the benefits and social costs of the polluting activity are equalized on the margin. Transaction costs frequently lead to bargaining being conducted by government representatives on behalf of their constituents; e.g., county officials may bargain with polluting firms over payments in exchange for siting facilities within their borders. When populations are highly segregated, representatives can more easily target the costs of polluting facilities to a politically weak minority while the majority enjoys the Coasian compensation. We test this theory using information on three decades of county-level polluting employment and
a measure of racial/ethnic dissimilarity. Results confirm the hypothesis that segregation facilitates the siting of polluting facilities, suggesting an important source of procedural environmental injustice.

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Advisor: Chris Timmins | JEL codes: Q52, Q53, Q56, R3, R58

The Role of Income in Environmental Justice: A National Analysis of Race, Housing Markets, and Air Pollution

By Christopher Brown

Historically, evidence has shown that minority populations in the United States suffer a disproportionate burden of pollution compared to whites. This study examines whether this burden could be the result of income disparities between whites and minorities, acting through the housing market. We look at 324 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA’s) in the United States as defined by the Economic and Social Research Institute. Using demographic data from the 2000 Decennial Census and pollution data from the 1999 national Air Toxic Assessments, we compare the race-income correlation in each MSA for four races (white, black, Latino, and Asian) with the race-income.

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JEL Codes: Q53, Q56 | Tagged: Environmental Justice, Income, Market Dynamics, Pollution, Race


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