Job Market Candidates 2019

Matt Elmer

Curriculum Vitae

Fields: Environmental, Public, and Regional

Advisors: Robert Kling, Jordan Suter

Dissertation: Three Essays Evaluating Ecosystem Services: Monetizing Disturbances, Classifying Vulnerability, and Managing Ecosystem Conditions

Job Market Paper: Do Regular Wildfires Heat Up the Price of Drinking Water?

Abstract: Previous research has documented the negative impact of large extreme wildfires on water treatment cost, but small more frequent wildfires have been largely ignored, and the long-term capital response to wildfire remains unclear. This paper utilizes survey data for 144 drinking water systems spanning the state of Utah to assess whether small regular wildfires that occur upstream from drinking water intakes impact water provisioning cost and subsequent consumer prices across time. A panel analysis is assembled to assess 25 years of wildfire and estimate water provisioning cost and water demand. Permanent surface water intakes are found to be significantly influenced by small regular wildfire in both the short run (1 year after) and long run (10 years after). The results indicate that water system variable cost rises immediately following a wildfire, and that this encourages capital investment to reduce variable cost, resulting in a significant effect of wildfire on fixed cost in the long run. This is supported by testing the intertemporal relationship between water provisioning fixed cost and variable cost. I find a positive relationship between fixed cost and past variable cost, while there is an inverse relationship in any given year. The capital investment effect from wildfire is amplified for larger fires. The effect of wildfire in the medium run (5 years after) depends on fire characteristics as well as decisions to lower variable cost through investment. The impact of wildfire on water price is influenced by fire size, distance, and duration, as well as whether the affected water intake is permanent or seasonal. Post-fire management actions are also important, and the omission of information on management likely dampens the estimates in this study.  Estimates for the impact of regular wildfire on groundwater well and spring intakes are not statistically different from zero in this study.

Jose Galvez

Curriculum Vitae

Fields: Political Economy, Development Economics
Advisor: Elissa Braunstein, Daniele Tavani

Dissertation: Essays on Informalization in Latin America

Job Market Paper:Informalization, Production and Income Inequality in 18 Latin American Economies, 1990-2014

Abstract: Conceptualized in this paper as a type of employment with low labor productivity typically excluded from social safety nets, informality serves as an indicator of the low availability of high-quality jobs in the region. This paper presents a dynamic panel analysis of the macro-level production and distribution factors that impact informal employment outcomes in Latin America for the period from 1990 to 2014. Using Frenkel and Ros’ (2006) analytical framework, the analysis develops hypotheses about informal labor supply from a macro-level perspective and proceeds to test this framework. The empirical results suggest that higher inequality, lower development levels, and less competitive exchange rates have all been associated with higher levels of informalization of urban labor in the region during this period.