Empirical Environment economics


The goal of this course is to introduce you to the basic concepts of environmental economics. Since we only have 6 weeks, it should be seen as a survey class that introduces the basic ideas of the field. The reading list includes several further readings that get you the opportunity to read more about a subject in case you'd like to know more about a particular subject or you can come talk to me.

Grading : The class grade will be the average of problem sets (30%), a paper (30%) and a take-home final (40%).

  • Problem Sets

I am firm believer that you learn the material best by practicing it. The three problem sets will ask you to replicate some of the papers we discuss in class – I will provide the data sets in STATA. You can work in groups on the problem sets if you wish.

  • Paper

Outline one empirical problem you would like to study, what data you could use, etc. Ideally, the paper should include some initial summary statistics and regressions, but I realize that given the short length of this class (eight weeks), This should be a stepping stone to become an empirical paper in the end.

  • Final

There will be a 24hour final. You can pick it up any time during exam week and it is due 24 hours later. The individual pick-up time should accommodate each person's exam schedule. At the same time, it obviously requires that each person does not share the exam with anybody else until after the exam period is over (exams are curved to some degree, so if you give it to somebody else that takes it later, you likely lower your own grade).


  1. Ecosystem Services
  2. Health Damages from Pollution
  3. Health Damages from Pollution – Housing Prices
  4. Climate Change Impacts – Sources of Variation
  5. Climate Change Impacts on Economy
  6. Cost of Environmental Regulation



Lecture 1

  • Baylis, Kathy, Jordi Honey-Rosés, Jan Börner, Esteve Corbera, Driss Ezzine-de-Blas, Paul J. Ferraro, Renaud Lapeyre, U. Martin Persson, Alex Pfaff and Sven Wunder. 2016. “Mainstreaming Impact Evaluation in Nature Conservation.” Conservation Letters, 9(1): 58-64.
  • Frank, Eyal G. 2018. “The Effects of Bat Population Losses on Infant Mortality through Pesticide Use in the U.S.” Working Paper. Taylor, Charles A. 2019. “The Cicada Song: the Impact of Insecticides on Infant Health and Long-term Outcomes.” CEEP Working Paper 9.

Lecture 2

  • Chay, Kenneth Y. and Michael Greenstone. 2003. “The Impact of Air Pollution on Infant Mortality: Evidence from Geographic Variation in Pollution Shocks Induced by a Recession.” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(3):1121-1167.
  • Almond, Douglas, Lena Edlund and Martin Palme. 2009. “Chernobyl’s Subclinical Legacy: Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Fallout and School Outcomes in Sweden.” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 124(4):1729-1772.
  • Schlenker, Wolfram and W. Reed Walker. 2016. “Airports, Air Pollution, and Contemporaneous Health.” Review of Economic Studies, 83(2): 768-809.

Lecture 3

  • Rosen, Sherwin. 1974. “Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition.” Journal of Political Economy, 82(1):34-55.
  • Davis, Lucas. 2004. “The Effect of Health Risk on Housing Values: Evidence from a Cancer Cluster.” American Economic Review, 94(5): 1693-1704.
  • Gamper-Rabindran, Shanti and Christopher Timmins. 2011. “Does Cleanup of Hazardous Waste Sites Raise Housing Values? Evidence of Spatially Localized Benefits.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 65(3): 345-360.

Lecture 4

  • Schlenker, Wolfram and Michael J. Roberts. 2009. “Nonlinear Temperature Effects Indicate Severe Damages to U.S. Crop Yields under Climate Change.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(37):15594-15598.
  • Burke, Marshall, and Kyle Emerick. 2016. “Adaptation to climate change: Evidence from US agriculture.” American Economic Journal – Economic Policy, 8(3),106-140.
  • Schlenker, Wolfram, Michael J. Roberts, and David B. Lobell. 2013. “US maize adaptability.” Nature Climate Change, 3:690–691.

Lecture 5


  • Burke, Marshall, Solomon M. Hsiang, and Edward Miguel. 2015. “Global non-linear effect of temperature on economic production.” Nature, 527: 235-239.
  • Newell, Richard G., Brian C. Prest, and Steven E. Sexton. 2018. “The GDP Temperature Relationship: Implications for Climate Change Damages.” RFF Working Paper.
  • Shrader, Jeffrey. 2018. “Expectations and adaptation to environmental risks.” Working Paper.

Lecture 6 

  • Walker, W. Reed. 2013. “The Transitional Costs of Sectoral Reallocation: Evidence From the Clean Air Act and the Workforce.” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 128(4): 1787-1835.
  • Meng, Kyle. 2017. “Using a Free Permit Rule to Forecast the Marginal Abatement Cost of Proposed Climate Policy.” American Economic Review, 107(3): 748-784.
  • Colmer, Jonathan, Mirabelle Muuls, Ralf Martin, and Ulrich J. Wagner. 2018. “Emissions Trading, Firm Behavior, and the Environment: Evidence from French Manufacturing Firms.” Working Paper