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SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SEMINAR 2012-2013

 
Program June 2013

Wednesday, June 12 (1:30 to 2:30 pm)

The seminar takes place in the Library of the Department of Economics at Ecole Polytechnique (Ground Floor).
 

Mouez FODHA (Paris I-PSE) 

"From Regressive Pollution Taxes to Progressive Environmental Tax Reforms"

Joint work with Mireille Chiroleu-Assouline

Abstract : European countries have increased their use of environmental tax instruments by designing new tax bases. But, many countries have to face the opposition of the public opinion, for fear of the distributive consequences of these environmental tax reforms. This paper sheds light on the distributive consequences of environmental tax policies when households are heterogeneous. The objective is to assess whether an environmental tax reform could be Pareto improving, when the revenue of the pollution tax is recycled by a change in the labor tax properties. We show that, whatever the degree of regressivity of the environmental tax alone, it is possible to design a recycling mechanism that renders the tax reform Pareto improving, by simultaneously decreasing the average rate of the wage tax and increasing its progressivity.

Contact: Gwenael Roudaut

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Wednesday, June 26 (1:30 to 2:30 pm)

The seminar takes place in the Library of the Department of Economics at Ecole Polytechnique (Ground Floor).
 

Romina BOARINI (OCDE) Canceled

 

Contact: Gwenael Roudaut
 
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Program May 2013

Wednesday, May 15 (1:30 to 2:30 pm)

The seminar takes place in the Library of the Department of Economics at Ecole Polytechnique (Ground Floor).
 

Ingmar SCHUMACHER  (IPAG Business School)
 

"Environmental attitude, belief and voting behavior"
 

Abstract :  In this article I assess how, among others, environmental attitudes and beliefs a effect individuals' green voting behavior in Germany. I make use of three datasets, a panel dataset and two cross-sectional datasets. I find a variety of determinants for green voting. The empirically strongest determinants are the voters' attitude or distance to nuclear sites, the level of schooling and the available net income. I show that global environmental problems are the main determinants of green voting behavior. This result is due to the fact that, at least in Germany, local environmental problems are viewed as negligible, whereas global problems are believed to be worse. For voters, nuclear sites seem to have a more global character, and the distance to them is of psychological importance. Furthermore, I show that those voters with deviant attitudes or alternative world views are more likely to vote green, a result of the fact that the green party has always had the position of a protest party. I find little role for demographic variables like sex, marital status or the number of children. This is in contrast to the stated preference literature. I suggest that voting behavior is a less biased variable than the willingness to pay and may a better proxy for characterising environmental attitudes. I show that age plays a role for explaining voting behavior only insofar as it proxies for health.
 
Contact: Gwenael Roudaut
***

Wednesday, May 29 (1:30 to 2:30 pm)
The seminar takes place in the Library of the Department of Economics at Ecole Polytechnique (Ground Floor).
 

Julien VAUDAY (Paris XIII)

"Environmental Responsibility and FDI: Do Firms Relocate Their Irresponsibilities Abroad?"

Joint work with Rémi BAZILLIER and Sophie HATTE

Abstract : The goal of this paper is to study the influence of corporate environmental responsibility (CER) and national environmental standards on the location choices of the 600 biggest European firms. By using the environmental score provided by Vigeo , we are able to test the influence of the environmental performances of firms. We find a negative interaction effect between these environmental performances and national environmental regulations. Thus, we argue that national standards can be a substitute for CER. All things being equal, firms with better environmental performances tend to be located in dirtier countries. CER can therefore be seen as an answer to the location choices of firms which invest in countries with poor environmental policies. This result is only valid when considering de facto environmental standards, not de jure environmental standards. It suggests a possible strategic behavior of firms which exploit these differences between formal environmental regulations and their 
effective enforcement.

Contact: Gwenael Roudaut

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Archives
Program April 2013
Wednesday, April 10 (1:30 to 2:30 pm)

The seminar takes place in the Library of the Department of Economics at Ecole Polytechnique (Ground Floor).
 

David HEMOUS (INSEAD)
"Environmental Policy and Directed Technical Change in a Global Economy: The Dynamic Impact of Unilateral Environmental Policies"
 
Abstract : This paper builds a two-country (North, South), two-sector (polluting, nonpolluting) trade model with directed technical change, examining whether unilateral environmental policies can ensure sustainable growth. The polluting good is produced with a clean and a dirty input. A temporary Northern policy combining clean research subsidies and a trade tax can ensure sustainable growth but Northern carbon taxes alone cannot. Trade and directed technical change accelerate environmental degradation either under laissez-faire, or if the North implements carbon taxes, yet both help reduce environmental degradation under the appropriate unilateral policy. I characterize the optimal unilateral policy analytically and numerically using calibrated simulations.

Contact: Gwenael Roudaut
 

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Wednesday, April 24 (1:30 to 2:30 pm)

The seminar takes place in the Library of the Department of Economics at Ecole Polytechnique (Ground Floor).

Luc DOYEN (MNHN)
 
"The triple bottom line: Meeting ecological, economic and social goals with individual transferable quotas"
Joint work with J.-C. Péreau, L. Doyen, L.R. Little, O. Thébaud 

Abstract:This paper deals with the sustainable management of a renewable resource based on individual and transferable quotas (ITQs) when agents differ in terms of harvesting costs or catch capability. In a dynamic bio-economic model, we determine the feasibility conditions under which a fishery manager can achieve sustainability objectives which simultaneously account for stock conservation, economic efficiency and maintenance of fishing activity for the agents along time. We show how the viability of quota management strategies based on ITQ depends on the degree of heterogeneity of users in the fishery, the current status and the dynamics of the stock together with the selection of TAC schedules. In particular for a given stock, we compute the maximin effort for a given set of agents and we derive the maximal number of active agents for a given guaranteed effort. An application to the nephrops fishery in the Bay of Biscay illustrates the results. 

Contact: Gwenael Roudaut
 

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Program March 2013

 

Wednesday, March 20 (1:30 to 2:30 pm)

The seminar takes place in the Library of the Department of Economics at Ecole Polytechnique (Ground Floor).
 

Thomas P. LYON  (University of Michigan)
"Linking Public and Private Politics : Activist Strategy for Industry Transformation"

Joint work with Stephen Salant (University of Michigan)
 

Abstract : We build a model of activist campaigns against corporations that captures both their direct impact through private politics, and their indirect impact through changing targeted firms’ incentives to engage in public politics. A strategic activist seeks to transform the behavior of an industry, and influence it to adopt a costly green technology that will reduce environmental damages. To do so, the activist can mount a campaign to convince one or more firms in an industry to adopt the green technology. The activist considers both the direct environmental benefits of a firm’s adoption, as well as its indirect effects through changes in the industry’s lobbying behavior. We characterize the activist’s optimal strategy and how it varies with underlying variables such as the cost of the alternative technologies, environmental benefits of technology adoption, and cost heterogeneity within the industry.

Contact:  Gwenael Roudaut

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Wednesday, March 27 (1:30 to 2:30 pm)

The seminar takes place in the Library of the Department of Economics at Ecole Polytechnique (Ground Floor).
 

José L. MORAGA   (Université d'Amsterdam)
 
"Market Transparency and Forward Contracts: an Application to the Wholesale Market for Natural Gas"
 
Joint work with Remco van Eijkel (University of Groningen)
 
Abstract: We present a n-firm oligopoly model of strategic behavior in forward and spot markets that incorporates explicitly (i) firm heterogeneity in costs and in aversion to risk, and (ii) the extent to which the forward market is transparent. We show that the equilibrium inverse hedge ratio of a firm is independent of the demand intercept parameter and of the marginal cost of the firm, decreases as the firm becomes more risk-averse and as demand volatility goes up, while it increases as the rival rms become more risk-averse. Moreover, the inverse hedge ratio of a firm increases as the forward market becomes more transparent and decreases as the number of competitors goes up.
Using data from the Dutch wholesale market for natural gas where we observe the number of players, spot and forward sales, churn rates and spot prices, we find evidence that strategic reasons play an important role at explaining the observed firms' inverse hedge ratios. In order to assess how transparent the market really is, we estimate the model structurally. Our estimates suggest that the forward market is relatively transparent.
 
Please if you want to meet jose L. Moraga during his visit (tuesday 26 -Wednesday 27), please contact Francisco RUIZ-ALISEDA (Nous contacter).

Contact: Gwenael Roudaut

 
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Program February 2013

In February, the SED seminar takes place from 12:00 to 1:00 pm in the Room "Blue" (Second Floor at the end of the corridor), Department of Economics, Ecole Polytechnique.

February 6th, 2013

Patricia CRIFO (Université Paris-Ouest Nanterre La Défense and Department of Economics Ecole Polytechnique)

"Board of directors and Firm Performance".

Joint work with Sandra Cavaco (Université Panthéon Assas), Edouard Challe (Ecole Polytechnique) and Antoine Rébérioux (Université Paris-Ouest Nanterre La Défense).

Contact: Gwenael Roudaut

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February 20th, 2013
 

Sandrine KABLAN (Université Paris Est Créteil)
 

"GREEN CITIES AND GREEN BUILDINGS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: HOW DOES FOREIGN AID CONTRIBUTE?"

Abstract: This paper attempts first to assess foreign aid effectiveness in fostering green cities procedures in developing countries. To this purpose, we rely on the following aid effectiveness criteria: national ownership, harmonization, alignment and mutual accountability and results management. Our analysis shows that some programs are effective and scalable. The second attempt of our paper is to try to link in a GMM model, CO2 emissions from residential buildings and commercial and public services to total foreign aid and sector specific aid like energy. Our results show that foreign aid is not significant, when it enters the regression as a level variable. However, it is significant as a quadratic term. Again, when it’s crossed with electricity production from renewable sources, aid reduces CO2 emissions. Our policy recommendation is therefore to foster foreign aid for ecological projects which are known to have strong effect on the reduction of CO2 emissions in developing countries’ cities. This will contribute to the greening of their cities.

Contact: Gwenael Roudaut

 
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Archives Program December 2012

December 12nd, 2012
(1:30 -2:30 pm) 
Location: Ground Floor library, Department of Economics, Building 081

Douglas CUMMING (York University, Schulich School of Business (Canada) 

"‘Cleantech’ Venture Capital Investment"

Joint work with Irene Henriques and Perry Sadorsky

Abstract: This paper examines clean technology (‘cleantech’) venture capital (‘VC’) investment with a worldwide dataset spanning over 50 countries in an unbalanced panel spanning 1980-2010. Cleantech includes energy efficient technologies that include but are not limited to recycling, renewable energy (wind power, solar power, biomass, hydropower, biofuels), information technology, green transportation, electric motors, green chemistry, and lighting. The data analyzed highlight the role of economic wealth (GDP per capita) and legal protections in encouraging cleantech VC investment, such as anti-director rights. These findings are consistent with drivers of any type of VC investment. What is unique for cleantech VC investment, however, is the importance of Hofstede’s cultural variables, and particularly Power Distance. The Power distance Index measures the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. Countries with high inequality of Power Distance have substantially less investment in cleantech. Finally, we note that policy initiatives such as local, national and/or worldwide cleantech forums do not have any impact on cleantech investment.

Contact: Gwenael Roudaut  if you want to lunch with the speaker before the seminar.

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December 19th, 2012
(1:30 -2:30 pm) 
Location: Ground Floor library, Department of Economics, Building 081

Vincent MARTINET (INRA) 

"Combining Rights and Welfarism: A New Approach to Intertemporal Evaluation of Social Alternatives"

Joint work with Ngo Van Long

Abstract : We propose a new criterion which reflects both the concern for welfare (utility) and the concern for rights in the evaluation of economic development paths. The concern for rights is captured by a pre-ordering over combinations of thresholds (floors or ceilings on various quantitative indicators) that serve as constraints on actions and on levels of state variables. These thresholds are interpreted as minimal rights to be guaranteed to all generations. They are endogenously chosen within the set of all feasible thresholds, accounting for the “cost in terms of welfare” of achieving these rights. We apply the criterion to several examples, including the standard Dasgupta-Heal-Solow model of resource extraction and capital accumulation. We show that if the weight given to rights in the criterion is sufficiently high, the optimal solution may be on the threshold possibility frontier. The development path is then “driven” by the rights. In particular, if a minimal consumption is considered as a right, constant consumption can be optimal even with a positive utility discount rate. The shadow prices of thresholds play an important role in the determination of the rate of discount to be applied to social investment projects.

 Contact: Gwenael Roudaut  if you want to lunch with the speaker before the seminar.

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Program November 2012

November 7th, 2012
(1:30 -2:30 pm) 
Location: Ground Floor library, Department of Economics, Building 081 

Sébastien POUGET Toulouse School of Economics (IAE-CRM-IDEI)

Joint work with Christian Gollier (Toulouse School of Economics (LERNA-IDEI)

"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: A Theory of Protable and E ffective Socially Responsible Investments" 

Abstract:  We examine the functioning of financial markets when firms can invest in activities that produce externalities. We study a model in which some investors are socially responsible (\the Good"): they take externalities into account when they value their portfolio, because they believe that these externalities will materialize into better long-run performance or because they are altruistic. In presence of purely financial investors (\the Bad"), there are two mechanisms by which socially responsible investors can influence firm's decisions. They can vote with their feet, thereby raising the cost of capital of non-responsible firms. They can also try to engage in activism. This strategy is e ffective unless socially responsible investors do not hold enough shares to impose their view to the management. In this case, a large investor (\The Ugly") can generate positive abnormal returns by investing in non-responsible companies and turning them into responsible ones. We show that a long-term horizon and a pro-social orientation raise the purely financial profit of the large investor. In some cases, a large anti-social oriented investor could use the same type of strategy to protably change a company from responsible to non-responsible.

Please send a message Gwenael Roudaut if you want to lunch with the speaker. 

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November 21st, 2012
(1:30 -2:30 pm) 
Location: Ground Floor library, Department of Economics, Building 081

Olivier GODARD (Department of Economics Ecole Polytechnique) 

"La justice climatique internationale peut-elle se fonder sur les concepts de dette écologique et de responsabilité historique des pays industriels?"

Abstract: In spite of its strong appeal to NGOs, to certain governments and to some scholars, the concept of an ecological debt accumulated by developed countries due to their historical responsibility deserve a serious critical assessment. The paper provides this assessment in the context of climate change. It first shows how the rhetoric of ecological debt exploits confusion between a pre-modern concept of social debt and the modern one based on the contract figure. Based on a critical review of recent literature in the field of applied ethics and moral and political philosophy in relation to international climate negotiations, two components of the 'climate debt' concept are examined: a presumed duty of compensation of the damage imposed by climate change and rules of sharing out of atmospheric services when developed countries are presumed to have emitted GHGs in the past in excess of their fair share. The discussion considers successively the legal and the moral viewpoint as well as factual aspects.

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Program October 2012

October 10th, 2012
(1:30 -2:30 pm) 
Location: Ground Floor library, Department of Economics, Building 081

Eric STROBL (Ecole Polytechnique, Departement d'Economie)

"The Impact of Typhoons on local Economic Activity in China"

Abstract: We investigate the impact of typhoon activity on local economic activity in Chinese coastal regions. To this end we employ a wind field model on typhoon track data to estimate potential damages locally. As a measure of local economic activity we employ satellite images of nightlights and then translate these into monetary figures using more aggregate income data. Our results are then used to estimate risk maps and probabilities from synthetic typhoon data. 

Contact: Gwenael Roudaut 
 

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October 24th, 2012
(1:30 -2:30 pm) 
Location: Ground Floor library, Department of Economics, Building 081 

Mireille CHIROLEU-ASSOULINE ( Paris 1, PSE) 

Joint work with  Jean-Christophe Poudou (Université Montpellier 1) and Sébastien Roussel (Université Montpellier 3) 

"North / South Contractual Design through the REDD+ Scheme"

Abstract : In this paper we aim at theoretically grounding the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation + (REDD+) scheme as a contractual relationship between countries in the light of the theory of incentives. Considering incomplete information about reference levels of deforestation as well as exogenous implementation and transaction costs, we compare two types of contracts: a deforestation performance-based contract and a conditional avoided deforestation-based contract. Because of the implementation and transaction costs, each kind of REDD+ contract implies a dramatically di fferent information rent / effi ciency trade-o ff. If the contract is performance-based (resp. conditionality-based), information rents are awarded to countries with the ex ante lowest (resp. highest) deforestation. In a simple quadratic setting, there is a reference level threshold in terms of efficiency towards less deforestation. In terms of expected welfare, conditional avoided deforestation-based schemes are preferred.

Contact: Gwenael Roudaut

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Program September 2012

September 26th, 2012 
(1:30 -2:30 pm) 
Location: Ground Floor library, Department of Economics, Building 081

Bernard SINCLAIR-DESGAGNE  - (HEC Montreal, CIRANO, Ecole Polytechnique).

"Haggling over a precarious ecosystem"

Abstract : Most natural commons are subject to discontinuities and threshold effects, so their gradual depletion may result in a sudden irreversible loss of the associated ecological services. Moreover, it is often impossible to locate these thresholds with certainty and it is typical for experts to disagree about the precise levels of these thresholds. We analyze this context using a variant of the divide-the-dollar game, in which the amount to be split among players follows a discrete or multimodal probability distribution. "Cautious equilibria"—where agents collectively behave as if the worst-case scenario were certain—are found to coexist with "dangerous equilibria"—where overall demand for ecological services might lead to their collapse —and "dreadful equilibria"— where agents collectively request so much natural capital that a collapse of ecological services is certain, even if all agents are risk averse. Coordinated group deviations, however, would eliminate dreadful equilibria and reduce the occurrence of dangerous equilibria, while cautious equilibria are robust to such deviations. A direct corollary is that dangerous equilibria are Paretodominated by any cautious equilibrium in which all agents claim less natural capital. These results shed light on the management of common-pool resources, international climate change negotiations, and the implementation of precautionary policies.

Contact: Gwenael Roudaut

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