Bright Lines, Risk Beliefs, and Risk Avoidance: Evidence from a Randomized Intervention in Bangladesh
October 2010 – by Lori Bennear, Alessandro Tarozzi, Alexander Pfaff, H.B. Soumya, Kazi Matin Ahmed, and Alexander van Geen

This paper provides evidence on the effects of risk presentation on health behaviors using data from a cluster randomized controlled trial in risk presentation regarding arsenic in drinking water in Araihazar district of Bangladesh. The intervention was designed to test whether highlighting the existence of a gradient in arsenic risk—exposure risk increases with the level of arsenic and lower arsenic exposure is always better—led to better choices relative to “bright line” information provision that focuses on whether the arsenic level is above or below the country standard of 50 parts per billion.

The Value of Disappearing Beaches: A Hedonic Pricing Model with Endogenous Beach Width
September 2010 – by Sathya Gopalakrishnan, Martin D. Smith, Jordan M. Slott, and A. Brad Murray

Beach nourishment is used to rebuild eroding beaches with sand dredged from other locations. Previous studies indicate that beach width positively affects coastal property values, but studies ignore the dynamic features of beaches and the feedback that nourishment has on shoreline retreat. This paper corrects for the resulting attenuation and endogeneity bias in a hedonic property value model by instrumenting for beach width using spatially varying coastal geological features.

Management of an Annual Fishery in the Presence of Ecological Stress: The Case of Shrimp and Hypoxia
September 2010 – by Ling Huang and Martin D. Smith

The emergence of ecosystem-based management suggests that traditional fisheries management and protection of environmental quality are increasingly interrelated. But fishery managers have limited control over most sources of marine and estuarine pollution and at best can only adapt to environmental conditions. This paper presents a bioeconomic model of optimal harvest of an annual species that is subject to an environmental disturbance, and parameterizes the model to analyze the effect of hypoxia (low dissolved oxygen) on the optimal harvest path of brown shrimp, a commercially important species that is fished in hypoxic waters in the Gulf of Mexico and in estuaries in the southeastern United States.

Participatory Protection in Theory and Application: Paper Tigers, Fences and Fines, or Negotiated Co-Management? 
August 2010 – by Stefanie Engel, Charles Palmer, and Alexander Pfaff

Forest protection can involve limits on local communities (“fences and fines”), yet some attempts to form protected areas that block local land use are fruitless (“paper tigers”). Participation, i.e., involving communities in forest management (or “co-management”), is a relatively recent innovation in protection which falls between these two endpoints. This working paper models the emergence of negotiated agreements that can share management of and benefits from forest between actors with different objectives, i.e., state and forest user. This paper has been updated on September 7, 2010.

Assessing Improvement in Energy Efficiency of U.S. Auto Assembly Plants
June 2010 – by Gale Boyd

This paper describes the EPA’s voluntary ENERGY STAR program policy approach selected to engage and motivate the automobile manufacturing industry to improve its energy performance, and the results of the industry’s efforts to advance energy management as measured by the updated ENERGY STAR Energy Performance Indicator.