Measuring Pollution from Confined Animal Feedlot Operations (Michael Galperin)
I estimate the pollution consequences of Confined Animal Feedlot Operations (CAFOs). Monitoring of pollution from CAFOs in the United States is very incomplete; in many cases, federal agencies lack even basic information on the location of factory farms, and current guidance allows CAFO operators to self-certify that they do not violate emissions guidelines. I use newly collected satellite data on the location of all factory farms in North Carolina, together with downstream pollution readings from the U.S. water pollution monitoring network, to estimate the pollution consequences of CAFOs. I outline how in future work, collecting additional remotely-sensed data will allow me to obtain more precise estimates of the causal impact of CAFOs on pollution, algal blooms, and human health.
Does the National Flood Insurance Program Crowd Out Investments in Mitigation? (Max Snyder)
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, the United States’ National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has become financially insolvent, accumulating over 20 billion dollars in debt and prompting debates about reform. Mitigation efforts like property elevation, relocation, and levee construction may limit flood damages. Some have expressed concern, however, that subsidized flood-insurance may cause moral hazard, potentially 1) disincentivizing households and governments from investing in flood mitigation, and 2) incentivizing housing development in flood-prone areas. In this presentation, I will describe how reforms to the NFIP can be used to evaluate whether flood insurance promotes or discourages investments in flood mitigation.
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