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Essays in public and environmental economics

Chanut, Nicolas (2022) Essays in public and environmental economics. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004489


Economists and policy makers are increasingly concerned with the heterogeneous impact of economic policies, on top of their overall effectiveness. However, understanding precisely how they impact different population groups often requires specific approaches and data sets. This thesis contributes to this issue by leveraging novel data sets and methods to improve the economic analysis of carbon emissions, the measurement of inflation and the measurement wage inequality. The first chapter analyzes to what extent countries can reduce their CO2 emissions by changing the composition of consumption rather than the underlying technology, with a focus on food products. I document that carbon intensity is heterogeneous even within detailed product categories. I then show that well-targeted taco deliver large efficiency gains, and that the impact of carbon taxes across households varies strongly with their exposure to high-carbon products, but not with their expenditure level. In addition, the welfare cost of reducing carbon emissions varies strongly across product categories, providing a new justification for granular taxes or, equivalently, carbon markets. The second chapter concerns the inflation dynamics during the Covid-19 lockdown in France. Using scanner data on fast-moving consumer goods from a large retailer, I find that the lockdown lead to an important, generalized but temporary increase in price levels across product categories. Further, I find that this inflation shock was asymmetric across products, households and cities, and that this asymmetry did not vanish on the medium-term. The third chapter focuses on the contribution of firm heterogeneity to wage inequality and its measurement in two-way fixed effect models. I provide evidence that firm-side drivers of wage inequality are overestimated by at least 25% because of model overfitting. I then provide a simple procedure to recover the correct measures of interest, show that the correction matters quantitatively and derive more precise estimates of firm effects using shrinkage methods.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2022 Nicolas Chanut
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Sets: Departments > Economics
Supervisor: Jaravel, Xavier

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