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Products: UHERO Working Papers

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Indirect Inference Based on the Score

The Efficient Method of Moments (EMM) estimator popularized by Gallant and Tauchen (1996) is an indirect inference estimator based on the simulated auxiliary score evaluated at the sample estimate of the auxiliary parameters. We study an alternative estimator that uses the sample auxiliary score evaluated at the simulated binding function which maps the structural parameters of interest to the auxiliary parameters. We show that the alternative estimator has the same asymptotic properties as the EMM estimator but in finite samples behaves more like the distance-based indirect inference estimator of Gouri«eroux, Monfort and Renault (1993).

WORKING PAPER


Payment schemes in random-termination experimental games

We consider payment schemes in experiments that model infinite-horizon games by using random termination. We compare paying subjects cumulatively for all periods of the game; with paying subjects for the last period only; with paying for one of the periods, chosen randomly. Theoretically, assuming expected utility maximization and risk neutrality, both the cumulative and the last period payment schemes induce preferences that are equivalent to maximizing the discounted sum of utilities. The last-period payment is also robust under different attitudes towards risk. In comparison, paying subjects for one of the periods chosen randomly creates a present-period bias. Experimentally, we find that the cumulative payment appears the best in inducing long-sighted behavior.

WORKING PAPER


Is Our World Going to Get a Whole Lot Smaller?

The surge of oil prices in recent years has led to speculation that rising transportation costs could end the period of dramatic world trade growth--in the words of Rubin (2009), "...Your world is going to get a whole lot smaller." Using data from China's Customs Statistics, we examine the impact of oil prices on trade's sensitivity to distance. We find that higher oil prices increase trade's elasticity to distance, but that the economic effect is small. We also find that the effect is more pronounced for trade within global production networks, and less large for goods shipped by air. 

Published: Gangnes, B. and Van Assche, A., 2011, China’s Exports in a World of Increasing Oil Prices, The Multinational Business Review, 19(22).

Working Paper


Preferential Trade and Welfare with Differentiated Products

We consider analytically and numerically the welfare tradeoffs inherent in a preferential trade area (PTA) with products differentiated by region of origin. For a small open economy in such a setting, welfare gains are associated with higher trade volumes within the PTA. However, welfare losses are induced by declining tariff revenues on trade with nonmember countries. We show that both effects are concave, while one is a non-monotonic and the other a potentially non-monotonic function of pre-PTA partner trade shares. Therefore, the relationship between initial partner import shares and direct static welfare impacts of a PTA are theoretically ambiguous. This finding contrasts with conventional results in the homogeneous-goods case, whereby the smaller is the pre-agreement trade volume with a potential partner the more beneficial is a PTA.

WORKING PAPER


The Impact of Civil Unions on Hawaii's Economy and Government

This report provides quantitative and qualitative measures of the impact of same-sex civil unions on the Hawai`i economy, Hawai`i businesses, and the State of Hawai`i’s budget. More specifically, we examine the effect of civil unions on tourism arrivals to Hawai`i; state government revenues and expenditures; employer provision of health insurance to civil union partners and their dependents; and the family with civil union partners. We conclude that the legalization of civil unions in Hawai`i will have only a very minimal impact on any aspect of Hawai`i’s economy and state government operations.

Working Paper


The Employment Effects of Fiscal Policy: How Costly Are ARRA Jobs

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was intended to stimulate the U.S. economy and to create jobs. But at what cost? In this paper, we discuss the range of potential benefits and costs associated with counter-cyclical fiscal policy. Benefits and costs may be social, macroeconomic, systemic, and budgetary. They may depend importantly on timing and implementation. There may be very different implications over the business cycle horizon and in the medium to long term. We use simulations of the IHS Global Insight macro-econometric model to evaluate some of these costs and benefits in the U.S. economy, looking specifically at the impact of the ARRA program and potential alternative policies.

Working Paper


Technical Progress in Transport and the Tourism Area Life Cycle

Richard Butler’s tourism area life cycle envisions tourism destinations to evolve in stages from exploration to rapid growth followed by slackening, stagnation, and even decline. The eventual slow-down in tourism growth is attributed to the destinations reaching their physical and social carrying capacities. This article examines the evolution of Hawaii as a tourism destination from 1922 to 2009. We demonstrate that tourism growth in Hawaii has declined but not because the destination has reached its carrying capacity but primarily because of the slowdown in technical progress in passenger air transportation and competition from newer destinations. We conclude that for destinations that depend on transportation improvements to attract tourists, technical progress in transport may provide a better explanation of the evolution of their destinations than their carrying capacities.

Working Paper

 


Optimal Provision and Finance of Ecosystem Services: the Case of Watershed Conservation and Groundwater Management

Payments for ecosystem services should be informed by how both the providing-resource and the downstream resource are managed. We develop an integrated model that jointly optimizes conservation investment in a watershed that recharges a downstream aquifer and groundwater extraction from the aquifer. Volumetric user-fees to finance watershed investment induce inefficient water use, inasmuch as conservation projects actually lower the optimal price of groundwater. We propose a lump-sum conservation surcharge that preserves efficient incentives and fully finances conservation investment. Inasmuch as proper watershed management counteracts the negative effects of water scarcity, it also serves as adaptation to climate change. When recharge is declining, the excess burden of non-optimal watershed management increases.

working paper

 


Why Hasn’t the US Economic Stimulus Been More Effective? The Debate on Tax and Expenditure Multipliers

Recent dissatisfaction with the impact of expenditure stimulus on economic activity in the United States, along with the results of academic research, have once again raised questions about the effectiveness of fiscal stimulus policies and about whether stimulus to a recessionary economy should be in the form of tax cuts or expenditure increases. This paper considers alternative methods for evaluating the impacts of stimulus policy strategies. We discuss conceptual challenges involved in effectiveness measurement, and we review alternative empirical approaches applied in recent studies. We then present our own estimates of policy multipliers based on simulations of the IHS Global Insight model of the US economy. Based on this review and analysis, we address the question of why recent US stimulus programs have not been more effective.

Published: Adams, F.G., Gangnes, B., 2010,  Why Hasn't the US Economic Stimulus Been More Effective? The Debate on Tax and Expenditure Multipliers. World Economics, 11 (4), 111-130.

working paper version


Optimal and Sustainable Groundwater Extraction

With the specter of climate change, groundwater scarcity looms as an increasingly critical issue worldwide. Minimizing the adverse effects of scarcity requires optimal as well as sustainable patterns of groundwater management. We review the many sustainable paths for groundwater extraction from a coastal aquifer and show how to find the particular sustainable path that is optimal. In some cases the optimal path converges to the maximum sustainable yield. For sufficiently convex extraction costs, the extraction path converges to an internal steady state above the level of maximum sustainable yield. We describe the challenges facing groundwater managers faced with multiple aquifers, the prospect of using recycled water, and the interdependence with watershed management. The integrated water management thus described results in less water scarcity and higher total welfare gains from groundwater use. The framework also can be applied to climate- change specifications about the frequency, duration, and intensity of precipitation by comparing before and after optimal management. For the case of South Oahu in Hawaii, the prospect of climate change increases the gains of integrated groundwater management.

working paper


Optimal Management of a Hawaiian Coastal Aquifer with Near-Shore Marine Ecological Interactions

We optimize groundwater management in the presence of marine consequences of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD). Concern for marine biota increases the optimal steady-state head level of the aquifer. The model is discussed in general terms for any coastal groundwater resource where SGD has a positive impact on valuable near-shore resources. Our application focuses of the Kona Coast of Hawai’i, where SGD is being actively studied and where both near-shore ecology and groundwater resources are serious socio-political issues. To incorporate the consequences of water extraction on nearshore resources, we impose a safe minimum standard for the quantity of SGD. Efficient pumping rates fluctuate according to various growth requirements on the keystone marine algae and different assumptions regarding recharge rates. Desalination is required under average recharge conditions and a strict minimum standard, and under low recharge conditions regardless of minimum standards of growth.

working paper


Limits to Growth: Tourism and Regional Labor Migration

The paper provides a methodology for considering the carrying capacity and limits to growth of a labor-constrained mature tourism destination. A computable general equilibrium model is used to examine the impacts of visitor expenditure growth and labor migration on Hawaii's economy. Impacts on regional income, welfare, prices, sector-level output, and gross state product are considered under alternative migration scenarios. Labor market constraints impose limits to growth in real visitor expenditures. Labor market growth with constrained visitor demand generates falling per capita household welfare.  

working paper

 


An Economic Assessment of Biological Control for Miconia calvescens in Hawaii

Biocontrol, the introduction of organisms to control an unwanted species, has been cited as a powerful method to manage the invasive species Miconia calvescens in Hawaii. In addition to ecological advantages, biocontrol is often regarded as less costly than traditional methods despite the large initial investment. Currently, miconia in Hawaii is treated through aerial and manual operations, which cost over $1 million annually. Biocontrol for miconia in Hawaii began in 1997 and the search for more agents continues today. Although biocontrol for miconia has already begun, prior to this study no assessment of its economic justifiability had been done. This research evaluates the present value of net benefits of miconia biocontrol in Hawaii. Cost data were gathered from scientists in charge of biocontrol programs. Benefits were defined as the cost-savings of current control methods. Two different biocontrol programs were modeled: control achieved by a single agent, and control achieved by a suite of agents. In addition, different dispersal rates and efficacies of biocontrol and two release dates were modeled. Because most costs of biocontrol are incurred before the release of a successful agent and the benefits are only realized post-release, each scenario was evaluated over a 50-year time horizon. The results indicate a positive present value of net benefits in all scenarios, ranging from $12.8 million to $36.1 million. Thus, biocontrol for miconia in Hawaii appears to be economically justifiable. This research should enable scientists, economists and policy makers to make informed decisions about the optimal management of Miconia calvescens in Hawaii.

working paper


Spatial Economic Analysis of Early Detection and Rapid Response Strategies for an Invasive Species

Economic impacts from invasive species, conveyed as expected damages to assets from invasion and expected costs of successful prevention and/or removal, may vary significantly across spatially differentiated landscapes. We develop a spatial-dynamic model for optimal early detection and rapid response (EDRR) policies, commonly exploited in the management of potential invaders around the world, and apply it to the case of the Brown treesnake (Boiga irregularis) in Oahu, Hawaii. EDRR consists of search activities beyond the ports of entry, where search (and potentially removal) efforts are targeted toward areas where credible evidence suggests the presence of an invader. EDRR costs are a spatially dependent variable related to the ease or difficulty of searching an area, while damages are assumed to be a population dependent variable. A myopic strategy in which search only occurs when and where current expected net returns are positive is attractive to managers, and, we find, significantly lowers present value losses (by $270m over 30 years). We find further that in the tradeoff between search costs and damages avoided, early and aggressive measures that search some high priority areas beyond points of entry even when current costs of search exceed current damages can save the island more ($295m over 30 years). Extensive or non-targeted search is not advised however.

working paper


Global Production Networks in Electronics and Intra-Asian trade

The growth of East Asia’s intra-regional trade is driven largely by increased component trade within global electronics production networks. Data on both electronics trade and production elucidate a pattern of specialization in which upper- and middle-income countries produce sophisticated components and lower-income countries assemble lower- value-added final goods. There is evidence of increasing sophistication within the electronics sector by the Newly Industrialized Economies and to a lesser extent by ASEAN countries. Despite the marked increase in intra-regional trade, developing East Asian countries remain heavily dependent on developed-country markets. When Western export demand rapidly contracted during the 2008-2009 economic crisis, these specialization patterns led the rapid diffusion of the business cycle shock throughout the East Asian region.

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