Working Papers

Optimal transmission expansion minimally reduces decarbonization costs of U.S. electricity February 21, 2024 Solar and wind power are cost-competitive with fossil fuels, yet their intermittent nature presents challenges. Significant temporal and geographic differences in land, wind, and solar resources suggest that long-distance transmission could be particularly beneficial. Using a detailed, open source model, we analyze optimal transmission expansion jointly with storage, generation, and hourly operations across the three… Read More
The Effect of Front-end Vehicle Height on Pedestrian Death Risk January 12, 2024 Pedestrian deaths in the US have risen in recent years. Concurrently, US vehicles have increased in size, which may pose a safety risk for pedestrians. In particular, the increased height of vehicle front-ends may present a danger for pedestrians in a crash, as the point of vehicle contact is more likely to occur at the… Read More
The Effect of Bus Rapid Transit on Local Home Prices August 19, 2023 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems have become increasingly common in US cities. BRT stations provide a local amenity by improving transportation options for local residents, but may also represent a local nuisance due to noise or displacement of other road users. We estimate whether BRT is priced into local real estate by studying a recently… Read More
Only the fit survive recessions: Estimating labor market penalties for the obese over the business cycle July 17, 2023 Abstract: The obesity epidemic is a growing concern in the United States. Aside from the detrimental health effects of obesity, previous work has also documented a negative relationship between obesity and various labor market outcomes. Given that the American adult obesity rate is roughly 40%, obesity affects a large portion of the US labor market.… Read More
VOG: Using Volcanic Eruptions to Estimate the Impact of Air Pollution on Student Learning Outcomes November 1, 2022 This study pairs variation stemming from volcanic eruptions from Kilauea with the census of Hawai‘i’s public schools student test scores to estimate the impact of particulates and sulfur dioxide on student performance. We leverage spatial correlations in pollution in conjunction with proximity to Kilauea and wind direction to construct predictions of pollution exposure at each… Read More
The work-from-home revolution and the performance of cities September 23, 2022 In this paper we set out the relationships between the behavioural, technological and spatial changes in systems that allow for heterogeneous responses to working-from-home by different types of actors, and also identifies the channels via which such changes take place. Unlike all other papers on the subject, the analytical framework we propose centers explicitly on… Read More
Construction Kakaako Diversifying Hawai‘i’s specialized economy: A spatial economic perspective August 23, 2022 Specialization in tourism exposes the economy of Hawai‘i to external shocks that trigger collapses in tourist numbers. Furthermore, Hawai‘i’s economic growth has diminished for decades as the dominance of tourism has not generated productivity growth. In response, policy-makers in Hawai‘i increasingly emphasize diversification. This article examines a spatial economics perspective to explain why Hawai‘i is… Read More
Real-Time Pricing and the Cost of Clean Power August 9, 2022 Solar and wind power are now cheaper than fossil fuels but are intermittent. The extra supply-side variability implies growing benefits of using real-time retail pricing (RTP). We evaluate the potential gains of RTP using a model that jointly solves investment, supply, storage, and demand to obtain a chronologically detailed dynamic equilibrium for the island of… Read More
Waikiki by AussieActive on Unsplash The effects of the pandemic on the economy of Hawaii July 31, 2022 The economy of Hawaii was extremely vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic due to its heavy reliance on tourism. This article is a thorough survey of issues affecting a tourism-dependent open economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. We provide a comprehensive analysis of the pandemic’s economic impact in Hawaii by comparing the actual outcomes during the affected… Read More
Homeowner Politics and Housing Supply July 8, 2022 Restrictions on housing supply have contributed to a rapid increase in home prices and rents in many large cities. Incumbent homeowners may benefit financially from rising prices, while renters are harmed. Incumbent residents may also resist new local housing due to local congestion externalities. Supply restrictions are often implemented by city councils at the behest… Read More
The effects of COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Hawai‘i May 13, 2022 Having been affected by the highest increase in COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, Honolulu and Maui counties in Hawaii implemented vaccine passport mandates for select industries in September 2021. However, the degree to which such mandates impacted COVID-19 mitigation efforts and economics remains poorly understood. Herein, we describe the effects of these… Read More
Gas meters Are We Building Too Much Natural Gas Pipeline? A comparison of actual US expansion of pipeline to an optimized plan of the interstate network April 25, 2022 Interstate natural gas transmission and storage infrastructure is facilitated using regulated, private transactions. Pipeline companies obtain long-term contracts from producers and wholesale purchasers, typically local distribution companies (LDCs). Historically, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) accepted these counterparty contracts as sufficient justification of need. Typically the LDCs are themselves regulated firms, which sometimes possess affiliations… Read More
Bird’s eye view of COVID-19, mobility, and labor market outcomes across the US December 30, 2021 COVID-19 dealt a formidable blow to the US economy. We present a joint analysis of the epidemiological and labor market outcomes across US states. We focus on the relationship across relevant indicators in the pre-vaccination era. As expected, we find strong correlation between changes in economic conditions and mobility. However, mobility fluctuations tend to be… Read More
Tourism Water Use During the COVID-19 Shutdown A natural experiment in Hawai‘i November 1, 2021 Many of the most popular tourist destinations are on small islands whose resources are in limited supply, and the effects of climate change and increasing tourism tend to worsen the outlook. In this study, we identify the relationship between tourism and water use on the Hawaiian island of O‘ahu. Hawai‘i closed almost entirely to tourism… Read More
Using Temperature Sensitivity to Estimate Shiftable Electricity Demand Implications for power system investments and climate change September 2, 2021 Growth of intermittent renewable energy and climate change make it increasingly difficult to manage electricity demand variability. Transmission and centralized storage technologies can help, but are costly. An alternative to centralized storage is to make better use of shiftable demand, but it is unclear how much shiftable demand exists. A significant share of electricity demand… Read More