Working papers

with Jamie T. Mullins and Alison Hill
Applying a hedonic difference-in-differences framework to a census of residential property transactions in New York City 2003-2017, we estimate the effects of three flood risk signals: 1) the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which increased premiums; 2) Hurricane Sandy; and 3) new FEMA floodplain maps. Properties for which a signal provides more new information exhibit larger effects: for properties not flooded by Sandy but included in the new floodplain, prices fall by as much as 18 percent. Informed by a theoretical model, we decompose our reduced-form estimates into the effects of insurance premium changes and updating, finding that new maps (an information signal) induce belief changes substantially larger than those from insurance reform (a price signal). Using Google data, we document increases in flood-related search intensity coincident with flood risk signals.

Regulation-induced pollution substitution (revise & resubmit)
Environmental regulations may cause firms to re-optimize over pollution inputs, leading to unintended consequences. By regulating air emissions in particular counties, the Clean Air Act (CAA) gives firms incentives to substitute: 1) toward polluting other media, like landfills and waterways; and 2) toward pollution from plants in other counties. Before testing these hypotheses, I first use secondary data to evaluate the coverage and accuracy of my primary data set, the EPA Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). I find the TRI data cover the majority of plants in high-emitting industries. Unlike some previous work, I find strong evidence of agreement between TRI emissions and an independent secondary measure. I then use the TRI to examine the effects of CAA regulation on pollution substitution. Regulated plants increase water emissions by 105 percent (72 log points), offsetting 9 percent of air emissions reductions. Regulation of an average plant increases air emissions at unregulated plants within the same firm by 11 percent. This leakage offsets 37 percent of emissions reductions by regulated firms.