Research

Working papers and work in progress

Local Effects of Artisanal Mining: Empirical Evidence from Ghana (2019), see here.

I estimate local economic, environmental and health effects of artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASM) in Ghana. For that purpose I use a novel dataset of artisanal gold mines created with machine learning techniques and satellite imagery. ASM is an informal, low-tech, but highly labour-intensive form of resource extraction that is typically associated with environmental and health damages, social problems and poverty. In contrast to common perception, I find that one additional artisanal mine increases nearby household per-adult income by one percent. These income effects however do not translate into expenditure gains and diminish quickly with distance. Industrial large-scale mining shows similar local economic impacts. Environmental degradation is documented in the form of increased forest cover loss, but overall greenness is not affected by either small- or large-scale mining. Malaria infection rates however are significantly higher close to artisanal mining sites.


Not in my electoral backyard: Political alignment and local development in England (with Felipe Carozzi)

Recent work emphasizes that housing supply constraints can contribute to mis-allocation of workers and skills over cities, leading to both distributional and efficiency impacts. Yet empirical evidence identifying the link between the political process and local opposition to development is scarce. In this paper we test whether the spatial distribution of new residential development responds to the distribution of spatial political support. Using data for England, we show that areas with strong support for the party in control of the local planning authority show lower rates of housing construction. Results are largely driven by areas with high homeownership rates and planning authorities which have historically restricted changes in housing supply. We propose two mechanisms connecting local electoral support with new residential development.


Making some serious green? Firm performance in the low-carbon economy (with Helena Schweiger)

We study the relation between ecological and financial performance of large publicly listed firms. Using a novel dataset on firm greenness we estimate the correlation between the share of firm revenues that are generated in green sectors and financial performance. We find that producers of green products and services are underperforming in terms of profitability compared to non-green firms, even within the same sectors.


Reports

Green Growth, EBRD Transition Report 2017-18, Chapter 4 (with Helena Schweiger), see here.

Sustainable development – and with it, green growth – is now at the centre of the global policy agenda. The EBRD region has witnessed a substantial reduction in aggregate greenhouse gas emissions since the 1990s, but the region’s emissions remain substantially higher than those observed in emerging markets with similar characteristics. Stronger policies are needed in order to meet the commitments made under the Paris Agreement, starting with the elimination of energy subsidies. Environmental protection and economic growth can go hand in hand and reinforce each other, but firms in the EBRD region are lagging behind in terms of both environmentally friendly production and trade in environmentally friendly goods and services, with cheap electricity and fuel fostering relatively energy-intensive production structures. Despite this, several countries are well positioned to realise their innovative potential in the area of green growth.