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Unraveling in a Repeated Moral Hazard Model With Multiple Agents

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This paper studies an infinite-horizon repeated moral hazard problem where a single principal employs several agents. We assume that the principal cannot observe the agents' effort choices; however, agents can observe each other and can be contractually required to make

This paper studies an infinite-horizon repeated moral hazard problem where a single principal employs several agents. We assume that the principal cannot observe the agents' effort choices; however, agents can observe each other and can be contractually required to make observation reports to the principal. Observation reports, if truthful, can serve as a monitoring instrument to discipline the agents. However, reports are cheap talk so that it is also possible for agents to collude, i.e., where they shirk, earn rents, and report otherwise to the principal. The main result of the paper constructs a class of collusion-proof contracts with two properties. First, equilibrium payoffs to both the principal and the agents approach their first-best benchmarks as the discount factor tends to unity. These payoff bounds apply to all subgame perfect equilibria in the game induced by the contract. Second, while equilibria themselves depend on the discount factor, the contract that induces these equilibria is independent of the discount factor.

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Date Created
2015-01-01

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Stimulating Contributions to Public Goods Through Information Feedback: Some Experimental Results

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In traditional public good experiments participants receive an endowment from the experimenter that can be invested in a public good or kept in a private account. In this paper we present an experimental environment where participants can invest time during

In traditional public good experiments participants receive an endowment from the experimenter that can be invested in a public good or kept in a private account. In this paper we present an experimental environment where participants can invest time during five days to contribute to a public good. Participants can make contributions to a linear public good by logging into a web application and performing virtual actions. We compared four treatments, with different group sizes and information of (relative) performance of other groups. We find that information feedback about performance of other groups has a small positive effect if we control for various attributes of the groups. Moreover, we find a significant effect of the contributions of others in the group in the previous day on the number of points earned in the current day. Our results confirm that people participate more when participants in their group participate more, and are influenced by information about the relative performance of other groups.

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Date Created
2016-07-26

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Navigating a Murky Adaptive Comanagement Governance Network: Agua Fria Watershed, Arizona, USA

Description

Adaptive comanagement endeavors to increase knowledge and responsiveness in the face of uncertainty and complexity. However, when collaboration between agency and nonagency stakeholders is mandated, rigid institutions may hinder participation and ecological outcomes. In this case study we analyzed qualitative

Adaptive comanagement endeavors to increase knowledge and responsiveness in the face of uncertainty and complexity. However, when collaboration between agency and nonagency stakeholders is mandated, rigid institutions may hinder participation and ecological outcomes. In this case study we analyzed qualitative data to understand how participants perceive strengths and challenges within an emerging adaptive comanagement in the Agua Fria Watershed in Arizona, USA that utilizes insight and personnel from a long-enduring comanagement project, Las Cienegas. Our work demonstrates that general lessons and approaches from one project may be transferable, but particular institutions, management structures, or projects must be place-specific. As public agencies establish and expand governance networks throughout the western United States, our case study has shed light on how to maintain a shared vision and momentum within an inherently murky and shared decision-making environment.

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Date Created
2013

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Modeling the Distributed Effects of Forest Thinning on the Long-Term Water Balance and Streamflow Extremes for a Semi-Arid Basin in the Southwestern U.S.

Description

To achieve water resource sustainability in the water-limited southwestern US, it is critical to understand the potential effects of proposed forest thinning on the hydrology of semi-arid basins, where disturbances to headwater catchments can cause significant changes in the local

To achieve water resource sustainability in the water-limited southwestern US, it is critical to understand the potential effects of proposed forest thinning on the hydrology of semi-arid basins, where disturbances to headwater catchments can cause significant changes in the local water balance components and basinwise streamflows. In Arizona, the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) is being developed with the goal of restoring 2.4 million acres of ponderosa pine along the Mogollon Rim. Using the physically based, spatially distributed triangulated irregular network (TIN)-based Real-time Integrated Basin Simulator (tRIBS) model, we examine the potential impacts of the 4FRI on the hydrology of Tonto Creek, a basin in the Verde–Tonto–Salt (VTS) system, which provides much of the water supply for the Phoenix metropolitan area. Long-term (20-year) simulations indicate that forest removal can trigger significant shifts in the spatiotemporal patterns of various hydrological components, causing increases in net radiation, surface temperature, wind speed, soil evaporation, groundwater recharge and runoff, at the expense of reductions in interception and shading, transpiration, vadose zone moisture and snow water equivalent, with south-facing slopes being more susceptible to enhanced atmospheric losses. The net effect will likely be increases in mean and maximum streamflow, particularly during El Niño events and the winter months, and chiefly for those scenarios in which soil hydraulic conductivity has been significantly reduced due to thinning operations. In this particular climate, forest thinning can lead to net loss of surface water storage by vegetation and snowpack, increasing the vulnerability of ecosystems and populations to larger and more frequent hydrologic extreme conditions on these semi-arid systems.

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Created

Date Created
2016-03-29

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Linking Classroom Learning and Research to Advance Ideas About Social-Ecological Resilience

Description

There is an increasing demand in higher education institutions for training in complex environmental problems. Such training requires a careful mix of conventional methods and innovative solutions, a task not always easy to accomplish. In this paper we review literature

There is an increasing demand in higher education institutions for training in complex environmental problems. Such training requires a careful mix of conventional methods and innovative solutions, a task not always easy to accomplish. In this paper we review literature on this theme, highlight relevant advances in the pedagogical literature, and report on some examples resulting from our recent efforts to teach complex environmental issues. The examples range from full credit courses in sustainable development and research methods to project-based and in-class activity units. A consensus from the literature is that lectures are not sufficient to fully engage students in these issues. A conclusion from the review of examples is that problem-based and project-based, e.g., through case studies, experiential learning opportunities, or real-world applications, learning offers much promise. This could greatly be facilitated by online hubs through which teachers, students, and other members of the practitioner and academic community share experiences in teaching and research, the way that we have done here.

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Created

Date Created
2015

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Knowledge and Passive Adaptation to Climate Change: An Example From Indian Farmers

Description

This study is an attempt to use group information collected on climate change from farmers in eastern Uttar Pradesh, India to address a key question related to climate change policy: How to encourage farmers to adapt to climate change? First,

This study is an attempt to use group information collected on climate change from farmers in eastern Uttar Pradesh, India to address a key question related to climate change policy: How to encourage farmers to adapt to climate change? First, we investigate farmers’ perception of and adaptation to climate change using content analysis and group information. The findings are then compared with climatic and agriculture information collected through secondary sources. Results suggest that though farmers are aware of long-term changes in climatic factors (temperature and rainfall, for example), they are unable to identify these changes as climate change. Farmers are also aware of risks generated by climate variability and extreme climatic events. However, farmers are not taking concrete steps in dealing with perceived climatic changes, although we find out that farmers are changing their agricultural and farming practices. These included changing sowing and harvesting timing, cultivation of crops of short duration varieties, inter-cropping, changing cropping pattern, investment in irrigation, and agroforestry. Note that these changes may be considered as passive response or adaptation strategies to climate change. Perhaps farmers are implicitly taking initiatives to adapt climate change. Finally, the paper suggests some policy interventions to scale up adaptation to climate change in Indian agriculture.

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Created

Date Created
2016-11-24

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Interplay of Multiple Goods, Ecosystem Services, and Property Rights in Large Social-Ecological Marine Protected Areas

Description

Protected areas are a cornerstone of biodiversity conservation, and increasingly, conservation science is integrating ecological and social considerations in park management. Indeed, both social and ecological factors need to be considered to understand processes that lead to changes in environmental

Protected areas are a cornerstone of biodiversity conservation, and increasingly, conservation science is integrating ecological and social considerations in park management. Indeed, both social and ecological factors need to be considered to understand processes that lead to changes in environmental conditions. Here, we use a social-ecological systems lens to examine changes in governance through time in an extensive regional protected area network, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. We studied the peer-reviewed and nonpeer-reviewed literature to develop an understanding of governance of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and its management changes through time. In particular, we examined how interacting and changing property rights, as designated by the evolving marine protected area network and other institutional changes (e.g., fisheries management), defined multiple goods and ecosystem services and altered who could benefit from them.

The rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in 2004 substantially altered the types and distribution of property rights and associated benefits from ecosystem goods and services. Initially, common-pool resources were enjoyed as common and private benefits at the expense of public goods (overexploited fisheries and reduced biodiversity and ecosystem health). The rezoning redefined the available goods and benefits and who could benefit, prioritizing public goods and benefits (i.e., biodiversity conservation), and inducing private costs (through reduced fishing). We also found that the original conceptualization of the step-wise progression of property rights from user to owner oversimplifies property rights based on its division into operational and collective-choice rule-making levels. Instead, we suggest that a diversity of available management tools implemented simultaneously can result in interactions that are seldom fully captured by the original conceptualization of the bundling of property rights. Understanding the complexities associated with overlapping property rights and multiple goods and ecosystem services, particularly within large-scale systems, can help elucidate the source and nature of some of the governance challenges that large protected areas are facing.

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Created

Date Created
2015

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Institutions and Government Efficiency: Decentralized Irrigation Management in China

Description

In order to improve the efficiency of government spending, it is necessary for the decentralized irrigation management to gain support from local institutions. Efficient institutions take on several distinct configurations in different irrigation districts. In this research, we upgrade Tang’s

In order to improve the efficiency of government spending, it is necessary for the decentralized irrigation management to gain support from local institutions. Efficient institutions take on several distinct configurations in different irrigation districts. In this research, we upgrade Tang’s (1992) framework focusing on incentives, to a framework that includes institutional incentives and coordination. Within the framework, we then classify 5 institutional variables: water pricing reform (P), government funding (F), coordination by administration (C), having formal monitors (M) and self-organized management (S). This article processes the data obtained through a field survey (2009–2011) in 20 of China’s southern counties, where they implement the “Small-scale Irrigation and Water Conservancy Key Counties Construction (Key Counties Construction)”, a national project supported by the central government. Next, it applies Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to measure the efficiency of government spending and uses Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) to extract efficient institutional configurations. It concludes that there are generally three types of institutional configurations able to improve the efficiency of government spending, which are respectively: “government funding combined with coordination by administration”, “water pricing reform combined with self-organized management and coordination by administration or water pricing reform combined with self-organized management and government funding and formal monitors” and “self-organized management”. Among these, the second configuration is a mixed governance structure with multiple institutions coexisting, and this configuration occurs in the most efficient key counties. For that reason, it is viewed as the mainstream irrigation management approach, and we expect it to be the development trend in the future. Although Chinese irrigation policies are formalizing effective local institutions, they are still not sufficient. Future policies are needed to 1) promote institutions of government support for water laws in order to build stable expectations for both water user associations (WUAs) and farmers, 2) guide water pricing reform by ensuring farmers’ water rights and regulating water markets, and 3) provide opportunities for hiring professional monitors and crafting formal rules.

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Created

Date Created
2016-02-01

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Trees Grow on Money: Urban Tree Canopy Cover and Environmental Justice

Description

This study examines the distributional equity of urban tree canopy (UTC) cover for Baltimore, MD, Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Raleigh, NC, Sacramento, CA, and Washington, D.C. using high spatial resolution land cover data and census data.

This study examines the distributional equity of urban tree canopy (UTC) cover for Baltimore, MD, Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Raleigh, NC, Sacramento, CA, and Washington, D.C. using high spatial resolution land cover data and census data. Data are analyzed at the Census Block Group levels using Spearman’s correlation, ordinary least squares regression (OLS), and a spatial autoregressive model (SAR). Across all cities there is a strong positive correlation between UTC cover and median household income. Negative correlations between race and UTC cover exist in bivariate models for some cities, but they are generally not observed using multivariate regressions that include additional variables on income, education, and housing age. SAR models result in higher r-square values compared to the OLS models across all cities, suggesting that spatial autocorrelation is an important feature of our data. Similarities among cities can be found based on shared characteristics of climate, race/ethnicity, and size. Our findings suggest that a suite of variables, including income, contribute to the distribution of UTC cover. These findings can help target simultaneous strategies for UTC goals and environmental justice concerns.

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Created

Date Created
2015-04-01

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Contextualizing Dirty Work: The Neglected Role of Cultural, Historical, and Demographic Context

Description

Although perceptions of physically, socially, and morally stigmatized occupations – ‘dirty work’ – are socially constructed, very little attention has been paid to how the context shapes those constructions. We explore the impact of historical trends (when), macro and micro

Although perceptions of physically, socially, and morally stigmatized occupations – ‘dirty work’ – are socially constructed, very little attention has been paid to how the context shapes those constructions. We explore the impact of historical trends (when), macro and micro cultures (where), and demographic characteristics (who) on the social construction of dirty work. Historically, the rise of hygiene, along with economic and technological development, resulted in greater societal distancing from dirty work, while the rise of liberalism has resulted in greater social acceptance of some morally stigmatized occupations. Culturally, masculinity tends to be preferred over femininity as an ideological discourse for dirty work, unless the occupation is female-dominated; members of collectivist cultures are generally better able than members of individualist cultures to combat the collective-level threat that stigma inherently represents; and members of high power-distance cultures tend to view dirty work more negatively than members of low power-distance cultures. Demographically, marginalized work tends to devolve to marginalized socioeconomic, gender, and racioethnic categories, creating a pernicious and entrapping recursive loop between ‘dirty work’ and being labeled as ‘dirty people.’

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Created

Date Created
2014-07-01