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The Vicki Norberg-Bohm Fellowship, made by the Science Technology and Public Policy Program and the Environment and Natural Resources Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, supports Kennedy School of Government PhD candidates conducting early exploratory research on energy or environmental issues. The fellowship is designed to enable doctoral students to expose themselves to a wide range of researchers and research approaches early in their training before they make their ultimate choice of a dissertation topic. The $7,000 award can be used for a variety of activities such as conducting field work, providing support for an internship, or learning a foreign language in a host country. The award is a tribute to the late Dr. Vicki Norberg-Bohm whose work focused on understanding the process of technological change and the role of public policy for stimulating innovation and diffusion of environment-enhancing technologies. For more information on the fellowship, click here. Information on fellowship recipients and their research follows below.
Shefali Khanna: Can the private provision of decentralized renewable energy services complement grid-based rural electrification in India?
Kevin Rowe: The effects of urban air pollution on rural areas in India
Megan Bailey: What Drives decision making of firms in the European Union emissions trading system?
A. Patrick Behrer: Endogenous production and The Commons: Can privatization benefit labor?
Abraham Holland: Technology, transaction security, and entrepreneurship
Jennifer Kao: The impact of intellectual property institutions on clean energy innovation outcomes: A comparative analysis of China, the United Kingdom, and the United States
Daniel Velez Lopez: Air pollution in Mexico City: Is there a willingness to pay?
Todd Gerarden: An assessment of energy efficiency information provision: Impacts of city benchmarking mandates
Jonathan Baker: The development and persistence of water allocation institutions and their relationship to economic instruments for sustainable water use in the arid Southwest
Asanga Nilesh Fernando: Can mobile phone-based agricultural extension promote the diffusion of more effective pest management practices and reduce pesticide poisoning among women?
Samuel Stolper: Information and welfare: Spain’s retail gasoline markets
Elizabeth Walker: Development Tradeoffs: Investigating the Environmental Externalities of Industrial Development in South Africa
Erin Frey: Sustainable psychology: The cognitive determinants of environmental decisions, policies and behaviors
Alicia Harley: Innovation and technology transfer in agriculture and food systems for sustainable development and improved livelihoods
Richard Sweeney: Toxic trade-off? Investigating the effect of the Clean Air Act on water quality; Estimating returns to R&D in the solar PV industry
Gabe Chan: The U.S. Energy Technology Innovation System: A Cross-Sectoral Investigation of the Interface between Technologists, Policymakers and Financiers
Tara Grillos: Beneficiary Participation in Water Supply and Watershed Management Projects
Mahnaz Islam: Soil Testing to Promote Energy Efficient Use of Fertilizers in Bangladesh
Maria Cecilia Acevedo: Technology Adoption in The Midst of a Civil Conflict: The Case of Coca Farming in Colombia
Eliana Carranza: Soil Composition, Market Opportunities and Missing Women in India
Avinash Kishore: Energy-Irrigation Nexus in India
Laurence Tai: Bureaucratic Determinants of Environmental Policy Outcomes in Industrialized Democracies
Sebastian Bauhoff: Environmental regulation as health policy
Robyn Meeks: Investigations into integrated water resource management and development
Suerie Moon: Access to knowledge, medicines and development
Kelsey Jack: Investigating payments for ecosystem services as an example of an incentive-based environmental policy approach
Kira Matus: Exploring green chemistry as a leapfrogging innovation for sustainable development
This project aims to study the political economy of electricity provision in India with a focus on the role of private enterprises in spurring energy access and improving reliability by offering decentralized energy services for rural electrification. In doing so, it will explore regulatory approaches that promote grid-compatible distributed generation while reducing the burden of investment on public utilities, many of which are steeped in debt due to politically-driven tariff subsidies that inhibit cost recovery. Prudent regulatory governance and a sustainable electric power industry ultimately rests on consumers’ ability and willingness to pay. Focusing on underserved households located in areas where grid connectivity is either sparse or last mile connections chronically suffer from load shortages, this analysis aims to study the drivers of demand for electricity from solar home systems and micro-grids relative to diesel generators, kerosene and a grid connection where potentially feasible. Using longitudinal data, this study also attempts to understand how consumers’ aspirations evolve once a power connection is provided and how electricity is utilized for household and livelihood activities.
Shefali is a Vicki Norberg-Bohm Fellow and doctoral student in the Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Her interests lie at the intersection of environmental policy and energy sector development in developing countries, specifically on the impact of regulatory incentives for renewable energy, energy conservation, and energy efficiency. She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a B.A. in Economics and worked at Resources for the Future, where her research focused on residential energy efficiency and vehicle fuel economy standards in the U.S. She assisted the World Bank in updating its protocol for estimating global health damages from ambient air pollution.
A growing literature in economics and public health suggests that the health burden from air pollution in rapidly growing poor and middle income countries may be as great or greater than that ever faced by wealthy countries during industrialization. The literature is much less clear, however, on the distribution of these damages across the population. This project focuses on the effects of urban pollution on nearby rural populations in India. Rural residents near cities often bear much of the same burden from urban air pollution as urban residents while receiving little of the economic benefit from urban industrial activity. Because they tend to work outdoors and have poorer health and access to health care, rural populations may be more vulnerable to the adverse health and economic effects of poor air quality than most urban residents. Estimates will be made of the effects of medium- and long-term exposure to fine particulate air pollution on the health, economic productivity, and agricultural output of rural areas near large cities in India. The project will use satellite-derived air pollution and meteorological data and district-level administrative data on health, economic, and agricultural outcomes in a regional-scale analysis around about 200 large cities.
Kevin Rowe is a Vicki Norberg-Bohm Fellow, doctoral student in the Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a Pre-Doctoral Fellow of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program. Kevin is interested in environmental and energy regulation, particularly in developing countries. Prior to beginning his Ph.D. studies, Kevin was a Research Fellow at Evidence for Policy Design at Harvard, where he worked on several randomized field evaluations of reforms to air and water pollution control policies in India. Kevin has a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Hamilton College. Before graduate school Kevin was a Thomas J. Watson Fellow and worked at the World Resources Institute.
Cap-and-trade systems have become a popular climate change policy instrument to induce reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. How well have they been working, and what is their potential for working on an international scale? The European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), the only international cap-and-trade system, can provide insights into these questions. In particular, there has been concern that the price of carbon in the EU ETS has been too low to inspire participating firms to innovatively transition toward operations that are less emissions-intensive in the long term. While previous studies have identified factors that may be driving the EU ETS carbon price in the short term, there is currently not a comprehensive model for the decision making of participating firms. Firms face many types of uncertainty when deciding whether to invest in emissions allowances, such as the future cap that the EU will set. Additionally, many firms are in capital-intensive industries, such as energy production and manufacturing. These industries require firms to make long-term capital investment decisions that can lock in the degree to which the industries are emissions-intensive. Thus models of firm decision making should include uncertainty and this long-term horizon. This study will merge prior qualitative and quantitative research by using interviews with EU ETS firms to construct a comprehensive decision model and subsequent explanation of the carbon price behavior. The outcome will be able to inform policy makers on how firms in an international cap-and-trade system respond to the system and what aspects of the system are important for incentivizing long-term investment in less carbon-intensive operations.
Megan Bailey is a Vicki Norberg-Bohm Fellow, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, and a doctoral student in the Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She is interested in environmental economics, particularly climate change policy and sustainability. She holds a B.S. in biology, B.A. in art, and M.S. in international relations from California State University, Fresno.
The work explores whether privatization of a previously open access resource will result in improvement in the income of low-skilled labor. I will conduct an initial laboratory experiment to test the hypothesis that open access resources induce production inefficiencies that are separate from more commonly discussed inefficiencies, and then collect empirical data to econometrically estimate the impact on labor of privatization utilizing a natural experiment in Zimbabwe. The first stage of the research will take place in at Colorado State University where I will conduct a laboratory experiment to determine if cooperation in reaching an investment threshold will generate cooperation in subsequent appropriation of the resource. The aim is to examine whether cooperating to meet an investment could create the conditions that lead to cooperation in appropriation using a modified public-good game played by undergraduates. Follow-up research will be conducted in rural communities in Zimbabwe surrounding a private nature reserve where the land was divided between private and common-pool based on the location of a railway whose right of way is unrelated to the ecological conditions of the land. As a result, this location offers the opportunity to study how privatization impacted labor wages, compared to wages earned on a resource managed in common, without concerns about whether the quality of land privatized was different from that managed in common.
A. Patrick Behrer is a Vicki Norberg-Bohm Fellow and a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Patrick is a recipient of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowship and the Harvard Environmental Economics (HEEP) Fellowship. His interest is in environmental and resource economics and his research focuses on the interaction between conservation policy and economic development. His research studies involve how the development of payments for ecosystem services programs can be used to benefit both conservation projects and surrounding communities, particularly in the developing world. Prior to coming to Harvard Patrick completed a masters’ degree in resource economics at Colorado State University and served as a research assistant in the Water and Energy for the Environment Lab (WE3) at Carnegie Mellon University examining water usage in hydraulic fracturing in the United States. Patrick spent a year in New Zealand on a Fulbright Fellowship focusing on the intersection of water, clean energy development, and economic growth. He is a graduate of Harvard College (2009).
Across the developing world, rapid urbanization has put an incredible strain on many national and local governments. In some countries, the state’s public safety provision in urban areas is, at best, uneven. Further, cash is also the lingua franca of economic activity, and while economists traditionally view cash-on-hand as being desirable, it is also easy to steal. In this type of environment, those most vulnerable may avoid or even pay to not hold cash. Just like a tax, a poor security environment may lead to inefficiently low economic activity. In the near term, a technological solution like mobile money is probably the only scalable method for providing individual citizens with a way to engage in more secure economic activity. Abraham wants to study this phenomenon, and its potential solution, using a combination of primary and administrative data drawn from a mobile money provider in Lusaka, Zambia.
Abraham Holland is a Vicki Norberg-Bohm Fellow and a doctoral student in the Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He is interested in development economics, public economics, and applied econometrics. In particular, he is interested in how financial access, entrepreneurship, and technology could be leveraged in addressing the challenges of rapid urbanization in the developing world. Before coming to Harvard, Abraham worked with the Center for Microfinance in Chennai, India on a range of financial inclusion impact evaluations. He also worked with Bridgewater Associates, a hedge fund in Connecticut, and is a veteran of the United States Air Force. Abraham received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in economics and Chinese literature.
Drawing from the unique experiences of clean energy firms in China, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Jennifer will investigate how intellectual property institutions (i.e., the enforcement, use, and regulation of intellectual property) connect national objectives to the production and commercialization of environmental innovations. Intellectual property institutions are important for clean energy firms where diverse complementary technologies and industries abound and innovations are often cumulative. Here, producing innovative, environmentally beneficial goods inevitably leads to limited appropriability. Through participating in a summer internship and conducting a series of interviews with key actors in the public, private, and non-profit sector, Jennifer will examine how formal and informal intellectual property protection mechanisms influence the rate, direction, and type of innovation among different types of clean technology in the different countries. The results of this project will provide insight into the role and relevance of intellectual property institutions for supporting technological and environmental innovation that reflect national objectives.
Jennifer Kao is a Vicki Norberg-Bohm Fellow and a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Her interests lie in environmental and public economics, with a focus on innovation policies and transparency initiatives. She is interested in understanding how innovation incentives and disclosure policies impact actions and expectations, as well as how the effects of such policies are shaped by the prevailing political, legal, and regulatory environment. Jennifer graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2010 with a B.S. in Business Administration, and from the London School of Economics in 2012 with an MSc in Economics.
Exposure to high levels of pollution can have serious health consequences for individuals. In Mexico City, air pollution can reach dangerous levels, leading to detrimental effects on human health. Many countries have instituted programs to reduce pollution, but certain activities (e.g. weather, industrial trends, etc.) may make it hard to reduce pollution levels on each and every day. As such, many countries provide individuals with information on pollution levels in their area, so that they can engage in activities to minimize their exposure, such as working at home, keeping kids indoor rather than outdoors, wearing a mask, etc. While information on air pollution for Mexico City is technically public, it is still unclear whether people are aware of this information and if they alter their behavior accordingly. This project will try to measure individuals’ willingness to pay for air pollution information in their vicinity and determine the best method for presenting this information so that individuals can most easily use it to make health decisions through a field experiment where air pollution information available is made available to individuals through their cell phones.
Daniel Velez Lopez is a Vicki Norberg-Bohm Fellow and a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He is interested in environmental and natural resource economics, public finance, and development economics. In particular, he is interested in how taxes and subsidies in developing countries can have perverse effects on the environment, how social policy and environmental policy interact in the developing country setting, and individuals’ perceptions and responses to environmental risks. Before coming to Harvard, Daniel studied economics and mathematics at the University of Maryland - College Park and worked at Resources for the Future.
Water scarcity is a growing concern across the country and world. Though market mechanisms such as trading between agriculture and cities and higher water prices are theoretically appealing, there often seems to be resistance to such market options. Since economic instruments operate within a larger institutional structure, Jonathan is interested in exploring the development and persistence of water allocation institutions in water scarce regions, and how these institutions both constrain and can be shaped by economic instruments for more sustainable water use. Taking southern Nevada as an initial case study, he will explore: the origins of the current water institution; what accounts for the resistance to market solutions; and if it is possible to change water allocation institutions to those that foster more economically efficient methods for allocating water.
Jonathan Baker is a Vicki Norberg-Bohm Fellow and a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He is interested in water allocation policy, specifically the interaction between institutions and economic (market) mechanisms governing water allocation. Jonathan received his B.S. in Physics from Davidson College (2006). He then went on to earn an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University (2008) where he studied fluid power pumps and motors, and a S.M. in Technology and Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2011), where he studied the impacts of renewable fuels portfolios on water use and water resources within the context of a global computable general equilibrium model. His faculty advisor for this project is John Briscoe.
Buildings account for roughly 40 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. Improving energy efficiency has the potential to save money, reduce pollution, and lead to tangible human health benefits. To motivate investment in efficiency, several U.S. cities have adopted benchmarking policies that require building owners to report energy use. This research will harness new data generated by these programs to study empirically the impacts of benchmarking policies. These impacts are likely to be direct, as new public information may alter rents and sale prices, and indirect, as owners respond to these market adjustments and invest in efficiency improvements. Research findings will enable policy makers to assess the effectiveness of benchmarking initiatives and respond more effectively to challenges posed by inefficient energy use.
Todd Gerarden is a Vicki Norberg-Bohm Fellow and a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. His interests lie in environmental economics, energy economics, and technology adoption. His previous research includes study of federal regulation of the offshore oil industry, energy efficiency finance and valuation in the residential sector, and employment impacts of investment in alternative energy technologies. Todd graduated from the University of Virginia in 2010 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and was selected as a Truman Scholar. Before beginning doctoral studies, he worked at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Resources for the Future. His faculty advisory for this project is Robert Stavins.
A major preoccupation in cotton cultivation is pest management. Literally hundreds of pests afflict cotton cultivation, which alone accounts for 54% of all pesticide usage in India (2007). Furthermore, while transgenic varieties of cotton promised a reduced need for pesticides by granting immunity to certain pests, this resistance now appears to be on the wane. In this climate of uncertainty and without recourse to effective agricultural extension, Indian farmers have typically relied on agricultural input dealers for advice on pest management, who often have poor incentives to prescribe sustainable use. This research aims to empirically assess the effectiveness of using mobile phone-based agricultural extension in promoting the adoption of sustainable pest management practices and their diffusion through social networks. Additionally, this project proposes to quantify the health externalities of pesticide use on women, furthering our understanding of the role of gender in agricultural production in India. The findings of this research will inform our understanding of the role of externalities in influencing technology adoption and the overall welfare effects of chemically intensive production practices.
A. Nilesh Fernando is a Vicki Norberg-Bohm Fellow and a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He is interested in development economics, labor economics and applied econometrics. His research focuses on understanding the role of private and social learning in the adoption of new agricultural technologies and is currently a member of a research team investigating the impact of cellphone-based agricultural extension in rural Gujarat, India. Nilesh graduated from Hampshire College with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Economics (2007). He worked as a Research Associate at the Harvard Business School and at the Centre for Micro Finance in Ahmedabad, India. At both these institutions he worked on randomized evaluations of interventions seeking to mitigate weather and price shocks faced by Indian farmers. His faculty advisor is Shawn Cole.
The government of Spain recently implemented an ambitious policy designed to address public concerns about fuel prices by minimizing the cost of searching for retail gasoline price information. The policy, which took effect in 2005, requires retail gas stations to post daily prices to a government webpage known as Geoportal. Consumers can use Geoportal to display and map all gas prices in a given area, get updates about local prices on their cellular phones, and plan routes to desirable gas stations. Armed with this functionality, Geoportal has become the most frequently-visited webpage of the Spanish government. But what has been its impact on producer behavior and consumer welfare? From a policy perspective, it is well worth finding out whether this system of information provision is valuable, especially since it is eminently applicable in other countries’ energy markets. From an economics perspective, the policy shock, combined with rich government-collected data, yields a fruitful setting in which to study both the producer’s pricing decision and the consumer’s wellbeing in oligopolistic energy markets.
Samuel Stolper is a Vicki Norberg-Bohm Fellow, a Giorgio Ruffolo Doctoral Research Fellow in the Sustainability Science Program, and a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. His research focuses on measuring the costs, benefits, and welfare impacts of environmental problems and policies. He graduated from Brown University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and did research in nanotechnology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (2006-2007). After switching to social science, Sam worked as a research assistant for Prof. Rema Hanna at the Harvard’s Center for International Development helping to run a randomized evaluation of clean cooking stoves in Orissa, India and to analyze the impacts of major environmental policies in Indian cities (2008-2010). His faculty advisor is Rohini Pande.
This project uses quasi-experimental econometric methods to estimate the effect of industrial development on water quality in South Africa. This research is motivated by the fact that industrial development, which aims to improve lives, can have serious and often underappreciated consequences on the environment and human health. Yet, efforts to measure this effect are limited by lack of data and confounding factors. This research attempts to combine several data sets, including thirty years of water quality data from the Department of Water Affairs in South Africa, to estimate the average magnitude of the effect of industrial plant construction and operations on surrounding water quality. If results indicate a measurable effect on water quality, the analysis will be extended to estimate health effects using household and community level data also obtained from the government. As part of this research, Liz is developing maps of water quality monitoring stations, plant locations, rivers, soil types, and other environmental and social variables to explore spatial dynamics.
Elizabeth Walker is a Vicki Norberg-Bohm Fellow and a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Her interests include environmental economics and contract theory, with two research projects focusing on estimating the externalities of industrial development and designing incentives for environmental contracts, respectively. Liz received a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from MIT in 2006. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies at Harvard, Liz spent two years as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company in Washington, DC. She also spent a year working for TechnoServe in Mozambique, where she contributed to agriculture-based economic development projects. Her faculty advisor is Rema Hanna.
Recent advances in psychology and neurosciences indicate that human judgment, decision-making, and behaviors are the products of interactions between at least two cognitive subsystems: an automatic system and a deliberate system. However, this general understanding of decision processes does little to explain how people make environmental decisions and how people choose to engage in (or not engage in) sustainable behaviors. Of vital importance to sustainability is the question of whether the dominance of one cognitive system leads to more sustainable decisions, behaviors, and outcomes. If so, can decision situations be restructured in a way that takes advantage of these mental systems? These questions are investigated through laboratory and field experiments of environmental decision-making behavior. Decision and judgment processes are studied in simulated and real participatory environmental management settings in order to identify and understand the conditions that prompt sustainable decision-making for each cognitive subsystem.
Erin Frey is a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Erin’s research interests lie at the intersection of environmental policy, political psychology, and behavioral economics. She is particularly interested in using field and laboratory experiments to understand the socio-psychological factors that influence individual and group environmental behaviors, particularly in the developing world. She studies decision processes in simulated and natural participatory environmental management settings so as to understand the role that various cognitive subsystems play in sustainable decision-making. She graduated from Harvard College in 2008 with a B.A. in Environmental Science and Public Policy and a secondary degree in Economics. She has worked as an environmental consultant in Cambridge and as a research assistant at the Challenge Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Harley’s research explores global food systems, food security and agriculture development and focuses specifically on institutional and economic dynamics of innovation and technology transfer in food and agriculture systems to increase productivity and livelihoods. The global food crises of 2007-2008 put food security and agriculture development back on the forefront of policy agendas for countries, international organizations and the private sector. As these various actors scale up their investments, it is an opportune time to better understand the processes of innovation and technology transfer in agriculture and food systems, especially given renewed concern for sustainable development and adaptation to climate change and poverty reduction.
Alicia Harley is a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at Harvard’sKennedy School of Government. She is interested in the nexus of water, agriculture and food security, innovation and technology transfer, and the role of institutions and global governance in public goods provision. Alicia received her BA, magna cum laude, in Environmental Science and Public Policy and a citation in Arabic from Harvard College in 2008. She worked as a greenhouse gas reduction program coordinator for Harvard’s Office for Sustainability after graduation. Following that, she spent a year in Cairo on a Fulbright scholarship researching the political economy of agriculture and food security in Egypt before returning to graduate school.
The Clean Air Act (CAA) and subsequent amendments have been tremendously successful at improving ambient air quality in the United States. However, recent anecdotal evidence suggests that these improvements might have come at the cost of increased water pollution. This is because many air pollution control technologies employed by firms generate large amounts of waste water. This project will empirically estimate the impact of the CAA on water quality in America. Depending on the magnitude of the effect uncovered, estimates will be made related to health and property value impacts. The second project investigates the effectiveness of policy on innovation in the solar photovoltaic industry. Cost and efficiency projections for renewable energy are essential for estimating the costs of policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately there is little empirical evidence on the determinants and efficacy of renewable energy R&D. The project will assemble a novel data set on firm R&D and manufacturing efficiency worldwide, and then structurally estimate a model of solar PV innovation. These estimates will be used to simulate counterfactuals and compare projected innovation across policy alternatives.
Richard Sweeney is a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at Harvard’sKennedy School of Government. His research interests include environmental economics and industrial organization, with a particular focus on the determinants of innovation and energy markets. He received a B.S in Economics and Political Science from Boston College in 2004. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Rich was a Fulbright Scholar in the Czech Republic, and a research assistant at Resources for the Future.
Gabe Chan will explore the rapidly evolving energy technology innovation field in multiple settings where policy for innovation affects innovation outputs and outcomes. He will spend time conducting interviews and collecting data in U.S. national laboratories, government agencies, technology investment funds, private firms engaged in R&D, and universities. Gabe plans to explore several research questions on the intersection between public policy and technology research development, demonstration, and deployment: What are the important dynamic relationships between actors/institutions in the energy innovation system (e.g. the pairing of innovative firms to venture capital)? How important is the geographical location of innovators/innovative firms for technology development? To what extent does long-term planning and long-term goal setting affect innovative outcomes? Why do research, development, or deployment (RD&D) projects fail? Are the challenges of energy innovation policy a matter of scale (i.e. existing policies are not pursued intensely enough or with not enough funding) or like (i.e. the wrong types of policies exist)?
Gabe Chan is a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. His research focuses on the economics and policy of technical change, particularly as it applies to energy technologies for climate change mitigation. Gabe is currently a research assistant in the Harvard Belfer Center’s Energy Technology Innovation Policy group. Prior to coming to Harvard, Gabe spent two summers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Climate Change Technology Policy Program, where he helped support an interagency effort to accelerate research, development, and deployment of climate change mitigating technologies. He received a BS in Political Science and a BS in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Science both from MIT in 2009. While at MIT, he was a research assistant in the Joint Program for the Science and Policy of Global Change. As part of that group, he worked to quantify the interactive effects of Canadian oil sands development and the cost of climate change policy.
This research will explore the relationship between varying levels and methods of community participation and the effectiveness of development projects, particularly those related to watershed management and water system construction and maintenance. Participatory processes have received considerable attention in recent years among development practitioners, both as a form of empowerment and as a method for improving project outcomes. While such processes may hold some inherent value, there is as yet no clear consensus as to how participation affects outcomes. As these processes also incur costs, there are trade-offs implicit in the concept of beneficiary participation, which may be particularly significant in projects aimed at the provision of basic needs. Even if we implicitly accept the value of beneficiary participation in water provision, there remain the questions of what forms of participation and under what circumstances are appropriate. Resolving these issues could have important implications for improving the efficiency and efficacy of community development practice.
Tara Grillos is a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Her research interests include local resource management in developing nations, accounting for ecosystem services lost due to deforestation, community development practices and environmental and development economics. Before beginning her doctoral studies, Tara spent over two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras, where she provided financial training to the members of community lending groups, led a participatory evaluation of a potable water project, wrote a business training manual for future volunteers, designed educational materials and taught world geography classes at an educational center for at-risk youth. As a member of the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business, Tara graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. from the Wharton School and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.
This project explores whether availability of soil testing technology helps farmers use fertilizers more efficiently. Fertilizers play a vital role in agriculture in improving productivity but they can be a large indirect consumer of energy on a farm. In Bangladesh, agriculture remains one of the most important sectors and is characterized by a large number of small farmers. Agricultural productivity has improved over the years partly because of increased use of high yielding varieties (HYVs) and fertilizers. Yields of HYVs in particular are sensitive to inputs such as chemical fertilizer, pesticides and water and both overuse and underuse of the inputs can reduce yields. Moreover, use of fertilizers above or below the optimal level can create imbalances in the soil, which harms the environment and can threaten the long-run sustainability of crop production in the farm. Soil testing may be a simple solution to reduce degradation of land and to improve productivity. The results of the soil test provide information on the nutrient content of the soil which can help farmers decide which crops to plant and how much fertilizer to use. This research will study if the availability of soil testing allows farmers to make better decisions and get the most benefit per unit of indirect energy input in the form of fertilizers. It will also investigate mechanisms that help farmers adopt this technology.
Mahnaz Islam is a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Her current research interests include development economics and labor economics, in particular technology adoption, role of social networks, impact of early childhood health and nutrition and intra-household resource allocation. She received her B.A. in Economics from Wellesley College in 2007. Before starting her Ph.D., she worked as a research assistant at Princeton University at the Center for Health and Wellbeing and the Research Program in Development Studies.
This project studies the association between technology adoption, security and policy, using the case of coca farming in Colombia. The research question explored is whether coca farmers are more likely to use more damaging technologies than non-coca farmers, and if this link can be explained by the existence of illegal markets created by guerrillas and paramilitaries to finance their activities. There is evidence showing that the presence of illicit crops is closely linked to the presence of armed activity, as much in the case of the guerrillas as in that of the paramilitary. On the one hand, the illegal crops are located in one of the most biodiverse regions of the world, in some unique biotic communities. On the other hand, environmental authorities have also shown that coca farmers use chemical products classified by the WHO as "Extremely hazardous", inflicting irreversible damage on their own health, their family’s health, and the environment. The policy recommendations that would arise from this research would contribute to invaluable improvements in farmers’ health and the conservation of one of the most biodiverse areas of the planet.
Maria Cecilia Acevedo is a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She holds a Masters in Public Administration in International Development from Harvard University, and a Master’s degree in Economics from Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia, where she was a professor prior to coming to Harvard. At Universidad de los Andes she was also Research Director of the Center for Strategy and Competitiveness, where she helped launched competitiveness initiatives at the national and regional levels. She is the recipient of the Vicki Norberg-Bohm Fellowship (2009). She has published a book on industrial development policy and academic articles on regional economic development. Her current research interests include development economics and political economy, particularly the links between human capital investment, intra-household and spatial allocation of economic activity and market failures that prevent industry development in low and middle income countries.
Eliana Carranza will study how geographic and environmental factors affect economic opportunities for women and influence families' preferences for sons over daughters. The study brings together elements of soil science, crop science and anthropology literature and contributes to the unresolved debate in the economic literature regarding the importance of geography as determinant of development. In order to explain regional variations in the severity of the missing women problem in India, it tests the central hypothesis that higher soil clay content is related to a more balanced gender ratio. However, the argument is not one of purely environmental determinism. It simply intends to highlight that the physical environment plays a very important role given the limited labor market opportunities for women. The results will have implications for land use planning, crop intensification and soil preservation as well as the advancement of women in the labor market and education system.
Eliana Carranza is a PhD candidate in the Program in Political Economy and Government, which is jointly supported by the Kennedy School of Government, the Economics Department, and the Government Department. She holds an MPA in International Development from Harvard University and a Licentiate degree in Economy from the Universidad del Pacífico in Peru, where she was a professor in the Department of Economics. She is an author of studies on social protection systems in Peru. Her research interests include political economy of development, particularly the links among inequality, social expenditure, investment in human capital, and social mobility. She is a recipient of the Norberg-Bohm Fellowship (2008) and the Giorgio Ruffolo Doctoral Fellow in Sustainability Science (2008). She, with Eduardo Moron, contributed a chapter analyzing pension reform in Peru in Lessons from Pension Reform in the Americas, (Sinha and Kay, eds, Oxford, 2007). Her faculty hosts at Harvard are Sendhil Mullainathan and Rohini Pande.
Avinash Kishore will study the energy-irrigation nexus in India. Since 1970s, runaway growth in groundwater irrigation, powered mainly by highly subsidized electricity and diesel, has created an agrarian boom with massive productivity and livelihood benefits in India. However, these benefits have come at huge environmental and financial costs. Consequences of continuing with 'business as usual' will be disastrous for farmers, environment, power sector and overall economy. Yet, few state governments have attempted to raise and rationalize power tariffs, fearing reprisal from 30 million groundwater irrigators. In recent years, two states-West Bengal and Gujarat-are taking bold steps to tackle the problem using two different technical strategies. The Government of West Bengal has committed to universal metering of all electricity connections with an option of time-of-day metering for farmers while the Government of Gujarat has made massive investments in creating parallel electricity distribution lines for farms to strictly enforce power supply rationing. This research will study these two interventions to understand how farmers' use of energy and water responds to change in tariff structures and supply conditions. Both states have vibrant water markets where each pump owner sells water to a number of small and marginal farmers. The second objective is to study the effect of these changes on the market structure and consequent welfare outcomes.
Avinash Kishore is a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Programat the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. His research focuses on using economic instruments to solve environmental problems in developing countries. He is the recipient of the Vicki Norberg-Bohm Fellowship (2008) and a Sustainability Science Fellowship (2008). Kishore received an MPA and Certificate in Science, Technology and Environment Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University in 2007. Before coming to the US, he worked for four years on water policy in South Asia with International Water Management Institute (IWMI), a CGIAR organization. At IWMI, he published papers on agrarian development, rural electrification and management transfer of public irrigation systems. He holds a Post-graduate Diploma in Rural Management (equivalent to MBA) from the Institute of Rural Management Anand in India.
Laurence Tai will focus on environmental regulation, the product of a complex political process with many stakeholders. Often this process has produced command-and-control regulation that provides environmental benefits but does so at a significantly higher economic cost than necessary. As the difficulty of improving environmental quality increases, so does the need for cost-effective legal rules. Market-based instruments are more cost-effective than existing command-and-control regulation; however, they have not become as common as they could be. The policymaking process is shaped not only by stakeholders' preferences but also by the institutional framework in which it operates. Bureaucracies in national governments are an integral part of this framework, so policy outcomes are influenced by their organizational structures and rules. Because changing these structures and rules may produce more cost-effective regulation, it is worth ascertaining the bureaucratic determinants of environmental policy outcomes. Tai will research these determinants in four industrialized democracies, which strive to address similar environmental challenges with a variety of bureaucratic structures: Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US. The fellowship will support data collection and interviews in these countries, as well as language training in Japan. Three features to be analyzed are bureaucrats' interactions with regulated industries, internal agency structure, and turnover among civil servants and political executives.
Laurence Tai is a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Programat the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and is jointly pursuing a JD at Harvard Law School. Since coming to the HKS, he has conducted research on expropriations and renegotiations following natural resource contracts between developing countries and multinational corporations. In addition to environmental and energy policy, his research interests include formal political theory and organizational economics. He received a BA in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College in 2006.
Sebastian Bauhoff will explore the intersection of environmental and health policies by examining air pollution regulations in different settings. Many countries are struggling to simultaneously meet the needs of environmental protection and population health. Sebastian plans to explore several questions on the intersection of these policy areas: How do policy makers perceive the link between environmental and industrial policies and health policy? Are there possible win-win strategies that contain emissions and improve health? Why is this link not featuring more prominently in policy and research discussions? Sebastian will examine air pollution policies and their implementation in the US, Europe and China. Sebastian plans to use the fellowship to discuss with policy makers and local experts in California, London and Beijing.
Sebastian Bauhoff is a doctoral student in the Health Policy Program, an interdisciplinary program at Harvard. His research interests include statistical methods, development economics and the intersection of health economics with environmental and finance policy. Sebastian spent two years in China researching rural development policies, with a focus on land and health care reforms. He received a Master of Public Administration in International Development from the Kennedy School of Government in 2005 and wrote his thesis on scaling up successful research projects in developing countries, using a school-based deworming program in Kenya as example. Sebastian received a B.Sc. in Economics and Economic History from the London School of Economics.
Robyn Meeks will explore the linkages between water resource management at the local, national and international levels in developing countries. Her research will involve examinations of both macro level approaches to water resource management, such as integrated water resources management (IWRM), and micro level approaches promoted through decentralization processes in the form of community managed water supply systems. Robyn will perform these investigations by meeting with practitioners, academics, and communities for whom water resource management is a critical issue. This fellowship will support a trip to Stockholm, Sweden and field work.
Robyn Meeks is a PhD student in the Public Policy Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She is interested in water resource management and development, particularly IWRM, transboundary issues, and water supply and sanitation. Robyn taught environmental studies as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kazakhstan and researched tariff collection for rural water supply systems in the Kyrgyz Republic as a recipient of a Fulbright fellowship. In addition, Robyn has consulted for the Water Governance Programme within the Energy and Environment Group of the United Nations Development Programme. Robyn received a B.A. in political science from Brown University and a Master’s in Environmental Management, concentrating in water, science and policy, from Yale University, where she was awarded the Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship for study of the Russian language. While at Yale, Robyn interned at Resources for the Future, served as the editor of UNDP’s newsletter on public-private partnerships in the urban environment (PPPUE), and conducted research for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat in preparation for the 2005 Conference of the Parties.
From the globalization of patents to the race for exclusive rights to the human genome, there have been increasing efforts by private actors to restrict access to knowledge, a trend that will have important consequences for equity and sustainable development. At the same time, scholars, entrepreneurs and civil society organizations (CSOs) have been successfully advocating for greater openness and knowledge-sharing. Beginning in the late 1990s, this issue hit center stage as the worsening AIDS pandemic galvanized grassroots groups worldwide to protest against patent monopolies that kept the prices of effective medicines too high for the developing world. Since then, the debate has evolved considerably; today CSOs – including patient groups – are involved in the writing and revision of national patent laws, in shaping WTO rules, and creating new international norms. Nowhere is this debate more vocal and salient than India. CSOs have become involved in determining the contours of India’s new patent regime through several key court cases that have already had an important impact on the availability of key AIDS and cancer drugs. This case raises broader questions, such as: How does the involvement of CSOs impact access to knowledge and the ways in which it is generated? Does CSO involvement signal a trend toward the democratization of (specifically public health related) research? If so, what are the implications for society? Furthermore, how do CSOs, and grassroots patient groups in particular, influence areas such as patentability criteria that are traditionally reserved for technical experts? Suerie plans to use the fellowship to support travel to India and Geneva to interview key actors from civil society, as well as government, international organizations and the private sector, with the aim of further honing these research questions and starting dissertation work.
Suerie Moon is a Pre-doctoral Research Fellow in the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard’s Center for International Development and a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Her research interests include the ways in which civil society organizations (CSO) shape policymaking at the global level, and the accountability relationships that develop between and among CSOs and global public institutions. She also works on analyzing the relationship between access to medicines, innovation and intellectual property rights policies, and the implications for equity in public health in the developing world. Moon is currently a contributor to the "Institutional Innovations in Global Health Project" at CID, funded by the KSG Dean’s Acting in Time initiative. The project takes as a case study the historical and contemporary international responses to malaria, in order to draw broader conclusions about effective global health institutions with applicability to other health areas. Prior to coming to Harvard, she was a campaigner, researcher, and writer for the Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) international Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines, where she focused on intellectual property rights, equity prices for medicines, and research and development into ‘neglected diseases.’ She received a Masters in Public Affairs with Distinction from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and graduated cum laude with a BA in history from Yale University.
Kelsey Jack will increase her understanding of the implementation and study of payments for ecosystem services (PES) interventions in developing countries. Payments for ecosystem services seek to correct the market failure surrounding many environmental goods and services through transfers from beneficiaries to providers in exchange for increasing service provision to socially optimal levels. Exploring innovative PES interventions in Indonesia and Bolivia, together with interviews and interactions with PES researchers and practitioners, will increase her perspective on the questions and challenges facing both of these groups. By the end of the fellowship, she hopes to have defined the most urgent questions and challenges surrounding PES implementation, assessed the value of a comparative research approach, and developed an awareness of both available data and the most pressing data gaps. Support will be used to fund fieldwork in Indonesia and Bolivia.
Brooke "Kelsey" Jack is a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. She is interested in individual level decision-making related to natural resources in developing countries, with a focus on the role of institutions in shaping these decisions. Kelsey spent two years with IUCN - The World Conservation Union in Lao PDR, where she worked on issues of conservation and rural livelihoods. She has also done research for the World Resources Institute, for the Dean of New York University Law School, and for the Princeton Environmental Institute. She is a recipient of the Vicki Norberg-Bohm Fellowship and a Center for International Development Doctoral Research Grant. Kelsey received her undergraduate degree in public and international affairs from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School.
Kira Matus will explore the potential for green chemistry in the developing world. Much of the new investment in large-scale chemical infrastructure is occurring in the developing world, especially in India, China and Eastern Europe. Kira’s work will explore the following questions: For what reasons, and under what circumstances, can the practices and technologies of these nations “leapfrog” ahead of developed nations? What kinds of innovations, and in which sectors, is innovation most promising? What public policies, regulatory structures, and public-private partnerships could promote innovation in the chemical sector? Kira will take the analytical framework that she has been developing based on US examples, and discuss it with experts in the countries where new infrastructure is being planned. She plans to spend time in China and India discussing technological innovation for development with local experts.
Kira Matus is a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Her research focuses on the application of scientific and technical knowledge to the problem of sustainable development in emerging and high-growth urban areas. She received an SM in Technology and Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005. While at MIT, she was a research assistant in the Joint Program for the Science and Policy of Global Change. As a part of that group, she worked to quantify the economic impacts of the health effects of urban air pollution on the economies of the United States and China. She was a participant in the Alliance for Global Sustainability’s IPOS graduate student symposium in 2004 in Thailand. She co-led a group of high school students on ICEP - a service and exchange trip to Sweden and Russia in 2005. Matus is a 2003 magna cum laude graduate of Brown University where she earned an ScB with honors in chemistry.