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Essays on Environmental Economics and Regional Economics Open Access

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The first two essays of this dissertation study individual (household) and government adaptation to sea-level rise (SLR). The form of government adaptation is assumed to be construction of a seawall, and the form of household adaptation is migration across locations (regions). The first essay investigates the socially optimal adaptation outcome, and examines whether adaptation decisions made by local governments are efficient. In a two-region setting, I construct a spatial model in which the probability of damage due to SLR risk decreases as the distance from the shoreline increases. Equalization of wage rates across locations is the driving force for migration. I demonstrate that in contrast to efficient provision of a local public good under free migration, the provision of local adaptation is inefficient in general. The second essay examines the nature of the interaction between household and government adaptation. I model household and government adaptation as a sequential game. For the two levels of government (local and central), I separately investigate how the sequence of adaptation decision-making affects adaptation outcomes. Using a simulation, I show that households should move first (second) when the local (central) government chooses seawall height. The third essay studies travel time use over five decades in the United States. Over the period from 1965 to 2013, we examine travel time allocation in the U.S. for the aggregate economy and for subgroups of different age, gender and work status, education, and whether there are children in the household. We use the Blinder-Oaxaca method to decompose changes in the unconditional mean of total travel time into the portion that can be explained by demographic shifts and the portion that can be explained by changes within demographic groups.

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