Ph.D. Economics, University of Washington, 2000
M.A. Economics, University of Washington, 1998
M.A. International Policy Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, 1994
M.S. Environmental Planning & Engineering,
University of Agriculture and Forestry, Vienna, Austria, 1990
Other Professional Experience
As of Spring 2012:
The current outbreak of the Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) in wide parts of the American West has taken epic proportions. In recent years, between 6 and 10 million acres of forest have been lost annually to MPB infestation. A key question for forest managers and municipal planners is how this loss in environmental quality affects home values. Using a large data set of home sales for hundreds of western Counties and state-of-the art property valuation techniques, the objective of this project is to provide estimates of past, current, and future home value losses due to the outbreak.
In this year of the project we are focusing on the Colorado Front Range, one of the most heavily affected areas. We find strong evidence that the MPB has caused millions of dollars worth of damages due to declining property values over the last few years. Given the irreversibility of the infestation and the long-term nature of the inflicted forest damages, this has widespread public finance implications for selected communities.
Kevin Boyle (faculty), Jed Cohen (graduate student)
We manage several ongoing projects in the Reno / NV area on residential water use and conservation. For example, we are interested to see if households that receive different types of appeal letters for conservation reduce outdoor irrigation. How long does the effect last? We also want to know if there are "spillover" effects - do their neighbors also react to those letters, even though they themselves did not receive one? This can inform the local utility on the optimal design and net benefits of this kind of outreach.
Another research question is if the officially mandate watering schedule (example: Wednesday, Saturday) induces wasteful behavior as households are forced to ignore time-varying adverse conditions such as high winds. Should households be allowed to pick their own watering days?
Furthermore, we are interested in how membership in a Home Owners' Association (HOA), which generally have their own regulations on landscaping, affects water use. Are HOA members more likely to over-water to keep their lawns green? Are they more likely to follow the official watering rules (the "police-thy-neighbor" effect) or less likely (the "keep lawns green at all cost" effect? This will tell us if HOA-internal regulations may be undermining the official watering rules issued by the local utility.
Another, related, project looks at the role of length of local residence on watering behavior. Are newcomers more or less likely to conserve water and follow the official watering rules? Does it matter where they moved from? How long does it take until they "blend in"? This can provide general insight in household adaptation with respect to climate change.
Vanessa Vinoles, Sapna Kaul (graduate students)
Images collected through remote sensing need to be examined for cloud and cloud shadow before they can be utilized for further analysis. Given the large volume of images and the limited training and expertise needed to perform this task, we envision outsourcing this work to a global community of online cloud identifiers (CIs). However, little is known about the productivity and quality of work that can be expected from such an arrangement. We are therefore conducting a labor experiment with VT students to see how wages, image complexity, experience, and payment scheme affect performance. This will provide insights on how to design optimal contracts when we go "global".
Kevin Boyle (faculty)