Research

Peer-Reviewed Published Work

  • Pakhtigian, E. L., Jeuland, M., Dhaubanjar, S., and Pandey, V. P. (Forthcoming). Balancing intersectoral demands in basin-scale planning: The case of Nepal's western river basins. Water Resources and Economics.
  • Pakhtigian, E. L., Jeuland, M., Bharati, L., and Pandey, V. P. (2019). The role of hydropower in visions of water resources development for rivers of Western Nepal. International Journal of Water Resources Development. (DOI Link)
  • Pakhtigian, E. L., and Jeuland, M. (2019). Valuing Environmental Quality: Evidence from Western Nepal. Ecological Economics, 158. 158-167. (DOI Link)
  • Pattanayak, S. K., Pakhtigian, E. L., and Litzow, E. (2018). Through the looking glass: Environmental health economics in low and middle income countries. Handbook of Environmental Economics, Volume 4. (Link)

Working Papers

  • "Hydro-economic modeling framework to address water-energy-environment-food nexus questions at the river basin scale." With M. Bekchanov, A. Sood, and M. Jeuland. (PDF)

Selected Work in Progress

  • "Where there's fire, there's smoke: The causal impact of Indonesia's forest fire emissions on behavior and health." (Job market paper, draft available upon request)

Abstract: Ambient air pollution is a leading contributor to mortality and morbidity, particularly in low and middle-income countries, yet there is little evidence of the causal links between ambient air pollution exposure and respiratory health over time. The paper estimates the effects of both spikes in ambient air pollution as well as average exposure over time on behavior and health outcomes by leveraging variation in pollution resulting from emissions from forest fires in Indonesia between 1996 and 2015. I combine micro data from the Indonesian Family Life Survey with daily, satellite-derived air pollution measures to generate 19-year individual and household panels. Using these data, I estimate the immediate effects of an unexpectedly severe forest fire season in 2015 on behavior and health. I find an increase in demand for kerosene and vehicle fuel among the most-exposed households as well as a 6 percent decrease in lung capacity among emissions-affected children. I extend my analysis across the panel using an instrumental variables approach to estimate the effect of average exposure over time on behavior and health. I find that households facing higher average ambient air pollution exposures are more likely to utilize clean cooking fuels such as LPG. Further, I find that a one standard deviation increase in average ambient air pollution over time causes a 5 percent reduction in lung capacity and is associated with increased incidence of stroke, hypertension, and heart disease. I conclude by estimating the productivity costs of ambient air pollution exposure and contextualize these losses in in the growing global threat of forest fire activity exacerbated by climate change, finding that reductions in lung capacity caused by ambient air pollution exposure are associated with a 1-2 percent decline in annual earnings.

  • "Open sky latrines: Do social effects influence technology adoption in the case of a (very) impure public good?" With K. Dickinson and S.K. Pattanayak.

Abstract: Among the twelve percent of the global population that continues to use nature’s “open sky latrines,” improved sanitation facilities contribute to an impure public good. For epidemiological and social reasons, a household’s payoff to latrine use depends on the sanitation decisions of both their own household and other neighboring households. Using panel data from a randomized sanitation intervention in Orissa, India, we find evidence of interrelated sanitation behaviors among neighborhood groups. Households are less likely to practice open defecation when their neighbors abstain from the behavior; a ten percentage point decrease in open defecation among a household’s neighbors reduces that household’s likelihood of open defecation by 4-5 percentage points. When neighborhoods experience a large, endogenous shock to sanitation behaviors, as occurred following the randomized sanitation intervention, households rely less on social cues to determine their sanitation outcomes; however, the effect of the intervention wane over time while social effects remain influential determinants of sanitation practices across our three-wave panel. We extend our analysis to examine if social effects are stronger in gender-defined groups. We find that sanitation behaviors are influential within gender-defined networks, whereas influences across genders are small and insignificant. Further, we find that the reduction in open defecation resulting from the randomized sanitation intervention among females is sustained four years after the intervention, whereas the treatment effect for males is not. These results indicate that interventions targeting social drivers of behavior change may be more effective than those that focus only on private incentives particularly when considering the sustainability of such policies.

  • "Social influences and sanitation technologies: Evidence from experimental games in rural India" (Fieldwork ongoing with funding support from the International Growth Centre)
  • "Joint impacts of indoor and outdoor air pollution on health in Indonesia." With S.K. Pattanayak and J.-S. Tan Soo.
  • "Are early (plant) retirements a breath of fresh air? Air pollution, absences, and achievement" With S. Komisarow.
  • "Women who do not migrate: Social interactions and participation in Western Nepal." With G. Shrestha and M. Jeuland.

Policy Reports

  • Pakhtigian, E. L., Burton, E., Jeuland, M., Pattanayak, S. K., and Phillips, J. (2019). The energy access dividend in Haiti and Honduras. Report to the Inter-American Development Bank.
  • IPBES (Contributing Author). (2019). Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. (Link)