Hobbservations Climate Change, Development, Data

Projects and Publications

Using satellite data to measure spikes in deforestation after floods in Mozambique

Many Mozambican farmers subsist by a combination of farming and gathering of forest products, especially charcoal. Many of those farmers live in the Zambezi, Limpopo, and Lurio river basins, where floods are frequent and destructive. Farmers often grow crops along the river, and in the event of a flood they rely on forests for subsistence. This study uses satellite data to measure impact of floods on deforestation, and finds that more frequent, more severe floods due to climate change are also leading to forest loss through this channel.

Combining index-based livestock insurance with a poverty graduation program in Kenya

with Michael Carter, Andrew Mude, Nathan Jensen, and Munenobu Ikegami

Kenya’s Index-Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) program has proven successful in improving quality of life in several arid areas in northern Kenya. BOMA’s Rural Entrepreneur Access Program (REAP) has also alleviated poverty by providing business opportunities for women to support their families during the dry months. We are implementing a randomized controlled trial to test whether a combination of the two yields greater benefits than the sum of the individual effects.

Modeling pastoralist risk preferences with games

Behavioral economics has introduced dozens of possible explanations for why uptake of index insurance has generally been low in developing countries, despite the fact that it can be very effective in mitigating serious risks at a low cost. I am developing a tablet-based game that will be played in the field with women and men in Samburu County, Kenya. The model that best explains in-game choices under cross-validation will be used to develop a suite of new and improved insurance products for the real world, and we’ll test whether in-game choices predict real-world choices.

Past Work

The California Carbon Dashboard is a website I created in 2012 to track California’s Carbon Price, outline the key elements of California’s climate policy portfolio, and collect relevant news from around the internet.

Challenges and Opportunities for Efficient Land Use in Mozambique: Taxes, Financing, and Infrastructure (2016). Climate Policy Initiative. with Amanda de Albuquerque

Improving Solar Policy: Lessons from the solar leasing boom in California. (2013). Climate Policy Initiative. with Elinor Benami, Brendan Pierpont, and Uday Varadarajan.

Building Energy Efficiency in China, Germany, and the United States. (2012).Climate Policy Initiative. with Hermann Amecke, Aleksandra Novikova, Yang Xiu, and Shengyuan Zhang.

Clearing the Air: Carbon Pricing and Local Air Pollution in California. (2012). Climate Policy Initiative. with Kath Rowley.

Codes to Cleaner Buildings: Effectiveness of U.S. Building Energy Codes. (2011). Climate Policy Initiative. with Jeff Deason.

Measuring the effect of bi-directional migration remittances on poverty and inequality in Nicaragua (2012). Applied Economics, Volume 44, Issue 19.