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Environment and Resource Economics Workshop – Winter 2022

Hassan Benchekroun (McGill U.), Sophie Bernard (Polytechnique Montréal), Robert Cairns (McGill U.), Justin Leroux (HEC Montréal), Martino Pelli (U. de Sherbrooke), Charles Séguin (UQAM)


Joint with : the economics departments of the universities of MontréalQuébec at MontréalMcGill and HEC Montréal

Organizers : Hassan Benchekroun (McGill U.), Sophie Bernard (Polytechnique Montréal), Robert Cairns (McGill U.), Justin Leroux (HEC Montréal), Martino Pelli (U. de Sherbrooke) and Charles Séguin (UQAM)

Time : 10:00 – 12:00

The Workshop will be held virtually. Please contact Martino Pelli or Charles Séguin for Zoom login information.


(Please refer here to access all past workshops.)


This workshop is intended for researchers and doctoral students in economics throughout Montreal who are interested in resource and environmental economics. The types of topics that may be dealt with, at an advanced level, are the economic theory of sustainable growth, green accounting, sunk costs and production constraints in natural resource exploitation, the irreversibility of environmental investment decisions, measures of biodiversity and their implications, the optimal order of extraction of natural resources, intertemporal depletion of spatially distributed nonrenewable resources, property rights and natural resource exploitation, applications of differential games to natural resources and environmental economics, international environmental agreements, circular economy, climate policy and other related topics.



28 January 2022

Martino Pelli (Université de Sherbrooke)
The short-run, dynamic employment effects of natural disasters: New insights 

Pauline Pedehour (student, Nantes Université)
Empowerment of social norms on water consumption


11 February 2022

Jean-Francois Fournel (student, McGill University)
Electric vehicle subsidies: Cost-effectiveness and emission reductions
View abstract

Miao Dai (étudiant, McGill University)
Political economy of trade in waste


25 February 2022

Aude Pommeret (Université Savoie)
Limiting local Chinese pollution for education and growth (with D. Charlier and A. Risch)
View abstract

Avralt-Od Purevjav  (Universität Bern)
Impacts from Climate Change and Livestock on Rangeland Quality:  The Case of Mongolia


18 March 2022

Amanda Guimbeau (Université de Sherbrooke)
An Extra Grain of Salt: The Effect of Salinity Exposure on Early Life Health Outcomes in Coastal Bangladesh (with J. Ji, N. Menon and Z. Long)

Gerard van der Meijden (VU Amsterdam)
Carbon Capture : Storage vs Utilization (with J.-P. Amigues and C. Withagen)


1 April 2022

Moubarak Moundou Megna (Université Laval)
Innovating a Green Product : Pigou Meets Consumption Habits and Environmental Consciousness (with M. Herrmann and M. Roland)

Rémi Morin-Chassé (UQAC)
The Transition to Renewable Energy

The existing economics literature neglects the important role of capacity in the production of renewable energy. To fill this gap, we construct a model in which renewable energy production is tied to renewable energy capacity, which then becomes a form of capital. This capacity capital can be increased through investment, which therefore comes at the cost of reduced  consumption. We describe how society could optimally elect to split production between immediate consumption and investment in capital. Our model delivers an empirically satisfactory  explanation for simultaneous use of non-renewable and renewable energy.


22 April 2022

Full Conference Day (Event web page)

This conference day will close the season of the Environmental and Natural Resource Economics Workshops. Presented with the support of CIRANO, du CIREQ and Chaire en Macroéconomie et Prévisions.


1130, rue Sherbrooke Ouest, suite 1400
Montréal (Québec) H3A 2M8



The program is available here.



This event is free and open to  open to everyone interested in the topic.
As seats are limited, registration is mandatory.
Please register here.



10am to 11am : Ron Chan (University of Manchester)
Strategic Complementarities in the Electricity Market: Theory and Evidence (with Takeo Hori and Takahiko Kiso)

Carbon taxes have widely been used to correct for environmental externalities. In contrast, energy economists have viewed transmission infrastructure and electricity storage technology as critical in improving the reliability of the electricity market and efficient deployment of renewable energy. Despite this, these two sets of policies are usually designed separately rather than jointly. This paper studies the strategic complementarity between a transmission infrastructure subsidy and a carbon tax (or a renewable subsidy). We develop a competitive electricity market model with multiple regions to study the optimal set of policies in this setting. In the existence of such complementarity, we show that a single policy instrument can, in principle, correct for market failures in both the pollution and adequacy problems. We demonstrate our results using the ERCOT Competitive Renewable Energy Zone program and jointly estimate the effect of transmission infrastructure investment on wind energy investment and its reverse using historical planning documents and wind speed as respective instruments. Our preliminary results show that renewable capacity investment is more responsive to transmission capacity investment, suggesting a more robust and a potentially more politically feasible policy instrument to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
11am to 12pm : Laura Taylor (Georgia Tech University)
Utility-Scale Solar Farms and Agricultural Land Values 
(with Nino Abashidze)

Property value models are used to examine how utility-scale, ground-mount solar farms impact nearby agricultural land values. Results indicate that solar farms do not have direct positive or negative spillover effects on nearby agricultural land values. However, results also suggest that solar farm construction may indirectly affect agricultural land values by creating a signal effect of the land’s suitability for future solar development. Specifically, results indicate that proximity of agricultural land to electric infrastructure (transmission lines) is positively valued after a solar farm is constructed nearby.
13pm to 14pm : Ujjayant Chakravorty (Tufts University)
A Tale of Two Roads: Groundwater Depletion in the North China Plain 
(with Xiangzheng Deng, Yazhen Gong, Martino Pelli and Qian Zhang)

Many studies focus on the relationship between infrastructure and economic development, but few study the effect of infrastructure on the sustainability of natural resources. We examine the effect of the arrival of two new national highways on the ground water table in a small county in the North China Plain – a region that produces most of the nation’s foodgrains. We first develop a conceptual framework to show that farmers closer to the highway use more water and expand acreage along the extensive margin. We then use a unique GIS-referenced dataset of all the 12,000 odd tube wells in this county to show that highway construction accelerates the drilling of new wells in farms closer to the highway. There is faster depletion of the groundwater in wells close to the highways relative to wells located farther away. Depletion rates for groundwater are 6-13 times higher next to the two roads relative to mean depletion rates in the North China Plain. We show suggestive evidence that these effects are caused by a switch from subsistence to commercial cropping, and intensification of farming practices closer to the highway.
14pm to 15pm :  Anthony Heyes (University of Ottawa)
Pollution and Human Capital Accumulation 
(with Soodeh Saberian)

We use granular data from standardized assessments in Tehran to evidence a substantial impact of pollution in the vicinity of a school on how much children, especially boys, achieve academically. Causal identification exploits that the 2010 US sanctions preventing the sale of refined petroleum products to Iran differentially impacted air quality at schools in the city, depending on the location of each with respect to the road network. Relative performance dropped at more road-exposed (variously-measured) schools. Road mass upwind matters four times more than downwind, consistent with a prevailing wind 80% from the west, discouraging competing interpretations.



Upcoming Events

2 October 2023, 15:00-19:00 (Studio-Cabaret de l'Espace St-Denis)