Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Economics

First Advisor's Name

Pallab Mozumder

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Prasad Bidarkota

Third Advisor's Name

Jesse Bull

Fourth Advisor's Name

Mahadev G. Bhat

Fifth Advisor's Name

Kai Huang

Keywords

Adoption, Green Technology, Energy, Conservation, Hurricane, Mitigation

Date of Defense

5-20-2013

Abstract

Expected damages of environmental risks depend both on their intensities and probabilities. There is very little control over probabilities of climate related disasters such as hurricanes. Therefore, researchers of social science are interested identifying preparation and mitigation measures that build human resilience to disasters and avoid serious loss. Conversely, environmental degradation, which is a process through which the natural environment is compromised in some way, has been accelerated by human activities. As scientists are finding effective ways on how to prevent and reduce pollution, the society often fails to adopt these effective preventive methods. Researchers of psychological and contextual characterization offer specific lessons for policy interventions that encourage human efforts to reduce pollution. This dissertation addresses four discussions of effective policy regimes encouraging pro-environmental preference in consumption and production, and promoting risk mitigation behavior in the face of natural hazards.

The first essay describes how the speed of adoption of environment friendly technologies is driven largely by consumers’ preferences and their learning dynamics rather than producers’ choice.

The second essay is an empirical analysis of a choice experiment to understand preferences for energy efficient investments. The empirical analysis suggests that subjects tend to increase energy efficient investment when they pay a pollution tax proportional to the total expenditure on energy consumption. However, investments in energy efficiency seem to be crowded out when subjects have the option to buy health insurance to cover pollution related health risks.

In context of hurricane risk mitigation and in evidence of recently adopted My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program by the State of Florida, the third essay shows that households with home insurance, prior experience with damages, and with a higher sense of vulnerability to be affected by hurricanes are more likely to allow home inspection to seek mitigation information.

The fourth essay evaluates the impact of utility disruption on household well being based on the responses of a household-level phone survey in the wake of hurricane Wilma. Findings highlight the need for significant investment to enhance the capacity of rapid utility restoration after a hurricane event in the context of South Florida.

Identifier

FI13080506

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