Economics ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 11-14-2021


This dissertation explores three unique topics in development and environmental economics. The first paper looks at the value people place on clean air in Mexico City using an alternative air pollution measure to the typical ground measurement. Research and policy addressing air pollution remains hampered by a lack of ground level air quality data. This study attempts to overcome this issue using aerosol optical depth from satellite imagery as a proxy for air pollution. Using a hedonic framework and least squares estimation, results show that Mexico City residents place a significant value on clean air as demonstrated by their choices of where to live and work.

The second paper focuses on the secondary, unintended consequences of the daylight saving time (DST) policy in Mexico. Shifting the clocks in spring and fall is intended to reduce energy consumption. However, there is growing evidence it is also linked to increased automobile fatalities, homicides, and other negative outcomes. This study uses a regression discontinuity design to exploit the acute shift in time to understand the social cost associated with DST. Results show there to be an increase in fatalities in three areas that potentially outweigh the economic and social savings in energy reduction.

The final paper explores the economic and ecological impacts from different management strategies of the gray wolf in the upper Rocky Mountain region. After a successful reintroduction into the area, three states now independently manage the controversial species. Theoretical optimal control and system dynamics bioeconomic models were developed to determine the steady states for the number of wolves, their management, and corresponding net benefits for Idaho, Montana, Wyoming. The models indicate that there exist beneficial economic and ecological spillover effects to jointly managing wolves in the region.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Economics

First Committee Member (Chair)

Matias Fontenla

Second Committee Member

Kira Villa

Third Committee Member

Andrew Goodkind

Fourth Committee Member

Fidel Gonzalez




air pollution, hedonics, daylight saving time, regression discontinuity, optimal control, systems dynamics

Document Type


Included in

Economics Commons