UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Essays on the effectiveness of environmental and urban transportation policies Chen, Cheng


This dissertation is a collection of three essays that study the efficiency of policies targeting environmental and urban transportation issues. The first essay investigates a government incentive that subsidizes the purchase of electric vehicles(EVs) and asks a question of whether subsidizing public charging facility would be more cost-effective. It estimates a discrete choice model of EVs which relies on both EV characteristics and individual demographic information, using micro-level data from the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Program. Results show: (1) EVs with smaller battery capacity are more reliant on the public charging network; (2) consumers with higher income are less price sensitive. Such results support subsidizing more to public charging facility and reducing the EV purchase subsidy to the more affluent consumers. The second essay builds on the literature of road congestion and addresses the importance of schedule delay cost occurred due to uncertain traffic time. We propose the notion of a "reliability standard" that commuters use to calculate their schedule time --- the buffer time added to a commute so as to ensure being at work on time most of the time. With this tool, we conduct an extensive simulation study to gain further insights into the role of commuter composition, time cost differences, and the degree of inflexibility on optimal road tolls. While the cost of commuting time reliability is economically important, we find that the difference between a full-information road toll and a limited-information road toll is smaller than one would expect. Our study points to how future stated preference studies can be designed to elicit more meaningful information that identifies commuter heterogeneity, and in turn will lead to better designs for mobility pricing. The third essay examines the relationship between firms' voluntary disclosure in environmental performance information and their level of institutional ownership. Empirical results indicate that US S&P 500 companies with higher institutional ownership ratio are less likely to disclose to the Carbon Disclosure Project. Moreover, disclosure behavior also leads to a lower ratio of institutional ownership. This negative relationship suggests adverse selection in the disclosure decision, hence such voluntary disclosure policy might be of limited value to the public.

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