Ph.D. Program in Sustainable Development | School of International and Public Affairs




Job Market Paper

“Dams and Intergovernmental Transfers: Are Large-scale Dams Pareto Improving in China?”

Abstract: Large-scale dams are controversial public infrastructure projects due to the unevenly distributed benefits and losses to local regions. Meanwhile, the central government makes fiscal transfers to redistribute the impacts and reduce the inequality among local governments. Under the joint local revenue impacts and external transfer impacts, are large-scale dam projects Pareto improving for local governments? Using the geographic variation of dam impacts based on distances to the river and distances to the dam, this paper adopts the difference-in-difference approach to estimate dam impacts at the county level in China from 1996 to 2010. It finds that a large-scale dam reduces local revenue in upstream counties significantly by 16%, while it increases local revenue by similar magnitude in the vicinity counties. However, the negative revenue impacts in upstream counties are mitigated sufficiently by the intergovernmental transfers from the central government, with an increase rate around 13% during the dam construction and operation periods. No significant revenue and transfer impacts are found in downstream counties, except these far downstream. These results suggest that vicinity counties benefit from dam projects the most, and intergovernmental transfers help to balance the negative impacts of dams in the upstream counties correspondingly, making large-scale dam projects close to the Pareto improving outcomes in China.  

Working Papers

Water, Electricity and Weather Variability in Rural Northern China

Abstract: Economic growth has reshaped rural household characteristics dramati- cally in the past few decades in China. Families become richer, smaller and older. How do these changes impact household water and electricity demands? This paper answers the question using household data in a water-scarce rural village in Northern China. I find that smaller families tend to increase per capita water and electricity consumptions by more than 20% for one fewer family member. Households with more women in the family have higher water and electricity consumptions even when controlling the family size. Both water and electricity consumptions increase in hotter or drier months. Smaller households are more sensitive to weather variabilities by increasing water use more in face of temperature increases. These findings provide implications on rural water and electricity demand in the context of urbanization and climate change impacts.


“Governmental Responsiveness to Typhoon Risks in Asia”(poster), with Solomon Hsiang and Daiju Narita

“Diverting Water: Agricultural Impacts of Canal System in China”

Xiaojia Bao

Columbia University
323.1 International Affairs Building
420 West 118th Street
New York, NY, 10027
Phone: (347) 703-1519
  Columbia University | 323.1 International Affairs Building | 420 West 118th Street, New York, NY 10027