This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Three Essays in Environmental and Development Economics




Wang, Meijuan

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology


This dissertation consists of three empirical essays as three chapters on environmental issue and hunger problem in developing countries. Chapter 1 examines whether the central winter heating causes the air pollution in the Northern China. we measure this impact and the data are the daily Air Quality Index (AQI) records for mid-November when the heat is turned on and mid-March when heat is turned off in over 150 cities. The results show that winter heating contributes significantly to air pollution, especially in the period when central heating is switched on. The central heating causes AQI 27.6% higher in northern cities, which indicates more air pollution; the air is 12.47% more likely to be unhealthy for sensitive people and 5.4% more likely to be unhealthy for all. When central heating is turned off, the air quality in southern cities gets slightly better. Chapter 2 focuses on the issue of gender preference in terms of children malnutrition. We use the Demographic and Health Survey data in Ethiopia and run two rounds of regression, the first one is over stunting, underweight and wasting and the second round is over z-scores of height for age, weight for age and weight for height. The data description shows that nearly one-half of children in our sample are stunted. Children at the age of 2 and 3 are more likely to be short or too skinny compared to normal children at the same age. Our decomposition model estimates show that under in the same living environment, if a girl were to be a boy, the odds ratio of being wasted would increase by 1.34, the odds ratio of being stunted would increase by 1.03 and the odds ratio of being underweight would increase by 1.04. It suggests that boys under 5 in Ethiopia in our sample are more malnourished than girls in the same socio-economic environment. Chapter 3 aims to assess the environmental performance across countries and over time. A directional distance function framework is applied to measure the technical environmental efficiency (TEE). We use data from the World Bank for the period 1990–2012. There are three inputs—capital, labor, and energy consumption and one good output—GDP; GHG, CO2, and N2O are treated as bad outputs and estimated separately in three models, each with five different direction vectors. The main findings are as follows. 1. The relationship between TEE and GDP per capita performs a shallow U shape curve. 2. No significant distributional change in TEE with different direction vectors in GHG and CO2 models, but results from the N2O model show that countries are generally more efficient when the direction in GDP is smaller, which indicates that the more we emphasize the importance of N2O emissions, the lower score in environmental performance evaluation. 3. The GHG efficiency trend over time is ambiguous across different direction vectors, while the CO2 efficiency is generally decreasing over time and N2O efficiency is increasing over time. Technical change, the shadow price of bad output, and Morishima elasticity are also computed in this chapter.