Recent

I’m currently working on these projects as a PhD candidate at the Agricultural and Resource Economics department at UC Berkeley.

Micro-Climate Engineering for Climate Change Adaptation in Agriculture

Job Market Paper

Can farmers adapt to climate change by altering effective weather conditions on their fields? Empirical literature has demonstrated the non-linear effects of extreme weather events on yields. Climate change is thus predicted to harm crops mainly by change of the temperature distribution tails, rather than by the change in mean temperatures. Targeting these few high temperature days, by altering effective temperatures locally in time and space, could serve as an adaptation concept. I call this ``Micro-Climate Engineering’’ (MCE), and note that techniques for lowering temperatures locally are already used by growers. Existing MCE techniques could therefore be used to address climate change in some cases. I develop a model to analyze grower choice and market outcomes with MCE under adverse climate, and apply it to assess the potential gains from MCE in California pistachios. Warming winters are predicted to hurt pistachios within the next two decades. Treating trees with a reflective, non-toxic mix, has been shown to lower effective tree temperatures. The model is applied to simulate the pistachio market in 2030 under various acreage growth scenarios, and gains from MCE are calculated for growers and consumers. Results show a total negative gain from MCE for growers, but the positive gains from consumers surpass them. The total, yearly expected welfare gains from MCE in California pistachios by 2030, in varying scenarios, is assessed at 153 - 540 million US dollars. Market power increases the total potential gains from MCE, but could also lower the incentive to invest in MCE technologies.

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Disability Insurance Reform and Labor Supply: Evidence from Israel

(With Yotam Shem-Tov)

In 2009, Israel reformed its Disability Insurance program, replacing a strict earning cap for beneficiaries with a gradual offset of benefits. This kind of program has been discussed in the US for over 20 years today. Using administrative data from Israel, the goal of this project is to estimate the effect of this reform on labor supply of beneficiaries, and on DI enrollment. Preliminary findings show strong labor supply effects on those beneficiaries who were employed prior to the reform; insignificant effect on those who didn’t; and no effect on the characteristics of newly enrolled beneficiaries.

work in progress



Past

I have a masters degree in environmental studies. In my thesis, I focused on solid waste policies in Israel. Solid waste (“garbage”) is a major environmental issue, and I hope to keep doing research on it.

Should we blame the rich for clogging our landfills?

(With Alon Tal)

Abstract: Conventional wisdom often holds that relatively high consumption levels among the affluent contributes to the generation of high volumes of municipal solid waste (MSW). Comparing data from different cities in Israel suggests otherwise. Regression analysis reveals that aggregate per-capita waste outputs of cities are only vaguely correlated with their socio-economic indicators. In fact, the apparent ‘hedonic’ waste of the richest cities, compared with the average ones, accounts for only about 2% of the total waste production. Israel’s main economic area, the Tel Aviv district, produces a quarter more MSW per capita than other districts, suggesting a need for special attention by policy makers. A surprisingly strong predictor of MSW per capita is water consumption by municipalities, dedicated for public gardening. The trimmings of the municipal landscape constituting an unobserved fraction of total MSW data, are estimated to be responsible for 15% of Israel’s MSW, making it an additional target area for consideration and intervention.

Trilnick, Itai, and Alon Tal. “Should we blame the rich for clogging our landfills?”, Waste Management & Research 32.2 (2014): 91-96.

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What Drives Municipal Solid Waste Policy Making? An Empirical Assessment of the Effectiveness of Tipping Fees and Other Factors in Israel

(With Alon Tal)

Abstract: What factors influence the waste policy of local authorities? While central governments make efforts to promote recycling, the major players in municipal waste management are local authorities. This paper explores the factors influencing waste policies of local authorities in Israel in light of the new landfill tax legislated in 2007. Based on interviews with officials overseeing waste management and other stakeholders, a model of waste policy making in local authorities is proposed. A survey among waste officials of local authorities then evaluates the influence of general and specific factors on associated municipal policies. Cost of landfilling and a new landfill tax, is reported as highly influential on waste policies. Other factors, such as the Mayor’s motivation, managerial capacity in the municipality, and recycling markets are also highly influential. While the cost of landfilling is easily targeted by the central government, the latter factors are seldom addressed.

Trilnick, Itai, and Alon Tal. “What Drives Municipal Solid Waste Policy Making? An Empirical Assessment of the Effectiveness of Tipping Fees and Other Factors in Israel.”, The Journal of Solid Waste Technology and Management 40.4 (2014): 364-374.

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