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

(With David Zilberman and Benjamin Gordon)

Can farmers adapt to climate change by altering weather conditions on their fields? We define the concept of Micro-Climate Engineering (MCE), where farmers change the effective temperatures on their crops by means of shading or heating, and document such implementation by California pistachio growers. With rising winter temperatures in the San Joaquin Valley, pistachio growers in California could face adverse climatic conditions within 20 years. Treating dormant trees with a chemical mix, acting as a shading technology, has shown to increase winter chill count to acceptable levels. Modeling a market with heterogeneous sub-climates, we run simulations to estimate potential gains from MCE in 2030 for California pistachio. Our results show an expected yearly welfare gain ranging between $1-4 billion. Pistachio being a crop of secondary importance in California, we believe this to show the importance of MCE for climate change adaptation in agriculture.

Working Paper


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.

working paper to be published soon



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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