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Jel Classification:Q5 

Working Paper
Divest, Disregard, or Double Down?

How much, if at all, should an endowment invest in a firm whose activities run counter to the charitable missions the endowment funds? Endowments typically disregard the objectionable nature of or divest from such firms. However, if firm returns increase with activities the endowment combats, doubling down on the investment increases expected utility by aligning funding availability with need. I call this "mission hedging." This paper offers the first model that characterizes the endowment's investment decision on the objectionable firm, defines investment trade-offs, and examines related ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-042

Working Paper
The Welfare Costs of Misaligned Incentives: Energy Inefficiency and the Principal-Agent Problem

In many settings, misaligned incentives and inadequate monitoring lead employees to take self-interested actions contrary to their employer's wishes, giving rise to the classic principal-agent problem. In this paper, I identify and quantify the costs of misaligned incentives in the context of an energy efficiency appliance replacement program. I show that contractors (agents) hired by the electric utility (the principal) increase their compensation by intentionally misreporting program data to deliberately authorize replacement of non-qualified refrigerators. I provide empirical estimates of ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2019-071

Report
Unintended Consequences of "Mandatory" Flood Insurance

We document that the quasi-mandatory U.S. flood insurance program reduces mortgage lending along both the extensive and intensive margins. We measure flood insurance mandates using FEMA flood maps, focusing on the discreet updates to these maps that can be made exogenous to true underlying flood risk. Reductions in lending are most pronounced for low-income and low-FICO borrowers, implying that the effects are at least partially driven by the added financial burden of insurance. Our results are also stronger among non-local or more-distant banks, who have a diminished ability to monitor local ...
Staff Reports , Paper 1012

Working Paper
The Effect of Vehicle Fuel Economy Standards on Technology Adoption

Many countries are tightening passenger vehicle fuel economy standards. The literature on passenger vehicle standards has used structural models to estimate their welfare effects. This paper provides the first empirical evidence on the effects of recently tightened fuel economy standards on technology adoption. Specifically, it investigates changes in the rate and direction of technology adoption, that is, the extent to which technology is used to increase fuel economy at the expense of other vehicle attributes. We find that recent U.S. and European standards have both increased the rate of ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2014-22

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