Clare Balboni (IDE ‘09) has been invited by the Economic Department to present her work on Infrastructure Investments and the Persistence of Coastal Cities as part of this year’s junior faculty recruitment. She will give her talk
on January 23 at noon in the Tobin Lounge.
Clare is an Economics PhD student at LSE. Her research centers around topics in environmental economics, trade and development economics. In her (job market) paper Clare is interested in coastal areas as they contain a disproportionate share of the world's population, reflecting historical advantages, but environmental change threatens a reversal of coastal fortune in the coming decades as natural disasters intensify and sea levels rise. Her paper considers whether large infrastructure investments should continue to favour coastal areas. Clare use a dynamic spatial equilibrium framework and detailed georeferenced data from Vietnam to examine this issue and find evidence that coastal favouritism has significant costs. Road investments concentrated in coastal regions between 2000 and 2010 had positive returns but would have been outperformed by allocations concentrated further inland even in the absence of sea level rise. Future inundation renders the status quo significantly less efficient. Under a central sea level rise scenario, welfare gains 72% higher could have been achieved by a foresighted allocation avoiding the most vulnerable regions. The results highlight the importance of accounting for the dynamic effects of environmental change in deciding where to allocate infrastructure today.
We are proud to welcome Clare back to campus and wish her every success.