Published Journal Articles

  1. Kuwayama, Y., Olmstead, S.M., and Zheng, J., 2022. A more comprehensive estimate of the value of water quality. Journal of Public Economics, 207, p.104600.

  2. Kuwayama, Y., Olmstead, S.M., Wietelman, D.C. and Zheng, J., 2020. Trends in nutrient-related pollution as a source of potential water quality damages: A case study of Texas, USA. Science of The Total Environment, 724, p.137962.

  3. Olmstead, S. and Zheng, J., 2021. Water Pollution Control in Developing Countries: Policy Instruments and Empirical Evidence. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 15(2), pp.000-000.

Non-Peer Reviewed Publications

Libin Zhang, Sheng Shao, Fang Dong, and Jiameng Zheng, 2020. Access to Water for Hydraulic Fracturing in China. In Regulating Water Security in Unconventional Oil and Gas (pp. 113-134). Springer, Cham.

Working Papers

Health and mo­bil­ity im­pacts of in­dus­trial chem­i­cal ac­ci­dents on Medicare ben­e­fi­cia­ries (Job Market Paper)

Industrial chem­i­cal ac­ci­dents pre­sent sig­nif­i­cant threats to pub­lic health and com­mu­nity sta­bil­ity, of­ten dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fect­ing mi­nor­ity and other dis­ad­van­taged pop­u­la­tions. Medicare ben­e­fi­cia­ries, peo­ple aged 65 and older, and long-term dis­abled are par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble to chem­i­cal ac­ci­dents be­cause of their age and pre­ex­ist­ing health con­di­tions. This pa­per in­ves­ti­gates the long-term health and mo­bil­ity im­pacts of se­vere chem­i­cal ac­ci­dents on Medicare ben­e­fi­cia­ries in the US. Using ad­min­is­tra­tive Medicare data on over 3 mil­lion el­derly and long-term dis­abled ben­e­fi­cia­ries, I find that ac­ci­dents in­crease the mor­tal­ity rate of ben­e­fi­cia­ries by 5% and in­crease rates of in­pa­tient hos­pi­tal vis­its and ER vis­its. Back-of-the-envelope cal­cu­la­tions sug­gest the health ben­e­fits of pre­vent­ing chem­i­cal ac­ci­dents ex­ceed the costs of en­hanc­ing risk-man­age­ment prac­tices in in­dus­trial fa­cil­i­ties. Moreover, ben­e­fi­cia­ries’ mo­bil­ity rate in­creased by 4% af­ter ac­ci­dents. Disparities rise as Black ben­e­fi­cia­ries are more likely to move, and they sys­tem­at­i­cally sort into places with higher lev­els of PM2.5. The pol­lu­tion ex­po­sure gap be­tween Black and non-Black ben­e­fi­cia­ries could be widened by in­dus­trial chem­i­cal ac­ci­dents.

Lead ex­po­sure, hu­man cap­i­tal for­ma­tion, and in­equal­ity: the im­pacts of lead ex­po­sure on long-run la­bor mar­ket out­comes (In Submission)

This pa­per es­ti­mates the short-run and long-run im­pacts of early child­hood lead ex­po­sure from drink­ing wa­ter on ed­u­ca­tional out­comes, the spa­tial and de­mo­graphic dis­tri­b­u­tion of these im­pacts, and the wel­fare im­pacts of lead abate­ment poli­cies. I merge data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on lead vi­o­la­tions un­der the Safe Drinking Water Act with data on in­di­vid­ual stan­dard test scores, ed­u­ca­tional at­tain­ment, and wages from re­stric­tive-use Texas data. I also match lead con­cen­tra­tion in drink­ing wa­ter with Blood Lead Levels (BLLs) data, ed­u­ca­tion and la­bor-mar­ket out­comes for a sub­group of in­di­vid­u­als for whom we can iden­tify their drink­ing wa­ter provider in Texas to un­der­stand the dose-re­sponse im­pacts of lead in drink­ing wa­ter. I find that lead ex­po­sure at birth from drink­ing wa­ter has significant neg­a­tive im­pact on stu­dents’ 3rd grade stan­dard test scores. In the long run, it also significantly re­duce the high school grad­u­a­tion rate.

Bringing Hydrologic Realism to Water Markets, with Danielle Grogan, Matthew D. Lisk, Shan Zuidema, Karen Fisher-Vanden4, Richard B. Lammers, Sheila M. Olmstead, Lara Fowler and Alexander A. Prusevich (In sub­mis­sion)

Water scarcity in arid re­gions is chal­leng­ing cur­rent wa­ter man­age­ment in­sti­tu­tions. Water mar­kets are im­por­tant adap­ta­tion tools as wa­ter stress in­creases be­cause they move wa­ter from lower- to higher-val­ued uses. However, analy­sis of wa­ter mar­kets lack­ing phys­i­cal wa­ter sys­tem dy­nam­ics can­not ad­e­quately cap­ture mar­kets’ po­ten­tial or lim­i­ta­tions. We de­velop a novel in­te­grated model of wa­ter rights trad­ing and phys­i­cal hy­drol­ogy to eval­u­ate wa­ter mar­kets in the U.S. West, and find that po­ten­tial agri­cul­ture-to-ur­ban trad­ing may gen­er­ate net eco­nomic re­turns two or­ders of mag­ni­tude larger than ex­ist­ing, lim­ited wa­ter mar­kets. Where ground­wa­ter rights are not reg­u­lated, mar­kets ex­ac­er­bate ground­wa­ter de­ple­tion, but dif­fer­ences in con­sump­tive wa­ter use al­low agri­cul­ture to re­tain un­ex­pected lev­els of wa­ter re­sources, even with strict ground­wa­ter con­straints.

Harmonized Database of Western U.S. Water Rights, with Matthew D. Lisk, Danielle S. Grogan, Shan Zuidema, Robert Caccese, Darrah Peklak, Sheila Olmstead, Karen Fisher-Vanden, Richard B. Lammers, and Lara Fowler (In Submission)

In the arid and semi-arid west­ern U.S., ac­cess to wa­ter is reg­u­lated through a le­gal sys­tem of wa­ter rights. Individuals, com­pa­nies, or­ga­ni­za­tions, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, and tribal en­ti­ties have doc­u­ments that de­clare their wa­ter rights. State wa­ter reg­u­la­tory agen­cies col­late and main­tain these records, which can be used in le­gal dis­putes over ac­cess to wa­ter. While these records are pub­licly avail­able data in all west­ern U.S. states, the data have not yet been read­ily avail­able in dig­i­tal form from all states. Furthermore, there are many dif­fer­ences in data for­mat, ter­mi­nol­ogy, and de­f­i­n­i­tions be­tween state wa­ter reg­u­la­tory agen­cies. Here, we have col­lected wa­ter rights data from 11 west­ern U.S. state agen­cies, har­mo­nized ter­mi­nol­ogy and use de­f­i­n­i­tions, for­mat­ted them con­sis­tently, and tied them to a west­ern U.S.-wide shape­file of wa­ter ad­min­is­tra­tive bound­aries. We demon­strate how these data en­able con­sis­tent re­gional-scale west­ern U.S. hy­dro­logic and eco­nomic mod­el­ing.

Suicide and Lithium in the Public Water Supply of 870 US Counties, with Paul von Hippel and Sheila Olmstead

Several stud­ies have re­ported that sui­cide rates are lower in ar­eas with higher con­cen­tra­tions of lithium in drink­ing wa­ter. Some au­thors have rec­om­mended adding lithium to the pub­lic wa­ter sup­ply. We es­ti­mate the as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween sui­cide and drink­ing-wa­ter lithium in the largest dataset yet used for this pur­pose. In 870 US coun­ties, we regress county sui­cide rates on lithium con­cen­tra­tions in ground­wa­ter and sur­face wa­ter. We con­trol for spa­tial cor­re­la­tion and county-level cor­re­lates of sui­cide rates, in­clud­ing eco­nomic con­di­tions and re­li­gious, racial, and eth­nic com­po­si­tion. With or with­out co­vari­ates, we find no significant as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween county sui­cide rates and the con­cen­tra­tion of lithium in the wa­ter sup­ply. Our re­sults do not sup­port a pol­icy of adding lithium to the wa­ter sup­ply.

Works in Progress