To Beef or Not To Beef: Trade, Meat, and the Environment

D. Simon, 2020, Job Market Paper

Abstract: The agricultural sector is the second largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. How can food consumption choices reduce emissions? I estimate a model of meat demand using purchasing data of meat and other protein rich products from a European retailer. I combine the purchasing data with data on production and transport emissions. In several counterfactual exercises, I analyze the reaction of consumers to some popular, supposedly eco-friendly food consumption policies. Contrary to popular belief, I find that buying local increases emissions by around 5% compared to the status quo. While vegetarianism decreases emissions by around 17%, consuming no beef and cheese yields the highest decrease in emissions of around 34%. My results show that consumer behavior can have a large impact on the emissions of food consumption.

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Consumption Slowdown after the Great Recession

D. Simon, V. Sulaja, 2020

Abstract: The consumption growth in the US has considerably decreased since the last financial crisis. We argue that this happened due to controls imposed on banks that were facing foreclosure issues. Those banks that faced foreclosure issues have faced controls by government institutions, which increased their costs and decreased their supply of mortgage loans. As a result, counties more exposed to controlled banks faced a slower recovery of house prices and therefore wealth. Using data on employment and consumption we argue that it is the wealth effect originating from bank controls that decreased consumption growth. Banks decrease their mortgage loan origination by issuing lower number of loans and not by decreasing the average amount of loan.

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