Articles and Chapters

By Shanti Gamper-Rabindran, Christopher Timmins - "Hazardous Waste Cleanup, Neighborhood Gentrification, and Environmental Justice: Evidence from Restricted Access Census Block Data".American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, forthcoming (May 2011).
We test for residential sorting and changes in neighborhood characteristics in response to the cleanup of hazardous waste sites using restricted access fine-geographical-resolution block data. We examine changes between 1990 and 2000 in blocks within 5km of sites that are proposed to the National Priority List that fall in a narrow interval of Hazardous Ranking Scores, comparing blocks near sites that were cleaned with those near sites that were not. Cleanup leads to increases in population density and housing unit density; increases in mean household income and shares of college-educated; but also to increases in the shares of minorities.

By Shanti Gamper-Rabindran, Christopher Timmins, Ralph Mastromonaco - "Valuing the Benefits of Superfund Site Remediation: Three Approaches to Measuring Localized Externalities".National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 16655, January 2011.
We apply three complementary approaches designed to identify the localized effects of Superfund site remediation under the CERCLA, examining data at the level of (i) the census tract (paying attention to within tract heterogeneity), (ii) the census block, and (iii) individual house transaction. Our analysis of the within-tract housing value distribution detects statistically and economically significant appreciation in the lower tails resulting from hazardous waste cleanup; deletion of a site raises tract-level housing values by 18.2% at the 10th percentile, 15.4% at the median, and 11.4% at the 60th percentile. These tract results are confirmed by (i) house transaction data that show cheaper houses within each tract are more likely to be exposed to waste sites within one kilometer, explaining their greater appreciation from site cleanup, and (ii) high-resolution census block data that show greater appreciation among blocks lying closer to the cleaned sites. House-level repeat-sales data confirm results from our national level census analysis by showing that deletion raises housing values relative to proposal in specific markets, such as northern New Jersey, but they also uncover a great heterogeneity in the effects of remediation across markets, with no statistical effects from deletion relative to proposal detected in Los Angeles metro, southwestern Connecticut or Boston metro.

By Taylor Seybolt - "Humanitarian Intervention and International Security" .Blackwell Publishing, 2010.
The article is part of the International Studies Association Compendium Project, a comprehensive review of the literature in the field of international studies. It traces the development of major trends in humanitarian intervention, a topic that lies at the intersection of realism and liberalism, where power and the material interests of states meet human rights and the responsibilities of sovereignty.

By Shanti Gamper-Rabindran, Christopher Timmins, Shakeeb Khan - "The Impact of Piped Water Provision on Infant Mortality in Brazil: A Quantile Panel Data Approach”.Journal of Development Economics. vol. 92, issue 2, pages 188-200, 2010.
We examine the impact of piped water on the under-1 infant mortality rate (IMR) in Brazil using a novel econometric procedure for the estimation of quantile treatment effects with panel data. The provision of piped water in Brazil is highly correlated with other observable and unobservable determinants of IMR - the latter leading to an important source of bias. Instruments for piped water provision are not readily available, and fixed effects to control for time invariant correlated unobservables are invalid in the simple quantile regression framework. Using the quantile panel data procedure in Chen and Khan (2007), our estimates indicate that the provision of piped water reduces infant mortality by significantly more at the higher conditional quantiles of the IMR distribution than at the lower conditional quantiles (except for cases of extreme underdevelopment). These results imply that targeting piped water intervention in areas with higher conditional quantiles of the IMR, when accompanied by other basic public health inputs, can achieve significantly greater reductions in infant mortality.

By M. Najeeb Shafiq, Abdulkader H. Sinno - "Education, Income, and Support for Suicide Bombings: Evidence from Six Muslim Countries".Journal of Conflict Resolution, 54(1) 146–178, February 2010.
"The authors examine the effect of educational attainment and income on support for suicide bombing among Muslim publics in six predominantly Muslim countries that have experienced suicide bombings: Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, and Turkey. The authors make two contributions. First, they present a conceptual model, which has been lacking in the literature. Second, they consider attitudes toward two different targets of suicide bombings: civilians within the respondent’s country and Western military and political personnel in Iraq. The authors find that the effect of educational attainment and income on support for suicide bombings varies across countries and targets. The findings therefore draw attention to the difficulties of making generalizations about Muslim countries and the importance of distinguishing between targets of suicide bombings."

By Taylor Seybolt, Kathyrn Collins, Owen Foley, Rebecca Johnson - “Does the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ Encourage Third-party Intervention?”.Paper presented at the annual conference of the American Political Science Association, Toronto, September 2009.

 Abstract: The concept that a state’s right to non-intervention is predicated on its responsibility to protect its population from harm has gained currency during the past decade. The corollary, as stated in the 2005 UN world Summit Outcome Document, is when a state manifestly is failing to uphold its responsibility, other actors in the international system have a responsibility to take action in a timely and decisive manner. According to the leaders of small states and academic critics, this challenge to the Westphalian notion of state sovereignty paves the way for more intervention by strong states in the internal affairs of weaker states. This paper tests this critique against a realist alternative hypothesis that the decision to intervene depends on perceived threats to national interests, not on a feeling of responsibility for the population of another state. The initial findings support the realist argument that the responsibility to protect (R2P) concept does not lead to more third-party military intervention. The constructivist argument that R2P dangerously encourages intervention is not supported. The data also show it is not true that most interventions are initiated by powerful countries against weak ones. It is more common for weak countries to initiate military action against other weak countries. Intervention was justified on the grounds of protecting civilians on a number of occasions in the post-cold war period. On most such occasions, the intervention was led by an international organization, not a selfish state. Overall, these findings refute the arguments that R2P encourages military intervention and that interventions are undertaken mostly by powerful states that try to hide their political motives behind humanitarian rhetoric.


By Taylor Seybolt - “Harmonizing the Humanitarian Aid Network: Adaptive Change in a Complex System”.International Studies Quarterly 53 (2009): 1027-1050.
Humanitarian aid operations save many lives, but they also fail to help many people and can have unintended political consequences. A major reason for the deficit is poor coordination among organizations. In contrast to ‘‘lessons learned’’ studies that dominate the literature on this topic, this article uses systemic network theory, drawn from business management literature. It presents the humanitarian aid community as a complex, open, adaptive system, in which interaction of structure and processes explain the quality of the response to environmental demands. Comparison of aid operations in Rwanda in 1994 and Afghanistan in 2001 probes the argument that the humanitarian system is becoming more effective by developing characteristics of a network through goal-directed behavior of participating organizations. The study finds development of network characteristics in the system when clusters of organizations learn to coordinate more closely, but the system is constrained by the workload of a crisis environment, lack of trust among organizations, and the political interests of donor governments.

By Vera Achvarina, Simon Reich - "No Place to Hide: Refugees, Displaced Persons, and the Recruitment of Child Soldiers".International Security, 31 (2006): 127-164, Summer 2006.
“The global number of child soldiers has grown significantly in the last two decades despite a series of protocols designed to curb this trend. They are generally employed in wars where belligerents spend more time attacking civilian populations than fighting professional armies. Used by both governments and rebel groups, child soldiers epitomize many of the problems associated with states at risk: intergenerational violence, poverty, and the failure of efforts to instill the rule of war. Both scholars in security studies and policymakers have largely regarded child soldier recruitment as a humanitarian issue. But recent events have linked child soldiering to insurgency and terrorism, suggesting that this issue is also developing a security dimension. This article examines contrasting arguments about the causes of child soldiering. Using data drawn from nineteen African conflicts, the authors argue that the major explanation for the significant variation in the percentage of child soldiers recruited is the degree of protection against abduction provided by governments and external actors to camps housing internally displaced persons and refugees.”

By Shanti Gamper-Rabindran, Christopher Timmins - "Estimating Localized Effects of Amenities on Housing Value Using Publicly Available Census Data: A Quantile Approach".In submission.
Hedonic property value models, widely used to estimate the benefits from public goods, often rely on tract-level Decennial Census because of its public availability and nationwide coverage. However, given highly localized externalities at the sub-tract level, the traditional approach of estimating benefits at the median tract-level housing prices may understate or fail to detect these benefits. We propose a simple method to recover these benefits by considering the entire distribution of housing values within the tract. We apply this method to the cleanup of hazardous waste sites under the Superfund program. This method reveals that cleanup of hazardous waste sites cause greater percentage appreciation in housing values at the lower tails of the distribution within the tract. We verify these results using two sources of restricted data. First, our block-level analysis finds comparable results of greater appreciation of housing values in blocks that lie closer to the sites. Second, our house-level analysis from Los Angeles metro finds that that cheaper houses within the tract are more likely to be exposed to the waste sites; thus, explaining their greater benefits from cleanup.

By Shanti Gamper-Rabindran, Stephen R. Finger - “Does Self-Regulation Reduce Pollution? Responsible Care in the Chemicals Industry”.In submission.
Responsible Care (RC) is a worldwide self-regulation program, whose goals include waste minimization beyond existing regulations. We estimate the impact of RC on plant-level pollution correcting for self-selection using exogenous characteristics of other plants belonging to the same firm. In a panel of 1,523 firms, which own 2,735 plants, in the US chemicals industry between 1988 and 2001, we find that participating plants do not reduce their pollution relative to statistically equivalent non-RC participants, both on average and for various subsets of firm and plant characteristics. We conclude that relia¬nce on similarly designed self-regulation programs to reduce pollution is premature.

By Shanti Gamper-Rabindran - “NAFTA and the Environment: What Can the Data Tell Us?”.Economic Development and Cultural Change. Vol. 54, pp. 605-633, April 2006.
Critics of trade liberalization agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have expressed concerns that polluting industries will locate in developing countries to evade more stringent regulation, with adverse environmental consequences. A study of NAFTA's effects on U.S.- Mexico trade finds that despite differences in the stringency of U.S. and Mexican environmental policies, NAFTA did not cause Mexico to specialize in dirtier industries between 1989 and 1999. Regarding the location of manufacturing production during the NAFTA transition, although growth was fastest in the congested Mexican border region, growth declined in the congested central region and increased in the less congested interior region, with all regions shifting toward less polluting industries. Most of the observed measures of air quality in the border region, which can serve as an indicator of NAFTA's short-term scale effects, do not exhibit significant breaks in their trend of improvement.

By Shanti Gamper-Rabindran - “Did the EPA's Voluntary Industrial Toxics Program Reduce Emissions? A GIS Analysis of Distributional Impacts and By-Media Analysis of Substitution”.Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, March 2006.
Voluntary programs in which manufacturing plants pledge to reduce their emissions beyond the legal requirement have been promoted as a low-cost way to achieve health and environmental protection. The EPA's Industrial Toxics program is evaluated using an author-assembled GIS-database of manufacturing plants in the 48 contiguous states, controlling for mandated reductions in ozone depleting chemicals and changes in reporting of emissions. I find that, controlling for participants' self-selection into the program, relative to non-participants, participants do not reduce their health-indexed emissions of target chemicals in several key industries. Where reductions are detected in selected industries, participants' increased off-site transfers to recyclers give reasons to question whether this program truly reduced emissions. Moreover, the program did not reduce emissions in less politically active communities.

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