Theses - Land Economy

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  • ItemEmbargo
    Evaluating subsidy programmes for ecological conservation: insights from quasi-experimental and experimental evidence
    Liu, Qi
    Given the increasing global concern surrounding ecological conservation, primarily attributed to significant biodiversity declines, the importance of protecting natural ecosystems and endangered species protection has become increasingly evident. This is crucial for ensuring regional ecological security and sustainable development. Due to the intricate relationship between farmers’ activities and their surrounding environment, they emerge as key stakeholders and implementers in long-term ecological conservation achievements. The engagement of rural villagers and farmers is essential in achieving ecological conservation and environmental protection goals. This thesis confronts a primary challenge in ecological conservation: the insufficient long-term impact valuation of ecosystem services, especially those influenced by farmers. China has spearheaded many significant initiatives in this direction, with its forest conservation policies standing out as a paradigm in advanced conservation efforts. In the first Chapter, I estimate the environmental effectiveness of Natural Forest Protection Program, one of the world’s most influential conservation programs due to its substantial investment magnitude and extensive geographical coverage. Using the spatial Regression discontinuity approach, I address both observed and unobserved heterogeneity in estimating the impact of the NFPP on forest cover. Further, the NFPP includes different provisions across property right regimes; therefore, I empirically test whether the state property regime (SOFEs) outperforms the private property regime (village forests) under the NFPP, which provides highly relevant empirical evidence for the debate surrounding the property right reform of China’s state-owned forests and natural resource governance in developing countries. Subsequent chapters address the challenges in current conservation efforts, focusing on Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) as an emerging policy tool for incentivizing environmental service provision. Despite some biodiversity gains, current conservation initiatives have occasionally fallen short in curbing ecological degradation effectively. One inherent characteristic of PES schemes lies in its payment structure. There is a growing emphasis on ‘Outcome-Based Payments’ (also known as results-based schemes) within PES schemes due to their potential for cost-effectiveness and enhanced environmental efficiency. In this Chapter, I examine farmers’ preferences towards participating in an outcome-based tree planting scheme through a choice experiment conducted in Yunnan, China. I incorporate uncertainty affecting environmental outcomes, which affects farmers’ payments, into the choice experiment design. Moreover, I introduce a measure of farmers’ risk perceptions using real-money lottery games in the field, and then investigate its influence on participation in outcome-based PES programs and the associated minimum willingness to accept (WTA) estimates. In all, I want to investigate the role of uncertainty and risk perceptions in shaping farmers’ decision-making processes in outcome-based PES. Furthermore, the integration of an auction mechanism within the PES, aimed at optimizing the allocation of conservation contracts, has the potential to enable cost-effective delivery of environmental services and goods. Additionally, enhancing spatial coordination in farmers’ participations can improve environmental outcomes for a range of important environmental targets, including species conservation, nutrient pollution reduction and habitat restoration. In the third chapter, I investigate a spatially coordinated auction mechanism for allocating agri- environmental contracts in China. This mechanism incentivizes farmers to change their agricultural practices for environmental benefits. This chapter examines the effectiveness of introducing agglomeration bonuses and joint bidding mechanisms to improve auction performance. Agglomeration Bonus (AB) payments are awarded to neighboring farmers who, although bidding individually, receive contracts simultaneously. The joint bidding (JB) mechanism enables collaborative bids with additional rewards for successful joint bids. The empirical study presented in the third chapter involved 432 Chinese farmers, who were randomly assigned to one of four different treatment groups in a comprehensive two-by-two factorial experimental design, aimed at determining the efficacy of these mechanisms.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Analysis of Environmental Treaty Design: A Data Science Approach
    Kunz, Martina; Kunz, Martina [0000-0002-1345-2538]
    There are hundreds if not thousands of international agreements governing all sorts of environmental problems, from endangered species and pollution to stratospheric ozone depletion and climate change. Analysing and describing the provisions of all these treaties using the traditional `reading and writing' approach has become all but impossible. The main proposals for solving this epistemic challenge involve either time-consuming manual approaches to building datasets, or use statistical natural language processing (NLP) for a different kind of content analysis. This thesis proposes an intermediate approach, leveraging rule-based NLP for dataset construction and employing statistics and machine learning only for downstream analysis. Traditional legal research can thus be supported and complemented while taking advantage of data science and automation. The approach is developed with a set of about 120 open multilateral environmental agreements and about 50 treaty design variables. Regular expression pattern matching is found to be well suited for accurate and precise extraction of information from common treaty provisions such as those on entry into force, amendment, supplementary agreements, treaty organs, withdrawal, termination and dispute settlement. Implementation-related provisions, including national reporting, international verification of compliance, treaty progress review, non-compliance procedures and sanctions are more difficult to capture and compare across treaties, but this difficulty itself is of interest for the analysis of treaty design. The variables, their distribution and associations are described and the speed of entry into force is predicted using various techniques including linear regression and neural networks. Regarding the larger epistemic challenge, the scalability of the approach is assessed and limitations of existing treaty databases and research practices are identified. Drawing from achievements of the bioinformatics and linked open data communities, I argue that a collaborative, incrementally expanding database, or findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) datasets would make the approach scalable. This relies on a standardised vocabulary or formal ontology for data integration. Accordingly, the thesis builds a proof-of-concept Public International Law Ontology and an NLP pipeline to populate the ontology with data gathered from treaty texts and participation records. Output formats and interfaces are designed for wide accessibility, without requiring programming skills. All software and data accompanying this thesis are available under a free and open source licence.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Examining the Dynamics of Urban Form, Flow, and Accessibility Using Geo-Computational Methods: A Case Study of Delhi
    Marwal, Aviral
    The adoration for cities is widespread across the globe. However, as urbanization escalates in the cities of the global south, concerns regarding unsustainable living have become increasingly prominent. Consequently, there is a pressing need to delve deeper into comprehending the essence of cities and their mechanisms. While understanding cities in terms of their physical configurations and the patterns of human spatial interaction has been a subject of multidisciplinary research over the past few centuries, significant advancements in the field of urban science have emerged in the last three decades. Complexity science and geo-computational models have enabled the study of cities as dynamic entities using a bottom-up approach. This thesis constructs a conceptual framework encompassing urban form, flow, and human behaviour, which is then applied to the city of Delhi to investigate critical urban phenomena. Specifically, it examines commuting behaviour, the spatial distribution of services, typologies of built-up forms, residential location choice, and built-up expansion. In this endeavour, the study aims to provide insights into pivotal questions within urban science. These include understanding why individuals travel longer distances to their workplaces and the factors that influence their choice of travel mode. Additionally, it investigates the spatial distribution of various services throughout the city for different socio-economic neighbourhoods. The impact of urbanization on unsustainable built-up forms is also explored, along with the relationship between density patterns, and city affordability. Moreover, the study explores how urban planning can be made more efficient by incorporating the decision-making processes of planners into simulation models. To undertake this research, diverse and novel datasets, including primary and secondary sources, were utilized for the city of Delhi. These encompassed field survey data on commuting behaviour; a spatial database containing population, income, and caste information for all residential locations in Delhi; street map data; and land satellite imageries. The study also employed various machine learning methods and spatial-statistical techniques, such as geographically weighted regression, k-means clustering, SHAP method, agent-based model, and neural network model. The empirical findings presented in the different chapters of this thesis demonstrate that in Delhi, both urban form and flow are interconnected and influenced by human behaviour. The spatial location of households and neighbourhoods within the city plays a significant role, as does the socioeconomic makeup of these areas, in determining commuting behaviour and the spatial distribution of services. From an urban planning perspective, the city exhibits spatial heterogeneity in neighbourhood design, with the majority of neighbourhoods characterized by unsustainable built-up forms. Consequently, monitoring future built-up expansion should be a priority for Delhi's planners. Using an agent-based and neural network model, this study constructs a prioritised growth model that has the potential to showcase how planning interventions can influence future spatial growth and built-up expansion within the city. Based on the findings of this study, we recommend that future planning interventions in Delhi consider the enhancement of accessibility for low-income groups alongside environmental sustainability.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Reaching Net Zero: Three Essays on Energy Conservation in Commercial Real Estate
    Atkinson, Yana
    Today, the building sector is one of the largest contributors to global emissions, making it a key priority in the race towards net zero. The climate agenda is also beginning to play a major role in driving the value of commercial assets, incentivising businesses that occupy, manage and own real estate to engage in energy conservation. In three papers, this work assesses the effectiveness of a suite of voluntary and regulatory strategies in steering the market towards increased energy efficiency and lower energy demand. The first article explores the effect of the UK’s Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulation on rental premiums of the London office market. The findings suggest that this policy has led to a significant decline in the rental value of office spaces directly affected by the regulation, as well as units with an energy performance certificate band closest to the compliance threshold. The second article examines the impact of energy management and productivity enhancing measures embedded in a green certification label that assesses sustainable operations and maintenance practices of existing buildings. Using data on four major US markets, the results indicate that while there are energy management features that decrease energy consumption, savings emerging from these measures are more than offset by certain indoor environment features. The third paper analyses the effectiveness of sub-metering in eradicating energy losses due to the split incentive problem by applying data on office buildings from seven US markets. The findings suggest that this feedback technology reduces inefficiencies arising from usage split incentives, while pointing to adverse energy consumption outcomes in contractual agreements where the tenant is responsible for energy payments. Nevertheless, a reduction in the variability of energy consumption and an increase in the rent premium are uncovered for this type of lease arrangement, suggesting that sub-metering may offer significant risk-reduction benefits in the eyes of the tenant.
  • ItemControlled Access
    Credit Default Risk and Market Risk Premium of Chinese Corporate Bonds
    Zhang, Sixia
    This thesis presents a comprehensive analysis of credit risk in China's corporate bond market. Utilising data on all Chinese corporate bonds issued by publicly traded companies before September 2020 and actual default cases, the research investigates credit risk from the perspectives of forecasting corporate bond defaults, measuring credit default risk, measuring credit default risk, and exploring the determinants of bond risk premiums at the individual level and excess bond premium at the market level. To measure credit default risk and forecast corporate bond defaults in China, this research applies three types of models: accounting-based Altman models, the Merton distance-to-default (DD) model, and the default hazard model. Our findings confirm the robustness of three original Altman models in predicting Chinese corporate bond defaults within a one-year horizon. Re-estimating and revising these models significantly enhance predictive power and extend the forecasting horizon to three years. The three Altman models are robust across estimation methods, with the Z'-score model being most effective in China's bond market. Additionally, our results show the DD as the solution of the Merton model is not a sufficient statistic for measuring default risk, and its discriminatory power is sensitive to the solution's derivation approach. The structural form of the Merton model offers more information for default forecast than DD. Building on these findings, the research develops a hybrid default hazard model that combines financial ratios from the Altman models with variables derived from the Merton-DD model, outperforming the other models in predictive accuracy. Lastly, determinants of the market price of corporate bond risk premium are investigated using a dual-level credit spread modelling approach and credit spread decomposition technique, accounting for China's corporate bond market's unique characteristics. Credit spread magnitudes are determined by bond and firm-specific factors, and the implicit government guarantee for state-owned enterprises significantly reduces credit risk premiums for these companies. In the meantime, dynamics of the monetary policy tools, Treasury term structure and economic growth are significant determinants of excess bond premium at the market level.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Urbanisation of Rural-Urban Migrants: A Case Study of Shiminhua in The Greater Bay Area of China
    Zhao, Hongsheng
    This thesis on “The Urbanisation of Rural-urban Migrants: A Case Study of the Greater Bay Area (GBA) of China” is designed to answer the research question of "How does the phenomenon of *shiminhua* (urbanisation of rural-urban migrants) unfold in Chinese cities?". It is articulated by two sub-research questions: " What are suitable indicators for measuring the level of *shiminhua*?" and “What are the features that facilitate or prevent the process of *shiminhua*?” with a case study on the Chinese GBA region. To answer the questions, a mixed-method approach was adopted using Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) to construct *shiminhua* indicators from migrants, completing survey questionnaires to test the indicators and to identify the impact factors, and conducting semi-structured interviews with exploring the dynamics in the process. First-hand qualitative and quantitative data collected from fieldwork in GBA were first analysed separately and subsequently triangulated and corroborated with previous literature. This research found that the rural-urban migrant’s perception on *shiminhua* is sharply in contrast with the discourse of *shiminhua* by the government. From the migrants’ view, *shiminhua* is an incremental process accompanied by the development of a compromised place attachment and an internalised urban identity. Therefore, place attachment and urban identity are the two most effective alternative indicators for measuring *shiminhua* with settlement intention as a supplementary indicator. In GBA, homeownership in the city, and social circle with a majority of urban natives are associated with high level of *shiminhua*, while a local hukou, ability in Cantonese and children’s education are of potential impacts. Successful *shiminhua* can be achieved by combining personal striving, supportive urban governance in reducing local barriers and continuing institutional reforms in hukou at the regional and national level. Findings of this study imply that government’s interpretation of *shiminhua* need to reconcile with the migrants’ perception on *shiminhua*, by incorporating the above-mentioned impact factors. Moreover, cultural-psychological indicators of place attachment and urban identity can be adopted by the studies of the acculturation process which are similar to the *shiminhua* process. Finally, this thesis indicates that more research drawing onto interdisciplinary theories and mixed-method can be applied to investigate the interaction of people and the built-environment in the process of urbanisation.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Land, history, and housing: Colonial legacies and land tenure in Greater Kuala Lumpur
    Mustapha, Nur Fareza
    What land is available for the development of non-market housing in Greater Kuala Lumpur (KL) and how do housing providers attain the rights to them? In Malaysia, the power relations that underlie the relationship between land, housing, and society are entrenched in historically path dependent processes that were instigated at specific critical junctures in the country’s colonial history. This research utilizes historical institutionalist concepts and analytical approaches to reconceptualize existing constraints in the land and housing markets in Greater KL. Findings from the research highlight the role of existing land institutions in structuring the capacity of critical actors to produce non-market housing. This study bridges the analysis of contemporary findings with their historical underpinnings. Data were collected over a 16-month period of fieldwork, from 2019 to 2020, using a two-part data strategy that combines qualitative data from in depth interviews with elite participants alongside archival data from repositories as well as secondary sources to illustrate this relationship. The findings show that the corresponding rights to land in Malaysia can be held and controlled by a complex constellation of actors depending on how these rights are allocated, which may differ depending on whether these claims are assessed through the legislative framework or in practice. More specifically, differences in claimants over the right of disposal, use, and dealings may lead to friction during the land procurement process when the interests of these claimants are not aligned. This study further finds that differences in power exist among critical actors within the non-market housing sector and remains an important factor in determining housing outcomes. The research specifies two development pathways along which negotiations for the procurement of land transpire, i.e., the constitutional and the operational, based on the different levels of power entrenchment that guide the actions of critical actors and influence their bargaining positions. iv This study further identifies three critical junctures that altered the way land is governed in Malaysia in significant ways. The first introduced the concept of allodial rights into the existing Malay tenure system, the second installed separate spheres of government within the Federated Malay States, and the third ratified allodial rights to its rights holder within a newly minted national constitution. This study illustrates that the emergence of critical junctures was contingent on both the capacity of actors to capitalize on and benefit from the external shifts that jolted their prevailing social systems as well as the propensity of the external shock to successfully generate a tangible impact onto the agency of the critical actors. These transformations were shown to catalyse institutional innovations that promoted an intended advancement in the land tenure system of the country. Inherent to this process, the findings suggest that the institutional innovations acted as a medium to allocate and transfer power between critical actors in a causal cycle that allows those to benefit from this innovation to solidify their positions. This study contributes to knowledge with its empirical and conceptual findings as well as methodology. The empirical and conceptual findings generate understanding on the role of institutional structures in determining land and housing outcomes in Greater Kuala Lumpur. It considers how rights to land and property are allocated, distributed, and negotiated within the housing system and see power as the driving force in shaping housing outcomes in non-market housing developments. The use of the critical juncture framework as well as the historical institutional approach provide new insights into how land and housing constraints are conceptualized. It highlights the need to consider the contextual dynamism (both spatial and temporal) of the site of intervention when policy reforms are instituted. Lastly, the methodology used in this research introduces a new approach for amalgamating contemporary and historical data within housing studies.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The evolution of land and housing markets in informal settlements in Zambia: Analysis of formal and informal institutions.
    Musa, Chilombo
    ABSTRACT This thesis traces the development of land and housing markets in an informal settlement, Kanyama, in Zambia to determine the institutional structure that characterises their operation. Taking a new institutionalist approach, the thesis uses historical, rational choice, and sociological institutionalism concepts to reveal a complex and multi-layered process of institutional interactions in market processes. The study shows that informal land and housing markets are structured at the micro, meso, and macro levels and reveals an entanglement of institutional arrangements in facilitating access to land, housing construction, and market transactions. The thesis also shows that informal institutions are intricately tied to formal institutions, and constant interactions have structured market processes since Kanyama emerged in the colonial period. New institutions arise from existing institutions and adapt to changing socioeconomic environments. However, the exogenous changes from political and economic reforms were not as abrupt as critical juncture theory holds. Instead, subtle and gradual shifts that arose through everyday interactions between residents of Kanyama, local leaders, and the government culminated in significant change years and even decades later. These changes led to the structural transformation of the social networks that guided initial settlement in Kanyama and subsequently influenced the housing market to evolve from predominant owner-occupation to a primarily rental market. Although social networks remain strong in the community, they exist mainly at the family level, and the clan structure that exists in rural areas from which Kanyama’s residents initially emigrated is no longer prominent. The thesis concludes that markets are processes, malleable to changes in the physical, social, economic, and political environments and responsive to the needs of actors who exert power at different stages of market development. The institutional process tracing undertaken here was informed by a mixed-methods approach that involved primary and secondary data collection through in-depth interviews, observation, focus group discussions, a survey, and archival research.
  • ItemEmbargo
    China’s role in the evolution of the global electricity sector - A comparative empirical analysis
    Sauer, Juergen
    Despite infrastructure investment estimates that range in the trillions under China’s Belt and Road Initiative and which are so far focusing on the electricity sector, we have a limited understanding of China’s role in the evolution of the global electricity sector. This is largely because China does not systematically disclose the details of its overseas development programs. To overcome this hurdle, this thesis develops, compiles and analyzes a novel dataset that draws on commercial data tracking, publicly available datasets, and more than 1,000 supporting documents. It matches financial transactions by the main Chinese Developmental Institutions (CDIs) and traditional Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) to power plant projects worldwide (Chapter 2). The analysis illustrates how CDIs rapidly emerged as the largest public finance provider globally and shows how most of the support is directed towards coal plants, albeit more efficient coal plants over time. Building on the newly constructed dataset and econometric two-part models, this research then illustrates how CDIs are increasingly supporting power projects in countries that are politically aligned with China on human rights, while simultaneously shifting toward concentrating their investments into wealthier countries with higher electrification rates (Chapter 3). Finally, Chapter 4 moves away from focusing on the main types of funding actors by creating a granular unit-level network perspective that features the main commercial partners involved in CDI-funded power plants globally. Using network analysis techniques and other econometric methods, it identifies distinct collaboration patterns in CDI-supported plants and detects convergence trends between the networks supported by CDIs and MDBs.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Engagement and conflict in Hong Kong planning: a post-political inquiry
    Lee, Hoi
    Informed by the theory of post-politics, this PhD explores public engagement and conflict in Hong Kong planning. It seeks to develop a deeper understanding of the escalating antagonism in the city, as well as to improve theory by probing post-politics’ applicability to a non-Western context. This thesis begins with an introduction to planning theory, particularly the emergence of post-politics as a popular lens in the analysis of contemporary planning practice. Hong Kong’s political context and planning system are also reviewed. This leads onto a deeper investigation in Chapter 2 of how the city’s situation may diverge from theory. Chapter 3 presents the methodology, with a particular focus on discourse analysis. The challenges brought about by Covid-19 and political changes in Hong Kong are also discussed. Chapter 4 to 6 contain my empirical findings. Chapter 4 concerns a land supply consultation exercise which aimed to achieve consensus. Drawing on post-politics’ critique, it explores Hong Kong’s tradition of “consensus politics” and studies the techniques the government had used to foreclose debate over the consultation period. Chapter 5 turns to those in resistance, with a focus on rural squatters in Hong Kong. Informed by concepts such as radical democracy and subjectivation, it investigates the construction of meanings and identities by different actors. Chapter 6 looks into the future by reflecting on the implications on resistance as the political space in Hong Kong tightens. In particular, it studies the issue of hope, tracing the shift of its location through different stages of resistance. Chapter 7 concludes. This thesis has identified the potential of the application of post-politics to non-Western contexts such as Hong Kong, as well as disparities that future studies should take into consideration. It covers two dimensions of post politics — as a governing technique and as a lens to analyse and inform resistance. I argue that this thesis can be taken both as a cautionary tale for the Hong Kong authorities and an inspiration for those in resistance.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The economic and social consequences of housing tenure
    Felici, Marco
    This thesis explores the consequences of housing tenure in three separate yet interlinked domains that entail economic and social dimensions: portfolio choice, mental health, and voting behaviour. It does so by crystallising the fundamental features of housing tenure and by characterising conceptually tenure transitions as salient events, drawing tight links to recent advances in the statistics of event studies. Crucially, an individual’s housing tenure stems from an endogenous decision that makes it hard to disentangle causal effects. I approach such an identification problem by leveraging insights in housing theory from different disciplines, in combination with the bleeding edge of the realm of statistics that focuses on events affecting different groups at different points in time. I argue that housing, because of its dual nature as both a weighty consumption good and a large asset in portfolios, can be seen as the connecting point between seemingly disparate areas of the lived experience of individuals and households. While housing tenure can take many forms, I focus mostly on a tripartite categorization in renting, mortgaged homeownership, and outright homeownership. Consequently, the events of interest are two: the transition from renting to mortgaged homeownership and the transition from mortgaged homeownership to outright homeownership. Using large surveys from the United Kingdom, I find both transitions to have consequences but, in fact, the transition to outright homeownership to be more conspicuous. Such findings have implications for policy: while I do not analyse housing policy changes per se, tracing out the consequences of tenure transitions offers insights on how changes in tenure composition (possibly propelled by policy decisions) may affect aggregate outcomes. The discussion of the fundamental features of housing tenure, as well as of the tenure transition as an event and its statistical implications, constitute the first chapter of the thesis. The remaining chapters delve into the three realms of portfolio choice, mental health, and voting behaviour, delineating the connections between them.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Development of Market Mechanisms Under International Law to Advance Sustainable Development: An Analysis of the Frameworks Related to Climate Change and Biodiversity
    Phillips, Freedom-Kai
    Achievement of sustainable development in light of ongoing climate change and biodiversity pressures benefits from the deployment of innovations that foster engagement and uptake across all levels, mobilises finance flows commencement to the scale of the challenge, and enables the dissemination of transition solutions that support the low carbon economy. This research investigates the relationship between the legal architecture of market mechanisms under international law and the role of private actors, and how this contributes to sustainable development. Through an exploration of how market mechanisms under the climate change and biodiversity regimes have achieved environmentally sound outcomes, been advanced in sectoral approaches, and facilitated via bilateral and multilateral trade and investment relationships, important insights are identified regarding the composition of effective law and governance architectural approaches. Leveraging experiences derived from treaty practice viewed through an interactional account of international law, this assessment elucidates the important role played by alignment of legal regimes, robust transparency measures, and complementary schemes such as stakeholder-endorsed certifications in buttressing the established measures to ensure sustainable development outcomes and contributes to understanding the role of private actors in the operationalisation of environmental agreements. Research findings suggest it is the interaction of norms across the international legal architecture, informed by relationships within and across relevant treaty systems and the general corpus of international law, and actualised through engagement with private actors as a component of market mechanisms that provides the opportunity for congruence of practice, forging of shared understandings, and normative internalisation and ownership among communities of practice that stimulates both innovative solutions and ambitious action.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Radical Activism in the Misinformation Age - How can Social Movements Counter the Circulation of Online False Information About Climate Change?
    Corsi, Giulio
    Over the past several years, online disinformation and misinformation concerning climate change have gained substantive attention within the scientific community. However, while the dynamics that drive the circulation of false online information have been analysed extensively, it remains unclear whether (and how) this phenomenon can be counteracted. This research project analyses the emerging role of bottom-up mobilisations as a form of noise-reduction, thereby examining how social movements may deploy peer-produced communication narra- tives to counteract the circulation of online disinformation and misinformation relating to climate change. To investigate this communication dynamic, this research applies techniques from computational social sciences to an original dataset of ≈ 250k Facebook posts produced by two movements that best embody this novel and innovative generation of radical envi- ronmental activism: Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future. The central thesis of this project forwards two original contributions to the fields of climate change communication and social movement studies. First, it analyses the emergence of a new generation of radical climate change movements and the significance of this new development in climate activism (Chapter II). Second, it offers interdisciplinary empirical evidence on how radical climate movements can act as a bottom-up force for what I term ‘epistemic activism’. It presents a theoretical framework where activist-led, peer-produced communication can provide a coun- tering force to both vertical disinformation and horizontal misinformation. It quantitatively analyses two channels through which these forms of false information can be opposed. For reducing vertical disinformation, this work assesses the use of naming and shaming against information polluters (Chapter III), while for horizontal misinformation, it evaluates the dissemination of scientific counter-narratives (Chapter IV). Ultimately, this thesis shows that the two movements under analysis engage extensively in epistemic activism, with great potential to influence the online climate change debate positively.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Unlocking energy-water nexus and incentivizing energy-saving behavior in Indian agriculture - Discrete choice approach
    Kaur, Sukhgeet
    Replacing inefficient subsidies with better alternatives is a formidable task in developing countries. Reform is even more daunting when there is free supply of electricity in a sector that is the backbone of the economy. This thesis is set against the background of the policy of free supply of electricity to agriculture in India’s agricultural state of Punjab. The emerging evidence-based assessment of sustainable alternatives to replace free access of electricity to agriculture from this study would be equally applicable to economies and geographies grappling with the problem of inefficient electricity subsidies. There are multiple possibilities as the interaction between water and energy sectors in agriculture is multilayered. This thesis examines farmers’ preferences for innovative solutions collected with the help of discrete choice experiments involving groundbreaking field work. The work presented in this thesis is probably one of the first of its kind, to the best of the author’s knowledge. Despite mounting evidence that electricity subsidies to agriculture are fundamentally unsustainable, opposition to reform presents a problem for governments. Governments must be able to convince farmers to successfully advocate reform and unlock the water-energy nexus, which represents both a low-level policy equilibrium and a crisis in environmental governance. This PhD thesis based on four discrete choice experiments and complemented with insights from behavioral sciences examines the crucial role of preferences in predicting farmers’ support for alternatives that compensate them for the losses associated with reforming subsidies. In the three chapters, micro-level data from 3436 interactions with farmers in Punjab yielding 36078 responses is econometrically analyzed to explore preferences and behavioral responses for interventions that can potentially keep the electricity subsidies as low as practically possible and incentivize sustainable use of water and energy in agriculture. The research suggests that the consideration of heterogeneity in preferences and valuations for energy-saving interventions can help in reconciling the achievement of reform objectives with securing public support and protection of vulnerable groups. The first chapter presents a summary, and the second chapter presents an introduction to the study. The sixth chapter presents the conclusions of the study. The third, fourth and fifth chapters examine farmers preferences with the help of three discrete choice experiments to alternatives that can replace free electricity and ensure more sustainable resource use in Indian agriculture. The third chapter examines farmers’ preferences and response behavior to the potential introduction of economic incentives for inducing the adoption of low-water rice varieties and the willingness to trade off free electricity for these incentives. The estimation strategy applies conditional logit and random effects probit to highlight positive valuations for different economic incentives – area-based payments and minimum assured prices which can drive adoption decisions. The chapter shows that willingness to pay depends on the type of electricity tariff, which could be exploited to encourage payment behaviour and bring about reductions in energy use. The fourth chapter applies the econometric estimation approach developed in the third chapter to an original data set of preferences to examine the potential for introducing an annual free electricity entitlement, reward system and incentive-penalizing tariffs in inducing acceptance of metering with payment option and adoption of energy-saving behavior among farmers. The results of the choice experiment demonstrate acceptance of the annual limit of free electricity, reward, and incentive for unused units, which can serve as important determinants in the transition towards metered consumption in Punjab agriculture. Further, designing behavioral interventions around small rewards and punishments can be useful, even if penalties are rarely used. Finally, the fifth chapter sheds light on farmers’ preferences for financial incentives to promote the diffusion of solar PV irrigation pumps in Punjab agriculture. The flexible mixed logit formulation is additionally applied to improve the willingness to pay/willingness to accept estimates and economic evaluations. The results show that initial subsidies have a significant impact on encouraging installation of solar irrigation pumps, whereas the buyback option has a positive effect on encouraging acceptance of grid connected solar irrigation pumps. The effect of the type of purchase option and contextual factors is considered on the acceptance of grid-connected solar pumps and willingness to pay. The approach attempts to predict farmers’ preferences for an integrated platform of distributed solar power generation in the future. The three studies illustrate strong preferences for the replacement of high-water intensive crop varieties by low-water rice varieties, substitution of unmetered supply of free electricity by metered consumption, and adoption of renewable energy in the energy mix with the help of moderate incentives offered to farmers. The cost-benefit analysis shows that the potential savings from economic and environmental benefits could compensate for the welfare losses. These complementary reform strategies have a large potential for the protection of water resources, which have reached a critical level, the reduction of electricity subsidy to agriculture, the magnitude of which has become unsustainable to continue for government budgets and the adoption of energy saving behaviour among Punjab farmers who are perceived to be opposed to reform. The refined econometric estimations shed light on the peculiarities of farmer heterogeneity, and the usefulness of deploying differentiated incentives to promote participation in electricity saving and energy conservation strategies. The findings have practical implications for environmental governance and agricultural development and contribute to an understanding of incentivizing energy-saving behavior in agriculture in a developing country. The study establishes that there is room for reform that can be widely acceptable to all stakeholders.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Building adaptive smart transport governance using citizen-centric data
    Chen, Yiqiao; Chen, Yiqiao [0000-0003-3575-5553]
    With the increasing popularity of the concept “smart city”, many cities have adopted smart governance to address complex socio-economic and spatial issues in urban areas. Smart transport governance is applying innovations in the process of collective decision making in response to the technological and other changes in smart transport development. Governing smart transport, as a key priority in smart cities, faces old and new challenges such as managing complex uncertainties, considering alternative futures, involving citizens and correct analysis of their needs, as well as changing roles of governance. Robust theoretical and practical understandings of smart transport governance are useful for planners and policymakers to address these challenges and transform the urban mobility system towards accessible, sustainable, and innovative futures. This PhD research explores the complexities in smart transport governance from theoretical, methodological, and practical aspects with a special focus on citizens’ needs. Four gaps in theory, methods, and practice are addressed in six chapters. In Chapter 2, a systematic literature review is performed to enhance the theoretical understanding of smart transport governance and its linkage with complexity theory in cities (CTC) and urban data science (UDS). A citizen-centric adaptive governance framework is proposed. Using the proposed framework to understand specific issues in smart transport governance, Chapters 3-5 conduct empirical studies. Chapter 3 first assesses the existing smart transport governance and development, using a new evaluation framework. Within English metropolitan areas, Greater London ranks first in smart transport development. Chapter 4 zooms into Greater London and applies novel methods to understand citizens’ activity-travel patterns with uncertainties. Typical activity-travel patterns before COVID-19 and the emerging self-organising changes when COVID-19 first hit London are identified. To supply quick insights into the pandemic’s impact on different sub-systems, Chapter 5 senses the public opinion towards different transport sub-systems through real-time social media big data. Dynamic behavioural changes and potential opportunities for smart transport transitions are found. The outcomes of this research support the idea that CTC and UDS can enhance existing smart transport governance in terms of adaptive planning, robust analysis, and citizen involvement. We have identified and discussed emerging technologies and abrupt crises that add complexity to the urban transport sector on its way to transforming into smart transport. Adaptive understanding with the help of citizen-centric data is crucial for planning uncertain futures. Despite some limitations, the studies can provide theoretical and practical implications for smart transport governance in an increasingly complex world. The study also shows significant potential for future development and further applications of the adaptive governance framework.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Sacred Justices: Seeking Indigenous Environmental Justice in Courts
    Aravind, Sakshi
    This thesis studies how courts encounter and engage with Indigenous environmental justice (IEJ) in litigation pursued by Indigenous communities in Australia, Brazil, and Canada. The thesis advances IEJ as a principle that may be framed, used and developed in juridical spaces. The research draws from existing scholarship, primarily Indigenous scholarship, and offers an intellectual map of IEJ that is a receptacle for, amongst others, plural sovereignties, Indigenous epistemologies, and land-environment-cultural relationships. To this end, the thesis proposes a conceptual understanding of law as a narrative and adjudication as knowledge production. It argues that legal knowledge production enables courts to be a part of epistemic communities that remedy present environmental harms and past injustices that are engendered in settler colonialism. Indigenous voices become paramount for such knowledge production. The thesis explores how Indigenous voices are received within adjudication through doctrinal analysis of Indigenous environmental litigation in the three jurisdictions. Further, it examines what implications such reception has for the outcome of the litigation and the framing of IEJ. The materials studied here testify to the innate ability of courts to draw from existing laws generously and innovate where necessary in order to answer the difficult questions of justice and sovereignty raised by Indigenous environmental litigation. Whilst courts are accustomed to certain forms of litigation, contemporary environmental pressures demand conceptual apparatus of a different kind. Although legitimacy and integrity are highly valued within juridical spaces, they are not immutable concepts. The thesis argues that IEJ provides an opportunity to reconfigure juridical integrity by including Indigenous voices and challenging settler colonial legality through settler courts. In addition, it also makes a case for juridical openness, where present courts may deal with questions of Indigenous sovereignty more sympathetically to allow future jurisprudence to assume more radical standpoints.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Party Wall Disputes: Legal Coherence and Dispute Management
    Lintott, Laura
    Summary: This thesis analyses a spectrum of legal and factual issues linked to party walls and related disputes that, to date, have not been brought and analysed together. The aim is to provide a contextual analysis of these different areas of law and fact and thereby formulate a separate area of party walls and related disputes of its own merit, to provide a more comprehensive understanding of party wall disputes and a framework to help resolve party wall disputes in a practical and effective way. The thesis: (a) Analyses the meaning of a 'party wall'. (b) Analyses the regime of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (PWA 1996). (c) Presents different party wall dispute resolution avenues. It includes a number of case law examples and party wall scenarios where disputants ended up going to court. Chapter IV focuses on how disputes may be resolved in the light of the dispute resolution process of the PWA 1996 as well as court process and alternative dispute resolution procedures. This thesis advocates for pragmatic and cost-/time-effective solutions outside of court where possible. (d) Looks beyond the PWA 1996 and connects separate areas of law/fact, providing a contextual view of the issues relevant to party wall disputes as it is not sufficient to rely only on the PWA 1996. These include: (i) Statutory rights (Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992, Law Property Act 1925, Land Registration Act 2002, Human Rights Act 1998, Crossrail Act 2008 and the High-Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) & (West Midlands – Crewe) Acts 2017). (ii) Proprietary rights – easements (right of way/support, drainage rights and whether there is an ancillary right or obligation to repair or not). (iii) Tort (noise, vibration and nuisance related to the right to light). (iv) Factual issues around structural matters relevant to party walls.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Corporate Bonds and Equities: A Comparison of Returns
    Maitra, Anando
    Equity markets are amongst the most researched areas in asset pricing literature. Data availability and the liquid and transparent nature of equity markets have aided research in this domain. The research on corporate bond markets is considerably less due to both the illiquid and over-the-counter (OTC) nature of these markets which have resulted in less easy availability of reliable data sources. Corporate bond and equities possess commonalities in their behaviour largely because of being at different points in the capital structure of firms. Indeed, adverse news for a company should adversely affect the pricing of both the firm’s equity and debt. As a result, practitioners often consider corporate bonds as a combination of government-bonds and beta-adjusted equities used as a proxy for credit exposure. In the thesis however, we seek to demonstrate that credit risk, although highly correlated in the short term, can be different from equity risk. The seminal work on the pricing of corporate debt was by Robert Merton (Merton 1974). The Merton model represented corporate debt as the combination of a risk-free asset and a short position in a put option on the assets of the firm. Equity was represented as a long call option on the assets of the firm. Since then models such as Black and Cox (1976) and Leland (1994) have extended the Merton model but the key features of corporate bond pricing and its co-movement with equity prices are still well represented by the Merton model. The Merton model, while capturing a point of commonality – the common effect of changes in asset prices to equity and debt price – and a key difference – the left-tailed nature of corporate debt returns – does not address other key areas of differences between the two asset classes. One area of difference, studied extensively in the empirical literature, but not in structural models is the significant difference in liquidity and trading dynamics between the two markets. Another key area of difference between the two markets comes from the differing type of investors. Regulations, which are much more onerous for corporate debt than equities, can lead to non-market-driven behaviour such as a significant aversion to downgrades. The goal of my PhD thesis is to study the commonality and differences between these two asset classes and Its implication on the cross-section of corporate bond returns. Specifically, we look at three aspects of differences between corporate and equities. The first chapter focuses on the issuance of corporate bonds and contrasts with equity issuance. It starts with the issuance process and analyses the new issue premiums in corporate bonds contrasting it with results seen in equity initial public offerings (IPOs). This chapter also analyses the determinants of corporate bond issuance concessions. The second chapter looks at the short-term commonalities and differences between the performance patterns of corporate bonds and equities. This chapter merges two distinct branches of literature on structural credit models and commonalities in corporate bond-equity behaviour with that of cross-asset momentum. The last two chapters focus on the topical area of exchange traded funds and their dislocations, as measured by the significant deviations between prices and net-asset-values (NAV), seen in this market during the extreme volatility at the peak of the Covid-19 crisis in March 2020. Specifically in chapter 4, we study the dislocation in fixed-income and specifically corporate bond ETFs and contrast it with the relatively better-behaved equity ETFs. We show that this relative dislocation is not just from liquidity differences and that the ETF price may have been an over-reaction. In chapter 5, we build a model for ETF arbitrage specifically taking into account incentives of the arbitrageurs, a critical difference between fixed income and equity ETFs. We show that inventory management by dual market makers and arbitrageurs may have exacerbated the dislocation.
  • ItemControlled Access
    The Development and Management of Gated Communities in China: The Case of Shanghai from a New Institutionalist Perspective
    Jia, Yiru; Jia, Yiru [0000-0001-9017-9179]
    Gated communities across the world have become a complex constellation, which have triggered new questions. For example, how do gated communities respond to ongoing urban transformation and changing regulatory environments? How are gated communities managed for long-term survival? How are the common properties within gated communities organized and allocated? These multi-faceted but interrelated issues are largely framed by those who are closely involved in the localised-scale development and management processes, including local governments, developers, professional property management companies, and homeowners, although the author does not deny the influence of actors and institutional rules acting beyond the microscale. This thesis examines the power relations among the key actors involved in different points of decision-making during the development and management of gated communities, regarding the initial development stage, the physical design, common ownership, and collective management of gated communities. Shanghai, one of the most developed Chinese cities with a burgeoning housing market, is used as a case study. China provides a very different institutional context from Western countries, including the inadequate legal protection for individual property rights and the supreme intervention of local governments in urban development and community governance. Drawing upon new institutionalism and using a primarily qualitative research method, the research investigates not only who has more power over whom and the degrees of power imbalance, but also what types of power are borne by various actors and the various ways that power is exercised through the operation of institutional rules. Also, the research explores the bases of legitimacy of different actors’ behaviour. This thesis argues that the micro-level power dynamics in developing and managing gated communities is heavily influenced by informal rules and legitimacy under the structural context of an unfledged market, the nascent civil society, and the powerful state in urban China. Actors carrying out these processes often conduct convert practices to evade responsibility and maintain their self-interest, while appearing to conform to formal rules. Local governments and their internal departments are not merely the rule implementers, whereas developers, property management companies, and homeowners are neither only rule takers. The control of land resources and the enforceable formal legislation do not guarantee Chinese local governments ultimate resource and regulatory power over market players and homeowners. The author discloses that the local government’s regulatory power is weakened by the inconsistent goals and unequal power of different functional departments, allowing non-government actors to capitalize on every rent-seeking opportunity.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Microfinance and Mobile phones: an economic analysis of the perceptions, management and measurement of environmental risk in rural Kenya
    Vosper, Samuel
    The research compiled in this thesis aims to explore a few core questions related to the perceptions, management and measurement of climate risk within the context of smallholders in Kenya. It makes use of a unique data set comprising of nearly 200,000 adoptions of a pioneering weather index insurance that was bundled with a hybrid seed product and available over several seasons. The first empirical chapter econometrically explores the role of basis risk in the continued uptake of the bundled index insurance product. The findings conclude that localised experience of both positive and negative basis risk compound an uncertainty of the product and consequently stifle demand. This presents evidence to suggest that smallholders do indeed view these products risk mitigating mechanisms rather than investments under balanced reciprocity. The second empirical study, using the same dataset, explores the effect that ‘experimentation’ and ‘learning’, by repeat users of the bundled index insurance product, has on another adaptive agricultural behaviour (changes to sowing timings). This work provides suggestive evidence of ‘learning’ that consequently leads to improved sowing decisions and lower insurance pay-outs for repeated users. This offers some valuable policy insights for the structuring of insurance premiums within these products. The final research project used a sample of the same database of farmers to conduct a large scale field experiment which sought to collect risk preference data in a novel way (via mobile phone). This data is analysed within a pioneering Bayesian modelling framework to track how risk preferences update given changing environmental contexts. The study identifies a notable reduction in risk aversion post-harvest as well as evidence of increased levels of localised risk aversion in more challenging climates and following weather shocks. This work supports an evolutionary model of risk preferences and may also offer applied insights for development practitioners pursuing the effective delivery of risk mitigation mechanisms.