The Impact of Drought and Drought Regulation on Crime in South Africa

All societies rely on water as an essential input for life and economic activity. Droughts and other negative shocks to the water supply may contribute to negative societal outcomes such as crime. This paper tests one channel through which drought affects social outcomes: crime. Specifically, I estimate the effect of South Africa’s recent extreme drought (2015–2018) on crime. Using a police-station by year panel, I exploit variation in the timing of droughts and water management policies to explain changes in crime. I find that violent crimes increase by 10%, police-detected crimes fall by 20%, and that there is no discernible impact on sex crimes or property crimes. These findings suggest that in the future, especially as severe droughts become more prevalent due to climate change, crime prevention may be an important component of climate policy.

Interactive Map of Drought in South Africa: 2009-2018

Interactive Map of Crime Rates in South Africa 2009-2018


Do Housing Bubbles Affect Hedonic Property Value Estimates? A Monte Carlo Experiment

This study examines how the presence of a bubble in the housing market affects estimates in a hedonic property value model. The study uses Monte Carlo simulations where a housing market with constant hedonic prices enters a bubble. The hedonic regression is then estimated using a naive border discontinuity model and a naive difference-in-differences model. The results indicate that the bubble does cause bias in the naive estimates, and that the extent of the bias increases with the size of the bubble.

Works in Progress:

Infant Health in Time of Drought in the United States

The Effect of Water Shortages on Rural and Urban Migration

Health Effects of Drought in South Africa: Evidence from Mortality Data