Lab Seminar - Estimating the health impact of a forest conservation policy in Indonesia
Kelly Wu presented her work estimating the causal impact of the Primary Forest and Peat Moratorium in Indonesia on health outcomes. The moratorium limits the number of permit issues to clear forests, and peat lands, which Kelly hypothesizes will improve health outcomes by reducing land-clearing fires and harmful exposure to smoke. She plans to estimate this effect by comparing health outcomes between towns and villages with different levels of exposure to smoke due to variation in the direction of the prevailing wind. Locations that are downwind of land included in the moratorium are expected to have less exposure to smoke than comparable locations that are not downwind to the protected lands. Although the identification strategy may seem intuitive, internal variation in the frequency and intensity of fire caused by El Nino and differences in the resolution of data on smoke and health outcomes have made the project a nuanced and complex econometric challenge.