Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

Dr. Steven C. Buck

Second Advisor

Dr. Wuyang Hu


Environmental goals such as urban water conservation and pollution control regulations are typically achieved through price and non-price methods. This dissertation offers an analysis of the non-price approaches, including the rationing of water for particular users, installation of particular technologies, and adoption of particular certifications to achieve environmental goals. To begin, an analysis of California’s 2015 urban water conservation mandate was performed. Results indicate that the average welfare loss of the mandate is $6,107 per acre-foot of restriction in Northern California and $2,757 per acre-foot of restriction in Southern California. In terms of monthly household-level willingness-to-pay (WTP) to avoid the mandate, results illustrate that households have a WTP between $5 and $200 per month. Northern Californian utilities were generally in compliance with their mandated conservation targets, while Southern Californian utilities tended to fall short. The second essay focuses on analyzing how web-based Home Water Use Reports (HWURs) affect household-level water consumption in Folsom City, California. The HWURs under study, offered by the company Dropcountr (DC), share social comparisons, consumption analytics, and conservation information to residential accounts, primarily through digital communications. We found that there is a 7.8% reduction in average daily household water consumption for a typical household under treatment of the DC program. Results suggest that the effect of DC varies by the baseline consumption quintile, the number of months in the program, the day of the week, message type, and enrollment wave. Furthermore, we find that indicate these responses to DC program likely come from the information channel rather than moral suasion. The final essay studies the effectiveness of ISO-14001 on pollution reduction as a non-price pollution control approach. Manufacturers have been increasingly relying on environmental management systems (such as ISO 14001 based ones) to comply with government regulations and reduce waste. In this essay, we investigated the impact of ISO 14001 certification on manufacturers’ toxic release by release level. Results show that ISO 14001 had a negative and statistically significant effect on the top 10% manufacturing sites regarding the on-site toxic release, but it did not reduce off-site toxic release. Therefore, one should not expect ISO 14001 to have a uniform impact on manufacturing sites’ environmental performance. For large firms, encouraging voluntary adoption of ISO 14001 might be an effective government strategy to reduce on-site pollution.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)