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ItemLocal socioeconomic impacts of Brazilian Hydroelectric Power Plants(2017) Assunção, Juliano; Costa, Francisco; Szerman, DimitriThis paper estimates the short- and medium-run effects of the construction of large hydroelectric power plants (HPPs) on the economic development of Brazilian municipalities. We use the synthetic control method to perform one case study for each of the 82 municipalities affected by a HPP between 2002 and 2011. Two main findings emerge. First, the median impact of the construction of HPPs on the local economy is modest and follows an inverted U-shape over a five-year horizon. Second, the estimated effects display a lot of dispersion. These results do not provide support for the view that large construction works can unequivocally spur local development. ItemPower plants and deforestation: recent evidence from the Amazon(2017) Assunção, Juliano; Costa, Francisco; Szerman, DimitriThis paper estimates the impacts of the construction of the new HPPs built in the Brazilian Amazon between 2003 and 2011 on local deforestation patterns. We assemble a comprehensive geo-referenced dataset combining dams’ locations and characteristics with remote sensing data. We use the synthetic control method to identify the causal impact of the construction of each HPP on forest cover around the HPP site. We find that building plants does not always stimulate deforestation. While some HPP projects stimulate deforestation, others help to avoid it. Overall, we can attribute 14% of the observed deforestation in areas within 50 kilometers around the HPPs to the construction process. ItemNational borders and conservation: evidence from the Amazon(2017) Burgess, Robin; Costa, Francisco Junqueira Moreira da; Olken, Benjamin A.Tropical deforestation is one of the major drivers of climate change. Much of this loss is due to illegal logging. Unlike forests in the Congo basin and South-East Asia, the world’s largest tropical forest - the Amazon - has experienced a dramatic slowing in rates of deforestation over the last decade. The bulk of the Amazon is located in Brazil which has introduced a raft of policies to reduce illegal logging in recent years. We use Brazil’s border with its neighbors to identify the impact of Brazilian policies on deforestation. Because forests are a fixed resource and geography and infrastructure vary continuously over the border we can compare annual forest loss on either side of the border to tease out the impact of national forest policies from other drivers of deforestation. To do this we employ a satellite-derived data set that measures forest cover at a 30 x 30 meter resolution for the entire Amazon area across the 2000-2014 period. Our data reveals a sharp discontinuity at the border – in 2000 Amazonian pixels on the Brazilian side of the border are more likely to have been deforested and between 2001 and 2005 annual forest loss in Brazil was around four times the rate on the other side of the border. However, in 2006, just after the Brazilian government introduced a raft of policies to curtail illegal logging, these differences disappear and Brazilian rates of forest loss fall to those observed across the border. These results demonstrate the power of the state to affect whether or not natural resources are conserved or exploited even in the furthest reaches of the Amazonian jungle.