Economics serving society

Policy briefs

Within the framework of the Urban New Deal Chair, policy briefs are regularly published to clarify specific research topics related to the chair’s research.

March 2024

Poland’s solar power surge: a model or misleading success? by Jan Domagalski

This policy brief presents and evaluates the solar subsidy policy "Mój Prąd" (Eng. "My Electricity") in Poland. This is a popular subsidy programme that since its beginning in 2019 contributed greatly to the Polish photovoltaic prosumerism boom. During the policy’s first five editions running from July 2019 to December 2023, more than three billion PLN (694 million EUR) of subsidies were allocated to almost 600,000 households, that installed 3.5 GW of solar capacities on their roofs. The programme is expected to continue into its sixth edition in 2024. Despite the apparent success of the policy, the careful analysis of installation-level data and subsidy’s pass-through rate raises concerns about the Polish residential solar market and indicates it is likely imperfect.

December 2023

Bike-Share Programs and Cleaner Air: Insights from New York City by Vincent Thorne

What are the environmental impacts of cycling infrastructure? This policy brief presents the results of a study on the implementation and gradual roll-out of New York City’s bike-share system and its impact on air quality. Using high-resolution air pollution maps and detailed records on the use of bike-share, it shows that bike-share reduced the concentrations of air pollutants associated with car traffic. The estimated reduction in air pollutants is estimated to have saved up to $327 million in social damages. By analysing detailed taxi trip records, the report also presents suggestive evidence that bike-share replaced taxi trips in highly congested, central areas of the city. These findings equip policymakers with valuable evidence to reduce the adverse effects of individual motor traffic.

October 2023

Analyzing the French fuel tax to better target polluters by Stéphane Gauthier

This policy brief discusses how the French government attempts to reconcile efficiency, equity, and environmental concerns in its taxation of fuel. It stresses the tension between imposing higher taxes on less price-sensitive goods, such as fuel, for efficiency reasons and the need to consider the impact on economically vulnerable populations. Addressing pollution from fuel consumption would require implementing personalized taxes that are higher for heavy polluters. The current uniform taxation system disproportionately would benefit urban drivers, who cause the highest environmental damages, though despite the French government’s goal of favoring rural communities.

April 2023

How do knowledge spillovers shape the activity of public transport operators? by Philippe Gagnepain

This research is an attempt to measure knowledge spillovers in the French urban transport sector where a few large industrial groups are in charge of operating several urban networks. Exerting an effort in a specific network allows a cost reduction in this network, but it also benefits other networks that are members of the same group. Results suggest that diversity of knowledge across operators of the same group increases the flow of spillovers. Simulation exercises provide evidence of significant reductions in total operating costs following the enlargement of industrial groups.

March 2023

How does the energy crisis change cities’ climate action plans? by Nicolas Hatem

Focusing at the urban scale, Nicolas Hatem examines the extend to which the social cost of a climate action plan is modified by energy inflation. He suggests that the recent shock on European energy prices implies sufficiently large windfall benefits to make investments in low-carbon energy assets more cost-efficient than in energy retrofits.