Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Spencer Banzhaf

Second Advisor

Dr. Jorge A. Bonilla Londoño

Third Advisor

Dr. Andrew Feltenstein

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Garth Heutel


This dissertation discusses the results of new empirical evidence in two topics of significant importance in the environmental economics field, both of them also an essential part of my research agenda. First, carbon pricing is one of the most significant contributions of Economics to the ongoing climate crisis. Based on the Pigouvian tax, carbon pricing is expected to be a major tool for achieving the required reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases efficiently. On the other hand, the effect of air quality on health outcomes, and therefore human welfare, has been one of the major issues of research in the field. Understanding the associated costs is needed to properly assess the alternatives to address air pollution in our cities and countries. The long tradition in the literature has accumulated years of research in the topics, with results continuously showing significant costs on health outcomes. This document presents three research papers on these two topics, addressing particular gaps in the current literature and providing additional empirical evidence.

Chapters I and II touch base on climate policy in developing countries by exploring the consequences and challenges of carbon pricing in Colombia. Previous studies have been centered on the experience of developed countries or groups of them. Colombia is an opportunity to evaluate a carbon pricing strategy under a design that is similar to what we can expect from future implementations in other developing countries. First, from a causal inference framework, Chapter I estimates the effects of the carbon tax on the country’s emissions. In Chapter II, I use a general equilibrium model to evaluate the environmental and economic costs of a major exemption on the Colombian carbon tax design.

Chapter III deeps into the literature on air pollution and its health outcomes. This chapter, written in collaboration with Dr. Wes Austin, Dr. Stefano Carattini, and Dr. Michael Pesko, explores the relationship between contemporaneous air pollution exposure and COVID-19 morbidity and mortality.