Overview of Energy & Environment Lab, University of Chicago Urban Labs
The Energy & Environment Lab (E&E Lab) is part of the University of Chicago Urban Labs and Harris School of Public Policy. The Lab works in close partnership with federal, state and local agencies to identify, rigorously evaluate, and help scale programs and policies that reduce pollution and improve environmental outcomes. The Lab uses natural experiments, randomized control trials (RCT), behavioral economics, and machine learning, while leveraging advances in monitoring technology, to develop and test cost-effective solutions to energy and environmental challenges.
This seminar will provide an overview of the E&E Lab's work and methodological approach and discuss illustrative projects, including: a) an RCT leveraging real-time data for monitoring and enforcement of water conservation policies; b) developing predictive analytics models to improve inspection efficiency at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and c) introducing and testing the impact of advanced remote sensing technology to help state agencies reduce air pollution (e.g., methane from oil and gas facilities and particulate matter from heavy duty trucks).
Dr. Olga Rostapshova has 15 years of experience in economic analysis, experimental and quasi-experimental evaluation design and project management. Dr. Rostapshova's research and evaluation experience has focused on the electricity sector, water infrastructure, private sector development, health, water and sanitation, and climate change. She has conducted randomized controlled trials and large-scale impact evaluations on the topics of entrepreneurship, microfinance, energy, water infrastructure, health, and air quality.
Dr. Rostapshova also serves as consulting Executive Director of the Weiss Fund for Research in Development Economics at Harvard University, and advises the CRI Foundation and the non-profit Precision Agriculture for Development.
She formerly served as Technical Director at Social Impact (SI), a global development management consulting firm, where she was the Project Director of long-term evaluations of a number of infrastructure and economic growth projects for USAID and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), including the MCC Mongolia Energy and Environment Project Impact Evaluation (IE), MCC Tanzania Water Sector Project IE, and the MCC Malawi Infrastructure Development Program and the Power Sector Reform Projects Performance Evaluations.
Prior to SI, Dr. Rostapshova served as co-principal investigator and research manager on projects with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the World Bank, and Ernst&Young's Quantitative Economics and Statistics group. She has regional expertise in Eastern Europe, Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Dr. Rostapshova holds a B.A. in Economics and B.S. in Engineering from Swarthmore College, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard University.