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2019–20 Grants

The following are summaries of the research grants awarded:

Mapping transformed landscapes across the planet

Jennifer Burney, Associate Professor; Susanne Benz, Postdoctoral Scholar, GPS, UC San Diego; and Kathryn Baragwanath-Vogel, Graduate Student Researcher, Political Science, UC San Diego

The earth’s land cover and energy balance are affected by human settlement and land cultivation. With support from a CGT research grant, Jennifer Burney and her colleagues are tackling three projects that look at these impacts. First, using sub-city resolution they are mapping urban temperature anomalies globally to understand the equity, diversity and development impacts of urban climate variation. Second, using above-ground information on extractions they have a better understanding of who is pumping groundwater where, how efficiently and for which crops in California's agricultural management. And third, they are creating global cropping season maps to understand total production trends and areas for potential adaptation, as well as to infer where water is being used for irrigation. With several papers under review, they seek to provide both the public and policymakers with the tools to better understand how human activity has transformed landscapes across the planet, from urbanization to agriculture.

Additional help from:
Morgan Levy, Postdoctoral Scholar, GPS, UC San Diego and now starting as faculty, GPS and SIO
Peng Zhu, Postdoctoral Scholar, GPS, UC San Diego and now a member of the Global Carbon Project, Paris
Luke Sanford, Graduate Student Researcher, GPS, UC San Diego

Analyzing roadblocks in the transportation network

Gaurav Khanna, Assistant Professor, GPS, UC San Diego

With support from a CGT research grant, Gaurav Khanna is working with the Finance Ministry in India to support the country’s COVID-19 lockdown relief efforts. Khanna and his colleagues are examining high frequency and high spatial data from the Indian government to identify which sectors are worst affected, which districts have had the sharpest reductions in economic activity, which types of firms are under threat of being adversely impacted and how infrastructure roadblocks may exacerbate these issues. Combining the government's data with other sources of firm level data, Khanna aims to provide the government with recommendations and an outline of the situation on the ground, working to help countless people in India.

International price comparison using scanner data

Munseob Lee, Assistant Professor, GPS, UC San Diego

Accurate measurement of international price indices is extremely challenging to achieve, particularly because products are not identical across countries. With support from a CGT research grant, Lee is filling in the gap by using big data. His project uses detailed transaction-level data from representative households in the U.S. and Mexico. The unique feature of the data is that every purchase is recorded at the barcode level. Therefore, Lee can compare the price of exactly the same good between the two different countries and quantify measurement error in standard price indices, ultimately offering a snapshot comparison of living standards between countries that should improve the design of social policy programs on both sides of the border.