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Rentschler, Jun

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Economics of Development, Environment, and Climate
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Last updated: November 16, 2023
Biography
Jun Rentschler is a Senior Economist at the Office of the Chief Economist for Sustainable Development, working at the intersection of climate change and sustainable resilient development. Prior to joining The World Bank in 2012, he served as an Economic Adviser at the German Foreign Ministry. He also spent two years at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) working on private sector investment projects in resource efficiency and climate change. Before that he worked on projects with Grameen Microfinance Bank in Bangladesh and the Partners for Financial Stability Program by USAID in Poland. He is a Visiting Fellow at the Payne Institute for Public Policy, following previous affiliations with the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies and the Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo. Jun holds a PhD in Economics from University College London (UCL), specializing in development, climate, and energy.
Citations 78 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 32
  • Publication
    Strengthening New Infrastructure Assets: A Cost-Benefit Analysis
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-06) Nicolas, Claire; Hallegatte, Stephane; Fox, Charles; Rozenberg, Julie; Rentschler, Jun
    This paper explores the benefits and the costs of strengthening infrastructure assets to make them more resilient, reducing the repair costs and infrastructure disruptions caused by natural hazards. Strengthening infrastructure assets in low- and middle-income countries would increase investment needs in power, transport, and water and sanitation by between $11 billion and $65 billion a year, i.e. 3 percent of baseline infrastructure investment needs. The uncertainty pertaining to the costs and benefits of infrastructure resilience makes it difficult to provide a single estimate for the benefit-cost ratio of strengthening exposed infrastructure assets. To manage this uncertainty, this paper explores the benefit-cost ratio in 3,000 scenarios, combining uncertainties in all parameters of the analysis. The benefit-cost ratio is higher than 1 in 96 percent of the scenarios, larger than 2 in 77 percent of them, and higher than 4 in half of them. The net present value of these investments over the lifetime of new infrastructure assets -- or, equivalently, the cost of inaction -- exceeds $2 trillion in 75 percent of the scenarios and $4.2 trillion in half of them. Moreover, climate change makes the strengthening of infrastructure assets even more important, doubling the median benefit-cost ratio.
  • Publication
    The RISE Framework
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-01-17) Balseca, Esteban; Cuesta, Jose Antonio; Damania, Richard; Feng, Shenghui; Moon, Jisung; Rentschler, Jun; Russ, Jason; Triyana, Margaret; Balseca, Esteban
    The world has witnessed unparalleled economic progress in the last three decades. But success is not preordained, and several headwinds threaten this hard fought progress. Inequality is leaving many people and subgroups behind and excluding them from enjoying the benefits of this great economic expansion. More recently, the world has awakened to the reality of a new type of risk. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) struck at a time when the world was healthier and wealthier than ever before. There is little disagreement over the need to enable a recovery that is fairer, safer, and more sustainable. This report describes how these ambitious objectives can be achieved by providing evidence based tools and information to guide countries to spend better and improve policies. It is in this context that this document presents policy guidance to identify and diagnose key development challenges and develop solutions to help countries build better.
  • Publication
    Carbon Price Efficiency : Lock-in and Path Dependence in Urban Forms and Transport Infrastructure
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-06) Avner, Paolo; Rentschler, Jun; Hallegatte, Stéphane; Avner, Paolo
    This paper investigates the effect of carbon or gasoline taxes on commuting-related CO2 emissions in an urban context. To assess the impact of public transport on the efficiency of the tax, the paper investigates two exogenous scenarios using a dynamic urban model (NEDUM-2D) calibrated for the urban area of Paris: (i) a scenario with the current dense public transport infrastructure, and (ii) a scenario without. It is shown that the price elasticity of CO2 emissions is twice as high in the short run if public transport options exist. Reducing commuting-related emissions thus requires lower (and more acceptable) tax levels in the presence of dense public transportation. If the goal of a carbon or gasoline tax is to change behaviors and reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions (not to raise revenues), then there is an incentive to increase the price elasticity through complementary policies such as public transport development. The emission elasticity also depends on the baseline scenario and is larger when population growth and income growth are high. In the longer run, elasticities are higher and similar in the scenarios with and without public transport, because of larger urban reconfiguration in the latter scenario. These results are policy relevant, especially for fast-growing cities in developing countries. Even for cities where emission reductions are not a priority today, there is an option value attached to a dense public transport network, since it makes it possible to reduce emissions at a lower cost in the future.
  • Publication
    People in Harm's Way: Flood Exposure and Poverty in 189 Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-10) Salhab, Melda; Rentschler, Jun
    Flooding is among the most prevalent natural hazards affecting people around the world. This study provides a global estimate of the number of people who face the risk of intense fluvial, pluvial, or coastal flooding. The findings suggest that 1.47 billion people, or 19 percent of the world population, are directly exposed to substantial risks during 1-in-100 year flood events. The majority of flood exposed people, about 1.36 billion, are located in South and East Asia; China (329 million) and India (225 million) account for over a third of global exposure. Of the 1.47 billion people who are exposed to flood risk, 89 percent live in low- and middle-income countries. Of the 132 million people who are estimated to live in both extreme poverty (under $1.9 per day) and in high flood risk areas, 55 percent are in Sub-Saharan Africa. About 587 million people face high flood risk, while living on less than $5.5 per day. These findings are based on high-resolution flood hazard and population maps that enable global coverage, as well as poverty estimates from the World Bank's Global Monitoring Database of harmonized household surveys.
  • Publication
    Air Pollution and Poverty: PM2.5 Exposure in 211 Countries and Territories
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-04) Rentschler, Jun
    Air pollution is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, especially affecting poorer people who tend to be more exposed and vulnerable. This study contributes (i) updated global exposure estimates for the World Health Organizations's 2021 revised fine particulate matter (PM2.5) thresholds, and (ii) estimates of the number of poor people exposed to unsafe PM2.5 concentrations. It shows that 7.28 billion people, or 94 percent of the world population, are directly exposed to unsafe average annual PM2.5 concentrations. Low- and middle-income countries account for 80 percent of people exposed to unsafe PM2.5 levels. Moreover, 716 million poor people (living on less than $1.90 per day) live in areas with unsafe air pollution. Around half of them are located in just three countries: India, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Air pollution levels are particularly high in lower-middle-income countries, where economies tend to rely more heavily on polluting industries and technologies. The findings are based on high-resolution air pollution and population maps with global coverage, as well as subnational poverty estimates based on harmonized household surveys.
  • Publication
    Stronger Power: Improving Power Sector Resilience to Natural Hazards
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-06) Nicolas, Claire; Rentschler, Jun; Potter van Loon, Albertine; Oguah, Sam; Schweikert, Amy; Deinert, Mark; Koks, Elco; Arderne, Christopher; Cubas, Diana; Li, Jie; Ichikawa, Eriko
    The power sector is both highly vulnerable to natural hazards and a priority for any country'srecovery and reconstruction. After Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017, most of the power gridwas down. One year and tens of billions of dollars later some customers were yet to be reconnected to the main grid. This type of long and widespread power outage has major consequences on people's health and well-being, for instance through lacking access to refrigeration for food and medicine, and on the ability of firms to produce and provide people with goods, services, jobs, and income. In most countries, the power system is designed to cope with high-frequency but relatively low impact events. Low-frequency, high-impact events – such as many natural disasters – are rarely considered fully, and the implementation of planned management measures is often patchy. Furthermore, the power system is a special kind of infrastructure due to the heterogeneity of the generation assets and its wide spatial distribution. The latter means that power systems are often exposed to natural hazards and sometimes to more than one hazard, leading to high repair costs when disasters strike. This paper, prepared as a sectoral note for the Lifelines report on infrastructure resilience, investigates the vulnerability of the power system to natural hazards and climate change, and provides recommendations to increase its resilience. It first describes how power outages are often the consequence of natural disasters and outlines the main vulnerabilities of the power sector. It then proposes a range of approaches and solutions for building a more resilient power sector – from increased robustness to greater flexibility – showing that the additional cost of resilience is not high if resources are well spent. Finally, it describes how emergency preparedness and disaster recovery encompass not only technical aspects, like asset strengthening or criticality analysis, but also "softer" skills, like governance, regulatory or capacity building, and education.
  • Publication
    Detox Development: Repurposing Environmentally Harmful Subsidies
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2023-06-15) Damania, Richard; Balseca, Esteban; de Fontaubert, Charlotte; Gill, Joshua; Kim, Kichan; Rentschler, Jun; Russ, Jason; Zaveri, Esha
    Clean air, land, and oceans are critical for human health and nutrition and underpin much of the world’s economy. Yet they suffer from degradation, poor management, and overuse due to government subsidies. "Detox Development: Repurposing Environmentally Harmful Subsidies" examines the impact of subsidies on these foundational natural assets. Explicit and implicit subsidies—estimated to exceed US$7 trillion per year—not only promote inefficiencies but also cause much environmental harm. Poor air quality is responsible for approximately 1 in 5 deaths globally. And as the new analyses in this report show, a significant number of these deaths can be attributed to fossil fuel subsidies. Agriculture is the largest user of land worldwide, feeding the world and employing 1 billion people, including 78 percent of the world’s poor. But it is subsidized in ways that promote inefficiency, inequity, and unsustainability. Subsidies are shown to drive the deterioration of water quality and increase water scarcity by incentivizing overextraction. In addition, they are responsible for 14 percent of annual deforestation, incentivizing the production of crops that are cultivated near forests. These subsidies are also implicated in the spread of zoonotic and vector-borne diseases, especially malaria. Finally, oceans support the world’s fisheries and supply about 3 billion people with almost 20 percent of their protein intake from animals. Yet they are in a collective state of crisis, with more than 34 percent of fisheries overfished, exacerbated by open-access regimes and capacity-increasing subsidies. Although the literature on subsidies is large, this report fills significant knowledge gaps using new data and methods. In doing so, it enhances understanding of the scale and impact of subsidies and offers solutions to reform or repurpose them in efficient and equitable ways. The aim is to enhance understanding of the magnitude, consequences, and drivers of policy successes and failures in order to render reforms more achievable.
  • Publication
    Underutilized Potential: The Business Costs of Unreliable Infrastructure in Developing Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-06) Kornejew, Martin; Rentschler, Jun; Braese, Johannes; Hallegatte, Stephane; Obolensky, Marguerite
    This study constructs a microdata set of about 143,000 firms to estimate the monetary costs of infrastructure disruptions in 137 low- and middle-income countries, representing 78 percent of the world population and 80 percent of the GDP of low- and -middle-income countries. Specifically, this study assesses the impact of transport, electricity, and water disruptions on the capacity utilization rates of firms. The estimates suggest that utilization losses amount to $151 billion a year -- of which $107 billion are due to transport disruptions, $38 billion due to blackouts, and $6 billion due to dryouts. Moreover, this study shows that electricity outages are causing sales losses equivalent to $82 billion a year. Firms are also incurring the costs of self-generated electricity, estimated to amount to $64 billion a year (including annualized capital expenditure). At almost $300 billion a year, these figures highlight the substantial drag that unreliable infrastructure imposes on firms in developing countries. Yet, these figures are likely to be under-estimates as neither all countries nor all types of impacts are covered.
  • Publication
    The Impact of Flooding on Urban Transit and Accessibility: A Case Study of Kinshasa
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-12) He, Yiyi; Thies, Stephan; Avner, Paolo; Rentschler, Jun; Avner, Paolo
    Transportation networks underpin socioeconomic development by enabling the movement of goods and people. However, little is known about how flooding disrupts transportation systems in urban areas in developing country cities, despite these natural disasters occurring frequently. This study documents the channels through which regular flooding in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, impacts transport services, commuters' ability to reach their jobs, and the associated economic opportunity costs from travel delays. This assessment is based on transit feed specification data sets collected specifically for this analysis under normal and flooded conditions. These data sets were combined with travel survey data containing travelers' socioeconomic attributes and trip parameters, as well as a high-resolution flood maps. The results show that (1) flood disruptions cause increases in public transit headways and transit re-routing, decreases in travel speeds, and thus travel time delays, which translate into substantial economic costs to local commuters; (2) accessibility to jobs decreases under flooded conditions, hindering the establishment of an integrated citywide labor market; (3) there are spatial clusters where some of the poorest commuters experience among the highest travel delays, highlighting socio-spatial equity aspects of floods; (4) certain road segments are critical for the transport network and should be prioritized for resilience measures; and (5) the estimated daily cost of flood disruption to commuters’ trips in Kinshasa is $1,166,000. The findings of this assessment provide disaster mitigation guidance to the Office des Voiries et Drainage under the Ministry of Infrastructure, as well as strategic investment recommendations to the Ministry of Housing and Planning.
  • Publication
    Reforming Fossil Fuel Subsidies: Drivers, Barriers and the State of Progress
    (Taylor and Francis, 2016-06-24) Rentschler, Jun
    This article outlines the current state of affairs in fossil fuel subsidy reform, and highlights its contribution at the nexus of climate policy, fiscal stability and sustainable development. It discusses common definitions, provides quantitative estimates, and presents the evidence for key arguments in favour of subsidy reform. The main drivers and barriers for reform are also discussed, including the role of (low) oil prices and political economy challenges. Commitments to subsidy reform by the international community are reviewed, as well as the progress at the country level. Although fossil fuel subsidy reform indeed plays a critical role in climate policy, experience shows that the rationale for such reforms is determined in a complex environment of political economy challenges, macro-economic, fiscal and social factors, as well as external drivers such as energy prices. The article synthesizes the key principles for designing effective reforms and emphasizes that subsidy reforms cannot only yield fiscal relief, but should also contribute to long-term sustainable development objectives. Areas for future research are also identified.