Rentschler, Jun

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Economics of Development, Environment, and Climate
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Last updated May 3, 2023
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 63 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
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    Where Are All the Jobs ?: A Machine Learning Approach for High Resolution Urban Employment Prediction in Developing Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-03) Barzin, Samira ; Avner, Paolo ; Rentschler, Jun ; O’Clery, Neave
    Globally, both people and economic activity are increasingly concentrated in urban areas. Yet, for the vast majority of developing country cities, little is known about the granular spatial organization of such activity despite its key importance to policy and urban planning. This paper adapts a machine learning based algorithm to predict the spatial distribution of employment using input data from open access sources such as Open Street Map and Google Earth Engine. The algorithm is trained on 14 test cities, ranging from Buenos Aires in Argentina to Dakar in Senegal. A spatial adaptation of the random forest algorithm is used to predict within-city cells in the 14 test cities with extremely high accuracy (R- squared greater than 95 percent), and cells in out-of-sample ”unseen” cities with high accuracy (mean R-squared of 63 percent). This approach uses open data to produce high resolution estimates of the distribution of urban employment for cities where such information does not exist, making evidence-based planning more accessible than ever before.
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    Mobility and Resilience: A Global Assessment of Flood Impacts on Road Transportation Networks
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-05) He, Yiyi ; Rentschler, Jun ; Avner, Paolo ; Gao, Jianxi ; Yue, Xiangyu ; Radke, John
    This study provides the first global evaluation of both direct and indirect flood hazard impacts on road transportation networks. It constructs topological road networks for 2,564 human settlements, representing over 14 million kilometers of urban roads. It assesses their exposure to pluvial and fluvial flood risks under 10 scenarios, corresponding to different flood intensities (1:5 year to 1:1,000 year return periods). Under each scenario, the study analyzes direct infrastructure exposure and assesses the indirect effects of flood-induced mobility disruptions: route failures, travel delays, and travel distance increases. The results document a positive relationship between flood return period and flood impact (both direct and indirect). Compared with direct flood hazard exposure, the indirect impact of floods on mobility is more prominent and heterogeneous. The average share of the road network that is flooded by at least 0.3 meters is 3.64 percent (or 24.84 percent) under the 5-year (or 1,000-year) return period, yet 11.58 percent (or 65.67 percent) of the simulated trips fail in the same scenario. The results enable comparisons of exposure and vulnerability of road networks to flood hazards across countries, allowing the identification and prioritization of urban transport resilience measures.
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    Air Pollution and Poverty: PM2.5 Exposure in 211 Countries and Territories
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-04) Rentschler, Jun ; Leonova, Nadia
    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.
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    Rapid Urban Growth in Flood Zones: Global Evidence since 1985
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-04) Rentschler, Jun ; Avner, Paolo ; Marconcini, Mattia ; Su, Rui ; Strano, Emanuele ; Hallegatte, Stephane ; Bernard, Louise ; Riom, Capucine
    As countries rapidly urbanize, settlements are expanding into hazardous flood zones. This study provides a global analysis of spatial urbanization patterns and the evolution of flood exposure between 1985 and 2015. Using high-resolution annual data, it shows that settlements across the world grew by 85 percent to over 1.28 million square kilometers. In the same period, settlements exposed to the highest flood hazard level increased by 122 percent. In many regions, risky growth is outpacing safe growth, particularly in East Asia, where high-risk settlements have expanded 60 percent faster than safe ones. Developing countries are driving the recent growth of flood exposure: 36,500 square kilometers of settlements were built in the world’s highest-risk zones since 1985–82 percent of which are in low- and middle-income countries. In comparison, recent growth in high-income countries has been relatively slow and safe. These results document a divergence in countries’ exposure to flood hazards. Rather than adapting their exposure to climatic hazards, many countries are actively increasing their exposure.