Rentschler, Jun

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Economics of Development, Environment, and Climate
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Last updated: November 16, 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 78 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 22
  • 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
    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
    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.
  • Publication
    Adaptation Principles: A Guide for Designing Strategies for Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-11-17) Hallegatte, Stephane; Rentschler, Jun; Rozenberg, Julie
    Effective action on resilience and climate change adaptation can be a complex task—requiring coordinated efforts from the highest levels of government to individual households and firms. The Adaptation Principles offer a guide to effective climate change adaptation, containing hands-on guidance to the design, implementation and monitoring of national adaptation strategies. It specifies six guiding principles, which correspond to common policy domains: 1) Ensuring resilient foundations through rapid and inclusive development; 2) Facilitating the adaptation of firms and people; 3) Adapting land use and protecting critical public assets and services; 4) Increasing people’s capacity to cope with and recover from shocks; 5) Anticipating and managing macroeconomic and fiscal risks; 6) Ensuring effective implementation through prioritization and continuous monitoring. While outlining these universal Adaptation Principles, this guide shows that each country needs to tailor these actions to its specific needs and priorities. To guide this process, Adaptation Principles offers concrete and practical tools: Screening questions to identify the most urgent and effective actions, toolboxes illustrating common datasets and methodologies to support decisions, indicators to monitor and evaluate progress, and case studies on how the COVID-19 pandemic influences priorities in taking effective adaptation action.
  • Publication
    Floods and Their Impacts on Firms: Evidence from Tanzania
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-09) Rentschler, Jun; Thies, Stephan; De Vries Robbe, Sophie; Erman, Alvina; Hallegatte, Stéphane
    This study explores how businesses in Tanzania are impacted by floods, and which strategies they use to cope and adapt. These insights are based on firm survey data collected in 2018 using a tailored questionnaire, covering a sample of more than 800 firms. To assess the impact of disasters on businesses, the study considers direct damages and indirect effects through infrastructure systems, supply chains, and workers. While direct on-site damages from flooding can be substantial, they tend to affect a relatively small share of firms. Indirect impacts of floods are more prevalent and sizable. Flood-induced infrastructure disruptions—especially electricity and transport—obstruct the operations of firms even when they are not directly located in flood zones. The effects of such disruptions are further propagated and multiplied along supply chains. The study estimates that supply chain multipliers are responsible for 30 to 50 percent of all flood-related delivery delays. To cope with these impacts, firms apply a variety of strategies. Firms mitigate supply disruptions by adjusting the size and geographical reach of their supply networks, and by adjusting inventory holdings. By investing in costly backup capacity (such as water tanks and electricity generators), firms mitigate the impact of infrastructure disruptions. The study estimates that only 13 percent of firms receive government support in the aftermath of floods.