May 11, 2018

Political Economy of the Environment: New video series from Econ4

Econ4 is pleased to announce its new video series on the Political Economy of the Environment, produced in partnership with the University of Massachusetts Amherst department of economics.

Part One: Introduction

  1. The economy & the environment. Are people different from pondweed?
  2. Limits to growth – of what? It’s time for a new formula: grow the good, and shrink the bad.
  3. Political economy. Who wins, who loses, who decides?
  4. Safety, efficiency, sustainability, and justice. What should be the goals in environmental policy?

Part Two: Environmental protection – in theory and practice

  1. What is efficiency? There’s more – and less – to neoclassical efficiency than meets the eye.
  2. Discounting the future. Are the lives of our grandchildren worth less than our own?
  3. The value of a statistical life. How do economists put a monetary value on risks of death?
  4. Externalities. External costs and benefits are not the exception – they’re the rule.
  5. The Coase theorem. Why private bargaining can seldom solve environmental externalities.
  6. The tragedy of the commons. More accurately, the tragedies of open access.
  7. Environmental justice. Defending the right to a clean and safe environment.
  8. Power & the environment. Costs and benefits weighted by the power of those to whom they accrue.
  9. Regulation & environmental protection. Rules as a solution to environmental problems.
  10. Incentive-based environmental policies. Prices as another way to solve environmental problems.
  11. Market failure & government failure. Democracy versus oligarchy: beyond the market-versus-government debate.

Part Three: Global dimensions

  1. Globalization & the environment. The globalization of market failure poses new challenges for governance.
  2. The environmental Kuznets curve. What happens to the environment as per capita income goes up?
  3. Population & the environment. What Malthus got wrong.
  4. Tropical deforestation. How transnational alliances can change balances of power.
  5. Building natural assets. How poverty reduction and environmental protection can go hand-in-hand.
  6. Agriculture & the environment. The costs of industrial agriculture and benefits of ecological agriculture.
  7. Cultivated biodiversity. Small farmers sustain some of the world’s most valuable biodiversity.

Part Four: Climate policy

  1. Climate change. The defining environmental challenge of the 21st century.
  2. Carbon pricing: 1. Why & how? Why we need to put price on fossil carbon, and how we can do it.
  3. Carbon pricing: 2. The social cost of carbon. What should be the price on carbon dioxide emissions?
  4. Carbon pricing: 3. Revenue allocation. The trillion dollar question: who will get the money?
  5. International climate negotiations. No-regrets policies can help overcome myopia and the free rider problem.

Check out the whole series here.

 

May 4, 2018

State of Resistance

State of Resistance, by Manuel Pastor, draws out lessons from the fall and rise of California’s economy:

Once upon a time, any mention of California triggered unpleasant reminders of Ronald Reagan and right-wing tax revolts, ballot propositions targeting undocumented immigrants, and racist policing that sparked two of the nation’s most devastating riots. California confronted many of the challenges the rest of the country faces now–decades before the rest of us.

Today, California is leading the way on addressing climate change, low-

wage work, immigrant integration, over-incarceration, and more. As white residents became a minority and job loss drove economic uncertainty, California had its own Trump moment twenty-five years ago, but has become increasingly blue over each of the last seven presidential elections.

How did the Golden State manage to emerge from its unsavory past to become a bellwether for the rest of the country?

Read more here.

May 2, 2018

Economics and morality

Economists cannot avoid grappling with moral questions, says … The Economist:

To be useful, economists need to learn to understand and evaluate moral arguments rather than dismiss them.

Many economists will find that a dismal prospect. Calculations of social utility are tidier, and the profession has fallen out of the habit of moral reasoning. But those who wish to say what society should be doing cannot dodge questions of values.

Read more here.

See also The Economist’s Oath by Econ4’s George DeMartino.

Mar 17, 2018

An economic Bill of Rights

It’s time to revive an idea floated by Franklin D. Roosevelt, write Mark Paul, Sandy Darity and Darrick Hamilton in the American Prospect:

Many may question in this time of “resistance,” if this is the right time to fight for an expansion of economics rights, but no one wins anything of consequence by simply playing defense.

Read more here.

Mar 9, 2018

Rethinking the economic role of the state

Mariana Mazzucato offers a counterpoint to market fundamentalism: the state is the “investor of first resort,” whose key role in the innovation ought to be recognized and rewarded.

Source: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET).

Mar 8, 2018

Political economy of the environment

Part Two: Environmental protection – in theory and practice

5) What is efficiency?

There’s more – and less – to neoclassical efficiency than meets the eye.

 

6) Discounting the future

Are the lives of our grandchildren worth less than our own?

 

7) The value of a statistical life

How do economists put a monetary value on risks of death?

 

8) Externalities

External costs and benefits are not the exception – they’re the rule.

 

9) The Coase theorem

Why private bargaining can seldom solve environmental externalities.

 

10) The tragedy of the commons

More accurately, the tragedies of open access.

 

11) Environmental justice

Defending the right to a clean and safe environment.

 

12) Power & the environment

Costs and benefits weighted by the power of those to whom they accrue.

 

13) Regulation & environmental protection.

Rules as a solution to environmental problems.

 

14) Incentive-based environmental policies

Prices as another way to solve environmental problems.

 

15) Market failure & government failure

Democracy versus oligarchy: beyond the market-versus-government debate.

Mar 8, 2018

Political economy of the environment

Part Three: Global dimensions

16) Globalization & the environment

The globalization of market failure poses new challenges for governance.

 

17) The environmental Kuznets curve

What happens to the environment as per capita income goes up?

 

18) Population & the environment

What Malthus got wrong.

 

19) Tropical deforestation

How transnational alliances can change balances of power.

 

20) Building natural assets

How poverty reduction and environmental protection can go hand-in-hand.

 

21) Agriculture & the environment

The costs of industrial agriculture and benefits of ecological agriculture.

 

22) Cultivated biodiversity

Small farmers sustain some of the world’s most valuable biodiversity.

 

Mar 8, 2018

Political economy of the environment

Part Four: Climate policy

23) Climate change

The defining environmental challenge of the 21st century.

 

24) Carbon pricing: 1. Why & how?

Why we need to put price on fossil carbon, and how we can do it.

 

25) Carbon pricing: 2. The social cost of carbon

What should be the price on carbon dioxide emissions?

 

26) Carbon pricing: 3. Revenue allocation

The trillion dollar question: who will get the money?

 

27) International climate negotiations

No-regrets policies can help overcome myopia and the free rider problem.

 

Mar 8, 2018

Political economy of the environment

Part One: Introduction

1) The economy & the environment

Are people different from pondweed?

 

2) Limits to growth – of what?

It’s time for a new formula: grow the good, and shrink the bad.

 

3) Political economy

Who wins, who loses, who decides?

 

4) Safety, efficiency, sustainability, and justice

What should be the goals in environmental policy?

 

Jan 29, 2018

The fossil-free future

The clean energy transition has turned a corner, writes Bill McKibben:

The fossil-fuel industry is no longer minting money. It’s been underperforming the rest of the economy—and no wonder. Sun and wind are ultimately free, and that puts remarkable price pressure on the stuff you have to dig up and burn. Every single day, the electric car moves further along the path from novelty to normal… The question now is not whether big oil is going down; the question is how fast—and how we make sure the transition is a just one.

Read more here.

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