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"Environmental Economics" - 7 new articles

  1. The Dukes... ruined my life... over a bet? For how much?
  2. I've been reading the crappy female economist blogs*
  3. Water closet
  4. Twin towers
  5. The department of economics has been so successful at recruiting majors that we want to double the number of students that are forced to major in economics
  6. I hope no one asks for my e-mails that mention "Dan Patrick"
  7. An all-too-frequent off-topic post
  8. More Recent Articles
  9. Search Environmental Economics
  10. Prior Mailing Archive

The Dukes... ruined my life... over a bet? For how much?

A dollar. Steve Rushin:

But in sports, morality and neutrality are uncoupled. With certain exceptions: It was difficult for most Americans to remain neutral during last year's Butler vs. Duke NCAA final, which smacked -- in a purely basketball context -- of oppressed vs. oppressor. Indeed, that was the entire plot of Trading Places, a morality tale pitting one butler against two Dukes. The audience, naturally, rooted for the butler.


I get the joke, but it was more than one butler against two Dukes. That summary leaves out (in alphabetical order) Dan Ackroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis and Eddie Murphy. How could you do that without a footnote?


I've been reading the crappy female economist blogs*

From climate adaptation to gender, Matt keeps stepping in it!

Diane Lim Rogers:

A friend of mine sent me a link to Matthew Kahn’s latest guest blog post on the Christian Science Monitor website; she sent it along with an “I believe in you” sort of note, because as Matthew was implicitly pointing out, I am not on the list of top economists to which he refers–while he is (as he explicitly points out).  He ponders (emphasis added):

REPEC provides an objective measure of who is “Royalty” in the economics profession. The current list of the top 5% is here. I am ranked #681 out of 27,365 economists so that’s not bad (and my 3 books aren’t counted here). But, here is the interesting part. There are 52 women who rank in the top 1000 and 0 of them blog. Contrast that with the men. Consider the top 100 men. In this elite subset; at least 8 of them blog. Consider the men ranked between 101 and 200. At least, six of them blog. So, this isn’t very scientific but we see a 7% participation rate for excellent male economists and a 0% participation rate for excellent women. This differential looks statistically significant to me. I have searched for Nancy Folbre among the top 1369 economists (the 5% cutoff) and she is not counted in the elite subset.

Not being a female economist himself, Matthew then theorizes–as men love to do–about why we women aren’t as able to be both “excellent” economists and blogging economists.

I find it ironic that Matthew’s blog post would appear on the Christian Science Monitor site in the same area that my guest blog posts do, and that the photo that goes with the CSM post is of…an Asian woman!  (Ok, a much younger Asian woman, but Asian nonetheless.)  Huh!  There’s a female economist blogger blogging right “next” to Matthew, right under his nose!

Oh, but I’m not an “excellent” female economist. ...

Keep reading ... and also check out what Jodi Beggs has to say.

Update: here is the comment I left at EDITM:

Some of my favorite bloggers are Jodi Beggs, Diane and Lynne Kiesling: Some  (all?) of my least favorite are those in the RePEc rankings (but I like Matt's blog). I'm not sure why there should be any correlation between RePEc rankings,  gender (other than the point made by Jodi above) and good economics blog posts. As evidence, see the Taylor, Mankiw, Thoma and Krugman interaction from today. Jeez.



Water closet

The best idea everyone hates (i.e., a higher tax on gasoline):

TODAY, Barack Obama unveiled the latest set of presidential proposals for reducing oil imports, strengthening the economy, and cutting emissions. Nearly everything he proposed is old hash; American leaders have been dutifully acting out this bit of theatre since the Nixon administration.

And as my colleague at Democracy in America points out, even if Mr Obama were serious about pressing for these policies, he'd face significant opposition in Congress:

Worse, those parts of the president’s plan that need congressional approval—the clean energy standard, more subsidies, extra funding for research on whizz-bang energy technology—will never receive it. The Republicans who control the House are dead-set against anything that smacks of greenery, not to mention anything that would add to spending at a time when they’re trying to take an axe to it.

Nominally, at least, both parties care about oil imports and both parties care about the deficit. They don't necessarily behave as if they care, but they say they care. Can Congress address these priorities without explicitly doing anything that's either 1) green or which 2) requires new spending?

Sure, Congress can raise the petrol tax. Just as a reminder, the chairmen of the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles deficit commission  recommended that the petrol tax be increased by 15 cents per gallon beginning in 2013. For perspective: average retail petrol prices in America rose by more than that in the month of March. A higher tax rate would discourage consumption while raising money that could be used for whatever Congress wanted, including deficit reduction.

The idea isn't popular, but it makes a great deal of sense.


Twin towers



The department of economics has been so successful at recruiting majors that we want to double the number of students that are forced to major in economics

Lobbying for subsidies creates bizzarre logic and here is an example (

Solar energy is proving so successful in North Carolina that industry advocates want to double the amount of sun-powered electricity that is required by state law.

A bill introduced Monday in the General Assembly would raise North Carolina's solar energy requirement to 0.4 percent of all retail electricity sold by electric utilities by 2018. The current requirement, set by the state's sweeping 2007 green energy law, is 0.2 percent. ...

If the mandate is not increased, solar advocates fear, Duke Energy and Progress Energy are likely to stop at their 0.2 percent requirement, rather than continue buying one of the most expensive forms of green energy. ...
In other words, if a firm is not forced to purchase an input that doesn't minimize costs then it will not purchase them. In my mind a successful industry is producing a product that people WANT to buy. So, how is the solar industry successful?
The solar bill's sponsors are mostly Republicans in the state House: Tom Murry of Wake County, Ruth Samuelson of Mecklenburg County, Chuck McGrady of Henderson County and Tim Moffitt of Buncombe County. The lone Democratic sponsor is James Crawford Jr. of Granville and Vance counties.

Murry's primary interest is job creation, not alternative energy. Southern Energy Management is in his district, and solar advocates had briefed him on the industry's creation of nearly 2,000 jobs in manufacturing, maintenance and installation by about 170 companies to date.

The N.C. Sustainable Energy Association estimates that boosting the solar mandate will result in the creation of 6,000 jobs.

As always, I'd rather we consider success in the economically appropriate manner (i.e., margin). In this case that margin is whether the true benefits of the increase in solar power exceed the true costs. The benefits are the improved health, visibility and recreation that results from improved air quality. The costs are the increased costs of production from the more expensive renewable sources. Increased jobs are part of the cost equation, not evidence that the solar industry is successful.


I hope no one asks for my e-mails that mention "Dan Patrick"

I took a risk, clicked on a NYTimes article and was relieved to find that it is still free (

A conservative research group in Michigan has issued a far-reaching public records request to the labor studies departments at three public universities in the state, seeking any e-mails involving the Wisconsin labor turmoil.

The group, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, declined to explain why it was making the Freedom of Information Act request for material from professors at the University of Michigan, Michigan State and Wayne State University. But several professors who received the records request, which was first reported by Talking Points Memo on Tuesday, said it appeared to be an attempt to intimidate or embarrass professors who are sympathetic to organized labor.

This records request, which was filed Friday, comes several days after the Republican Party of Wisconsin made a records request to a prominent University of Wisconsin history professor, William Cronon, who had severely criticized the state’s Republican governor, Scott Walker, over his push for legislation to weaken public-sector unions.

The Mackinac Center, which describes itself as a nonpartisan research and educational institution and receives money from numerous conservative foundations, asked the three universities’ labor studies faculty members for any e-mails mentioning “Scott Walker,” “Madison,” “Wisconsin” or “Rachel Maddow,” the liberal talk show host on MSNBC.

But seriously, should I forward all of my *.edu email to gmail? Is Google trying to grab market share by conspiring with the nonpartisan research and educational institutions?


An all-too-frequent off-topic post

Sorry, proud Dad moment.  Official oldest daughter of Env-Econ (OODEE) played her first HS softball game yesterday (freshman on Varsity).  She pitched two innings in relief, after a strong outing from the starter.  Came in in the 6th inning down 2-1.  Faced 7 batters, struck out 4 and gave up one hit (a bunt).  OODEE came to the plate in the bottom of the 7th (last inning in softball) with the bases loaded, one out, tie score.  Lined a shot off the pitcher's ribs (or knee, depending on who you ask) that ended up in shallow right field.  Winning run scored.  Nothing like a pitcher helping herself at the plate.

Here's the box score from the Columbus Dispatch.

Franklin Heights 010 010 0 — 2 6 1
Dublin Jerome 010 000 2 — 3 9 1
Siemer and Edwards; Ciminillo, Haab (6) and Hirth. W: Haab.

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