Saw this on my way home yesterday and got a chuckle (at a stop light in case you think I was violating Ohio's driving laws by taking a picture with a handheld device while moving). The bumper sticker reads "TOO POOR TO BE A REPUBLICAN." The car is a Lexus CT200H which U.S. News ranks in the Upscale Small Car category, and starts at $32,050. In defense of the drive...it is a hybrid and Kelley Blue Book says you can get a 2011 (first model year) starting around $25,000.
And I blacked out the license plate just because it made me feel like a real journalist.
What the @#$%, Ohio? You swear more than Illinois? More than New Jersey?
More than New freakin’ York?!
That’s the finding of the Seattle-based Marchex Institute, and if you don’t like
it, you probably shouldn’t tell researchers where to stick it. They already think the Buckeye State
has the tact of a drunken fool.
The institute, the research arm of mobile-advertising firm Marchex, studied more
than 600,000 phone calls placed in the last year from consumers to businesses, among them car
dealerships and cable companies. The company analyzes calls for its clients, and sometimes it has a
little fun with the results. This time, it used voice-recognition software that was uncanny at
picking up the curse words that you apparently love and that we can’t print here.
Ohio won! Or maybe it lost? Its residents swore more than any other state: In
every 150 conversations or so, an Ohioan let loose with language that would make your grandma wag
“I was surprised by the results,” said John Busby, senior vice president of the
Marchex Institute. He’s a transplanted Midwesterner whose siblings attended Ohio colleges.
He expected potty mouths to come from the East Coast, but those $#@%s were no
match for Ohio’s tongues of fury. Maryland and New Jersey were the runners-up, followed by
Louisiana and Illinois.
From the inbox--AccuWeather.com has set the 2013 Over/Under on U.S. landfalls from Atlantic Basin Hurricanes at 3. OK, they don't call it an Over/Under, but aren't most things more fun if gambling is involved? No? Is that just me?
So I was narcissistically staring at my LinkedIn profile (send me a connection, I'm trying to boost my own self-esteem by getting to 500+ connections--even if I have no idea what LinkedIn is useful for) and I noticed that I have been endorsed more than twice as much for my skills and expertise in Statistics than I have been for my skills and expertise in Economics. Further, only one former student has endorsed me for my skills and expertise in Higher Education, Teaching, Communication or Environmental Valuation and no one has endorsed my Management skills. Just a self-assessment.
I don't want to take all of the credit but were started this blog in the middle of last decade:
For six decades, Americans have tended to drive more every year. But in the middle of the last decade, the number of miles driven — both over all and per capita — began to drop, notes a report to be published on Tuesday by U.S. Pirg, a nonprofit advocacy organization.
People tend to drive less during recessions, since fewer people are working (and commuting), and most are looking for ways to save money. But Phineas Baxandall, an author of the report and senior analyst for U.S. Pirg, said the changes preceded the recent recession and appeared to be part of a structural shift that is largely rooted in changing demographics
Don Fullerton, in the context of the movie Inside Job:
I would hope to think that most professors do routinely reveal financial conflicts of interest, and that we can use their resulting research to learn something useful – as I said above: “let others pick it apart or use their own models and data to find competing results. Then we’ll discuss it!”
As long as it is revealed, we can USE inherent conflict of interest to help students learn about how to interpret such results. Consider the following two published articles in refereed academic journals about the costs of the oil spill from the Exxon Valdez in 1989:
Hausman, Jerry A., Gregory K. Leonard, and Daniel McFadden (1995), “A Utility-Consistent, Combined Discrete Choice and Count Data Model: Assessing Recreational Use Losses Due to Natural Resource Damage,” Journal of Public Economics 56: 1-30.
Carson, Richard T., Robert C. Mitchell, Michael Hanemann, Raymond J. Kopp, Stanley Presser, and Paul A. Ruud (2003), “Contingent Valuation and Lost Passive Use: Damages from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill,” Environmental and Resource Economics 25: 257-86
Hausman et al find that the cost is about $3 million. That’s a lot of money, if it arrived in my own personal bank account. But that’s million, with an “m”. Carson et al find that the cost is about $3 billion. That’s billion with a “b”. Is somebody joking here? No, and in fact, they both are correct! They are just measuring different things. Hausman et al measure the lost “use” values of the few thousand Alaskans who will not be able to use that area for recreational hunting, fishing, hiking, and boating. In contrast, Carson et al measure the lost “NON-use” values of 300,000,000 Americans who likely never visit Alaska but who nonetheless feel badly for the damaged ecosystem and wildlife, and who would be willing to help pay for protection of that natural environment.
The example is an opportunity to teach students about how properly to interpret academic research and to understand the different perspectives of different researchers. And although it shouldn’t really surprise anybody, here are the quotes from those two papers’ acknowledgement footnotes, with proper revelation of financial interests:
Hausman et al, finding that the cost is $3 million: “This paper reports on research funded by Exxon Company, USA. It should not be interpreted as representing the views of any parties other than the authors.”
Carson et al, finding that the cost is $3 billion: “The State of Alaska provided funding for this study. … All opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the State of Alaska, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, or the authors’ home institutions. The authors bear sole responsibility for any errors or omissions.”
Don't tell the natural scientists but ... shhhh ... environmental quality improves when economic activity shuts down (Economics-ejournal.org):
Environmental Impact of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
Beijing organized the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, and the main goal of the Chinese government regarding this event was to hold a "Green Olympics". A difference-in-differences approach was used to estimate the environmental impact the Olympic Games on air quality improvement in Beijing, compared to improvements in other areas in China. The results indicate that compared to other regions, air quality in Beijing improved for a short period of time. These improvements were largely due to the implementation of several temporary measures, including factory closures and traffic control. However, there is no evidence indicating that the Olympic Games reduced the concentration of sulfur dioxide in Beijing.
The old saying that "what goes up must come down" doesn't apply to carbon dioxide pollution in the air, which just hit an unnerving milestone.
The chief greenhouse gas was measured Thursday at 400 parts per million in Hawaii, a monitoring site that sets the world's benchmark. It's a symbolic mark that scientists and environmentalists have been anticipating for years.
The book provides a first-ever, comprehensive overview of the biology and management of striped bass and hybrid striped bass in the inland waters of the United States.
The book’s 34 chapters are divided into nine major sections: History, Habitat, Growth and Condition, Population and Harvest Evaluation, Stocking Evaluations, Natural Reproduction, Harvest Regulations, Conflicts, and Economics. A concluding chapter discusses challenges and opportunities currently facing these fisheries.
This compendium will serve as a single source reference for those who manage or are interested in inland striped bass or hybrid striped bass fisheries. Fishery managers and students will benefit from this up-to-date overview of priority topics and techniques. Serious anglers will benefit from the extensive information on the biology and behavior of these popular sport fishes.
Page xi in the preface says this:
The economic value of striped bass (and hybrid striped bass) fisheries is often the bottom line for those justifying expenditures to stock and manage an introduced species with assumed high value to anglers. Whitehead (Chapter 32) provides an analysis of the economics of recreational fisheries for these fish. In some systems, concerns about contaminants can have negative impacts on striped bass or hybrid striped bass fisheries; Jakus (Chapter 33) addresses this issue and outlines an approach for conducting benefit-cost analyses of fish consumption advisories.
Paul and I both draw shifting demand curves in our chapters.
Google collaborated with
NASA's Landsat program to generate video of man's impact on the earth's
surface. TIME magazine got the exclusive rights to write it all up in an
article, which was released today. Here is the link:
Lots of environmental economics in this. My favorite is the expansion of the Aurora phosphate mine on the south shore of the Pamlico River in North Carolina.
The video shows the mine growing southward on the left hand side and then northward on the right hand side back up to the river. Back in the 1990s I worked with the Tar-Pamlico River Foundation (serving on "anti-PCS" committee and then the board for awhile) opposing all of that. It looks like the legal battle continues. One of my greatest failures as an economist was not suggesting some Coasian resolution.
I'll be rolling out other "greatest failures" posts all summer.
Sometimes, drinking a few beers after class can save the planet. A just-launched online "game" dreamed up during one such beer-drinking session aims to do that by encouraging people around the world to supply much needed data about the world's power plants that burn fossil fuels.
While the general whereabouts of these plants is known, in much of the world details are fuzzy on the kind of fuel they burn and how much electricity they produce, explained Kevin Gurney, a senior sustainability scientist at Arizona State University.
"My argument is that this is something that is actually locally known and so why not leverage that in a time in which social networks dominate our lives?" he told NBC News.
To do that, he and the students in his lab built Ventus, a website where anyone anywhere can enter what data they can about the world's power plants including precise location, fuel type and electricity generation. The video below explains more about the project.
Not that I think a renewable portfolio standard is the best way of encouraging renewable energy, but I can be almost certain that this isn't the best way to run state government:
Over objections of Democratic lawmakers, a Senate committee approved legislation Wednesday to end the state’s 6-year-old renewable energy program.
Opponents of the bill loudly voted “No!” to show their frustration at the Republican chairman’s decision not to count individual votes. In what was clearly a razor-thin margin, both sides said they would have won if votes had been counted.
“North Carolina is not a banana republic,” Democratic Sen. Josh Stein of Wake County, one of the no votes, said after the meeting. “That was no way to run a proceeding.”
The contentious vote in the Senate finance committee was preceded by a 45-minute debate and public comment, during which farmers, the N.C. Pork Council and N.C. Farm Bureau urged Senators to keep the current policy in place because it’s encouraging investment in projects that use methane from swine waste lagoons as a fuel to generate electricity.
A similar bill was defeated 18-13 in a House committee last week, and its sponsor, Rep. Mike Hager, attended the Senate debate. Hager has vowed to keep bringing up his bill as well. ...
The dispute is over a 2007 law that requires electric utilities to use solar power and other forms of renewable energy, up to 12.5 percent in 2021 and thereafter. The law allows power companies to pass on extra costs to customers. As a result, Duke Energy residential customers pay 22 cents a month and Progress Energy customers pay 42 cents a month for the renewable subsidies. ...
Critics said the policy subsidizes non-competitive industries, while those who favor the policy said it has created new jobs and generated economic activity during a recession and its aftereffects.
... the Environmental Economics blog ... is now the default homepage on my browser (but then again, I guess I am a wonk -- a word I learned on the E.E. blog). That is a very nice service to the profession. -- Anonymous
"... I try and read the blog everyday and have pointed it out to other faculty who have their students read it for class. It is truly one of the best things in the blogosphere." -- Anonymous