Marine debris has many impacts on the ocean, wildlife, and coastal communities. A NOAA Marine Debris Program economic study released today shows that it can also have considerable economic costs to residents who use their local beaches.
The study found that Orange County, California residents lose millions of dollars each year avoiding littered, local beaches in favor of choosing cleaner beaches that are farther away and may cost more to reach. Reducing marine debris even by 25 percent at beaches in and near Orange County could save residents roughly $32 million during three months in the summer.
As you’ve probably heard, the City of Toledo recently warned its residents not to drink the water. Why? Contamination from toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie, largely caused by the runoff of phosphorus from farms.
When I read about that, it rang a bell. Last week many Republican heavy hitters spoke at a conference sponsored by the blog Red State — and I remembered an antigovernment rant a few years back from Erick Erickson, the blog’s founder. Mr. Erickson suggested that oppressive government regulation had reached the point where citizens might want to “march down to their state legislator’s house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp.” And the source of his rage? A ban on phosphates in dishwasher detergent. After all, why would government officials want to do such a thing?
An aside: The states bordering Lake Erie banned or sharply limited phosphates in detergent long ago, temporarily bringing the lake back from the brink. But farming has so far evaded effective controls, so the lake is dying again, and it will take more government intervention to save it.
The point is that before you rage against unwarranted government interference in your life, you might want to ask why the government is interfering. Often — not always, of course, but far more often than the free-market faithful would have you believe — there is, in fact, a good reason for the government to get involved. Pollution controls are the simplest example, but not unique.
Externalities exist so there is a role for the government in the market economy. I try to explain to students that it is not a 0,1 proposition (libertarian vs totalitarian), the better debate is how much pollution should there be and what is the best way to control it. That puts us somewhere in between 0 and 1.
Mr. Erickson's quote is quite shocking, really. Grown-ups shouldn't get so upset about laundry detergent.
Many organisations rely on prosocial behaviours – choices that benefit others but have a personal cost – to achieve their objectives. For instance, foundations rely on charitable contributions for funding, governments partly rely on voluntary compliance for tax revenue, and employers rely on voluntary referrals for hiring. Because such prosocial behaviours have positive externalities by definition, increasing such behaviour can improve welfare. What are the most effective policies to encourage prosocial behaviour?
To figure out, Chetty et al (not sure why Al gets all the credit) run an experiemnt on academic reviewers for the journal of Public Ecnomics. They find...drum roll...if you pay reviewers to meet deadlines, they meet deadlines. Here's how they explain their findings:
Shorter deadlines ‘nudged’ referees to submit reports earlier. Cash incentives also reduced turnaround times, suggesting that any ‘crowding out’ of intrinsic motivation is small. Social incentives – publication of turnaround times – were more effective for tenured referees than shorter deadlines or cash incentives.
And they make recommendations too...
Our findings offer three lessons for improving the peer review process.
1. Shorter deadlines are extremely effective in improving the speed of the review process. Moreover, shorter deadlines generate little adverse effect on referees’ agreement rates, the quality of referee reports, or performance at other journals. Indeed, based on the results of the experiment, the Journal of Public Economics now uses a four-week deadline for all referees.
2. Cash incentives can generate significant improvements in review times and also increase referees’ willingness to submit reviews. However, it is important to pair cash incentives with reminders shortly before the deadline. Some journals, such as the American Economic Review, have been offering cash incentives without providing referees reminders about the incentives. In this situation, sending reminders would improve referee performance at little additional cost.
3. Social incentives can also improve referee performance, especially among subgroups such as tenured professors who are less responsive to deadlines and cash payments. Light social incentives, such as the Journal of Financial Economics’ policy of posting referee times by referee name, have small effects on review times. Stronger forms of social pressure – such as active management by editors during the review process in the form of personalised letters and reminders – could potentially be highly effective in improving efficiency.
More generally, our results reject the view that the review process in economics is much slower than in other fields, such as the natural sciences, purely because economics papers are more complex or difficult to review. Instead, our findings show that small changes in journals’ policies can substantially improve the peer review process at little cost.
In other words, economists respond rationally to incentives and the reason we are so slow at reviewing is that there is little incentive to be faster.
Softball Head Coach Laura Matthews has announced that seven
student-athletes will join the Tiger program in August 2014.
The new recruits join a team that finished 23-11 overall and
11-5 in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) in 2014. The
Tigers finished second in the league’s 2014 regular season
standings and advanced to the championship game of the league
tournament for a second consecutive season.
Wittenberg is expected to return 13 letterwinners to the roster
in 2015. The Tigers are scheduled to open the 2015 campaign with a
game at Transylvania on Feb. 28.
The new recruits are:
Charlee Clark (Hilliard, Ohio/Davidson)
Chelsea Zang (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton)
Sam Bausch (Cincinnati, Ohio/Turpin)
Lindsey Bair (Delaware, Ohio/Hayes)
Abby Haab (Dublin, Ohio/Jerome)
Alexa Collins (Hudson, Ohio/Our Lady of
Jenn Doerschuk (Streetsboro, Ohio/Kent
“I am looking forward to welcoming this outstanding group
of young women to the Wittenberg University community,”
Matthews said. “I look forward to working with them to
succeed both academically and athletically.”
Medical marijuana smokers in San Diego say the city has forced their pot shops to locate in remote areas and that means the drives to and from will increase air pollution — and ultimately, harm their lungs.
The Union of Medical Marijuana Patients has filed a lawsuit, saying the city is violating the California Environmental Quality Act, United Press International reported.
When the price of an input (labor in this case) increases, the supply of the output (food) decreases. Supply decreases cause price increases. The question become who pays for the price increase? As with teh case of a new tax, the end result is that the price increase is partially borne by the producer and partially borne by the consumer. The extent to which each bears the price increase depends on the relative responsiveness (elasticities) of supply and demand.
How that price increase is passed along--whether through menu price changes, or through a fee--is a matter of business judgement. No matter, the end result will be higher prices.
"This blog aims to look at more of the microeconomic ideas that can be used toward environmental ends. Bringing to bear a large quantity of external sources and articles, this blog presents a clear vision of what economic environmentalism can be."
... 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