The 2014 Env-Econ Tournament Challenge comes down to Florida (I think--unless there's some combination I missed). If Florida wins it all, dsnoonan will take the prize. Otherwise, ZWatULU, will take the prize (of nothing).
SUMMARY: Rush-hour drivers in congested U.S. cities are increasingly facing a stark choice: stay stuck in traffic or pay to get in the fast lane.
CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Driving on congested highways creates a negative externality; and pricing highway travel according to the amount of congestion improves economic efficiency. Instructors can create a simple scenario of a two-lane highway in which one lane has a fee and the other does not. Using this simple scenario, instructors can make students begin to consider the following issues about fast-lane pricing: the decision about which lane to travel depends in part on opportunity cost of time; sorting by travel time according to opportunity cost of time improves economic efficiency; and the price that maximizes state revenues from fast-lane pricing may not be the efficient price.
QUESTIONS: 1. (Introductory) Does driving on a congested highway create a negative externality?
2. (Advanced) Suppose that adding a new driver to a fast lane reduces the wellbeing of drivers currently in the lane by $8, while deleting a driver from a substantially congested lane increases the wellbeing of drivers currently in this lane by $10. The greatest utility increase of any of the drivers currently in the congested lane from moving to the fast lane is $3. What is the greatest price a highway administration could charge for fast-lane driving that motivate any driver to shift from the slow lane to the fast lane? If those currently in the fast lane could veto any lane shift, what is the smallest payment they would accept for a shift into their lane? For an efficient lane shift, would those currently in the slow lane need to subsidize a lane shift?
3. (Advanced) Does fast-lane pricing improve economic efficiency? As the slow lane becomes more congested, should the price of the traveling in the fast lane increase?
4. (Introductory) Why are some drivers objecting to fast-lane pricing? Does the introduction of fast-lane pricing harm those who continue to drive in the slow lanes?
Reviewed By: James Dearden, Lehigh University
And this one is to get a puerile giggle out of Tim:
"Our revenue streams are flat or declining," said Anthony Tata, transportation secretary of North Carolina, which is proposing HOT lanes for a section of highway near Charlotte. "We have to consider flexible options."
“These government elitists design their user fees from their air-conditioned offices in Raleigh, and they do so with their lattes and their contempt, and chuckle while the good people of Charlotte are fighting hard to scratch out a living there based on cheap commutes and based on access.”
Holes in ASS? I'm thinking I could have written a better title ... so it is time for a little holiday post title contest. Write your entry into the comments box. The winner could receive a free turkey dinner (but check out my second entry -- beat that!)!
Also, this reminds me of the name of Dan Petrolia's research group: Coastal Research and Policy.
Maryland native Scott Van Pelt has a schtick every time he invites ESPN baseball analyst (and fellow Terrapin) Tim Kurkjian onto his radio show: he closes by saying something in Ballimerese and making Kurkjian burst out into furious, high-pitched laughter.
We've compiled these moments into one supercut, which you can play above. We encourage you to go here, where ESPN has made each moment individually available, for more context. SVP's show is already one of the WWL's best products, & that they're willing to have fun with this stuff is worth everyone's appreciation.
I have no idea how to even begin to guess who is actually going to win, so the best I can do is to say that my favorite economists on the list are the following, not necessarily for particularly well-developed reasons:
Jerry Hausman – I took graduate econometrics with Jerry, and he actually focused on explaining the neat things that we could do with the math that we were learning. Also, he kept using “Manny Ortiz” as a sports example in class, and I still can’t figure out whether he was aware of what he was doing.
Richard Thaler – I’m kind of surprised that Thaler, one of the main behavioral guys, didn’t share the prize with Dan Kahneman in 2002, so I root for him each year.
Joshua Angrist – I am amused by any economist that both looks and sounds like Ben Stein. I also think his draft lottery papers are really interesting, since I can totally picture him being like “you know, it would really be nice if the government would randomize people into military and non-military conditions so that I could analyze the effect of military service on labor market outcomes” and then having a huge light bulb go off over his head.
The threat of catastrophic climate change and its effects -- flooding, drought and sea level rises -- make continued investments in fossil fuel stocks risky at best. Current fossil fuel reserves may be estimated to be worth as much as $28 trillion dollars, but Forbes contributor Logan Yonavjak warns of a carbon bubble.
"Although they have been lucrative, fossil fuels are becoming increasingly risky investments, and the stakes have become too high to maintain a stable climate," Yonavjak writes.
Specifically, Yonavjak explains that a possible carbon tax could raise the price of carbon to an average of more than a $100 per metric ton. This market expense, coupled with the increased costs associated with climate change, could make fossil fuels stocks toxic.
In light of the evidence of the crippling impacts and expense climate change is expected to cause if fossil fuels continue to be burned at current rates, divestment has become a key word for environmentalists and savvy economists alike.
I know many of you are wondering to yourself 'Where is Tim and why hasn't he posted in a few days. I enjoy Tim's posts so much more than John's." Well, I'm in England (Plymouth to be precise) for a three day workshop on trends in U.S. and U.K. appraches to ecosystem valuation--I'm representing the U.S. perspective in case you were wondering. Anyway, I will have more on the workshop later, but for now I wanted to give you things I've learned about traveling to England. Please keep in mind, as if you needed reminding, I am a stupid American.
Thoughts (In chronological order):
Getting up at 3:30AM to catch a flight sucks.
Getting up at 3:30AM to catch a flight after staying up until 12:00AM the previous night sucks more.
Getting up at 3:30AM to catch a flight after staying up until 12:00AM the previous night on the night when the the U.S. decides to still observe daylight savings time (or goes off daylight savings time, I can never keep that straight) sucks worse.
Getting up at 3:30AM to catch a flight after staying up until 12:00AM
the previous night on the night when the the U.S. decides to still
observe daylight savings time (or goes off daylight savings time, I can
never keep that straight) only to learn upon landing at Dulles airport that your flight to London has been cancelled...well you can fill the rest in.
Twelve hours in an airport is boring.
I can actually sleep on a plane.
But I chose to first watch a movie (The Life of Pi), because 1) it was free and 2) I'm stupid.
At Heathrow airport they make you walk approximately 5K (3.1 miles American--see how I slipped in the European metric there?) to get to customs. That's a long way after sleeping only 5 hours total in the previous 48.
Paddington Station does look like the kind of place a cuddly bear in a blue raincoat would really want to hang out.
People in Paddington Station seem as though they are all in a hurry.
Everything around Paddington Station looks the same. It is hard to tell the houses from the hotels from the dentist office.
Light switches--down is on, up is off? Can we get a little uniformity please?
You have to turn on the outlets or your computer, cell phone and ipad won't charge. Just sayin'.
You have to turn on the outlets?
Again, Down is on, up is off.
Even if a shower has a faucet on the wall, and even if you stand to the side, it doesn't mean that if you turn on the water you won't get an unexpected freezing shower from the other facucet on the ceiling.
The open bus tour is a great way to see London if you only have a few hours.
Correct that. The open bus is a great way to see London if you only have a few hours and it is above 0 degrees Celsius (That's 32F for you Americans). Otherwise, it's freaking cold up there.
A lot of buildings in London are very old and remind me of that movie Mary Poppins or those books by that Charles Dickens guy.
Fish and Chips is really just fried fish and French Fries. I think they named it something fancy to trick us stupid Americans.
Riding trains is fun. Especially if you have a backwards seat.
Sheep. A lot of them. Just an observation from the window of the train.
Not sure why England has a reputation for dreary weather with sunsets like this...
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