In the true Olympic spirit, July was another world record breaking month. From Slate:
October. November. December. January. February. March. April. May. June. And now July. For the sixthseventheighthninth 10th month in a row, we’ve had a month that has broken the global high temperature record.
And for those who like pictures:
*Funny story (in a sad way): My second oldest moved in to college last week (University of Dayton--Go Flyers?). Before she left, she and a couple of friends decided to look up their professors on Rate My Professors. While looking around, one of my daughter's friend suggested, 'Let's look up your Dad.' Here's my daughter's synopsis "You have better rating than any of our professors [she seemed surprised by this], but you don't have a chili-pepper [she didn't seem surprised by this]."
Vizala.com looks very useful, especially for your students:
Vizala aims to be the internet's most useful database for country, demographic, social, and economic information. Instead of just providing answers, our robust analytics allow for in-depth analysis and provide a complete picture of your topic of interest. Vizala only uses data from trusted sources and includes links to the original source for maximum transparency.
People trying to access public data will often encounter a number of difficulties. Many times, the data that they need is stored across multiple online repositories. First they need to know which data is in which repositories, and then they have to find those repositories and extract the data they need which involves navigating inconsistent and often confusing user interfaces. Also, in many cases the original source of data is stored in bulk files that need to be downloaded and parsed with specialized software. For researchers, using Vizala can save time and help to gain new insights. We aggregate data from more than 20 different public sources and organize that data around specific topics of interest. Vizala also provides tools that allow you to customize any view of data with filtering and sorting options. You can then save, share, or export any of those customized views. All of this functionality is wrapped in a consistent, simple, and intuitive user interface.
Continuously updated data from many government and international organizations
Derivative data calculated by Vizala, including ratios and formulas that combine data from multiple sources
The "Monthly Overview" provides a comprehensive dashboard of key economic indicators for any country
Topical displays that group together related fields and focus on the most important data points
Advanced filtering allows you to drilldown, segment, and customize data with maximum flexibility
We just added an additional quantitative course to our majors. When students start complaining I'll point them here:
The knock that liberal-arts graduates can have a tough time landing a first job is borne out by the data. Yet a new analysis of help-wanted postings for entry-level jobs suggests that those graduates can improve their job prospects markedly by acquiring a small level of proficiency in one of eight specific skill sets, such as social media or data analysis. In most cases, those skills increase salary prospects markedly, as well.
The analysis can help diffuse the debate over the value of a liberals-arts education versus a career-focused one, says Matthew Sigelman, chief executive at the job-market-analytics company Burning Glass Technologies. The company undertook the analysis as part of its continuing study of the job market. "Employers really value soft skills that are the bedrock of a liberal-arts education," he says. But many employers are also looking for applicants with additional, specific skills, such as knowledge of Java or other programming languages, or proficiency with graphic-design tools like InDesign or Adobe Suite. "It’s not a matter of shutting down the classics department and turning it into a business degree," he says.
Burning Glass routinely data-mines three-and-a-half-million job ads a day. For this analysis, it combed through the wording of a year’s worth of job ads for entry-level positions requiring a bachelor’s degree, and it found about 955,000. It then dug deeper to see how many more positions might be "unlocked" for recent graduates if they had one or more additional skills.
The company identified skills in eight fields, and then found an additional 863,000 entry-level jobs for graduates with skills in one or more of these fields. For example, the analysis found an additional 137,000 entry-level jobs for liberal-arts graduates who had data-analysis or management skills. It also found that such data-analysis jobs paid an average of $12,700 above the average salary for jobs traditionally open to liberal-arts graduates without such skills.
Jobs for graduates with computer-programming skills paid nearly $18,000 more, and there were nearly 53,000 more of them. (An illustration depicts the salary premiums and additional job prospects for the eight skill sets Burning Glass found.)
Collectively, the average salary for the jobs requiring additional technical skills was more than $6,000 higher than the $42,730 average for jobs traditionally open to liberal-arts majors. Skills in "sales" were the only ones that did not bring a quantifiable wage premium, but the analysis did find that graduates who had such skills would be qualified for nearly 568,000 additional job openings.
Just got back from CTREE – many thanks to everyone who helped make it such a success! I had some great conversations, heard some super-interesting papers, and generally got re-invigorated, not just about teaching but about economics. Some random thoughts, just to get them out of my brain:
In the Thursday plenary, Thomas Nechyba talked about re-organizing the curriculum to make it easier to encourage and support undergraduate research. While I thought it must be great to be in the department at Duke, I also thought, “I can’t imagine my department ever buying that.” Maybe someday I’ll be department chair and find out…
Actually, this isn't so hard at places other than Duke. We offer three sections (10-20 students in each) of our capstone senior seminar course. Each student writes their own research paper and presents it to their peers. Many of the papers are quite good and would be publishable with the appropriate econometric model (beyond OLS).
Now, if our major was more popular we'd have more trouble pulling this off.
Quite possibly the most depressing introduction to a pseudo-academic workshop I have seen:
How can we best live at this moment of severe environmental degradation? How can we work and teach on behalf of environmental wellbeing without becoming overwhelmed, embittered, or burned out? Is there a way to thrive in our environmental commitments?
This workshop brings together professors and activists to develop more skillful ways of confronting environmental challenges. Specifically, it explores the role of contemplative practice in our pedagogical and activist efforts. Through daily meditation, journal writing, nature walks, and other reflective exercises as well as scholarly discussion, we will probe the depths of the environmental crisis and develop resources to work and teach on behalf of global sustainability.
Environmental issues are not simply political, technological, or economic dilemmas but also existential challenges that require us to reflect upon the meaning of our individual and collective lives. Furthermore, the scale and pace of environmental degradation call on us to enhance our skills as educators, activists, and ordinary citizens like never before. This workshop offers the opportunity to deepen such efforts by facilitating meaningful dialogue between activists and professors, probing the interface between our personal and professional lives, and introducing contemplative practices tailored specifically for use in the classroom and in political organizing.
Part seminar and part retreat, the workshop provides the chance to step back from our frenetic lives and, in the midst of stunning beauty and a supportive community, integrate our deepest spiritual yearnings with our professional and personal commitments to protect the earth.
Sometimes the answers come from unexpected places:
The Georgia Council on Economic Education has named Morrow High’s Cary Hargett its 2016 Georgia Economic Teacher of the Year.
Hargett was honored for his contributions to the economic education of students in Clayton County Public Schools, school officials noted in a press release.
On May 23, Hargett was recognized in front of the Georgia Council Board of Trustees and Executive Committee at the Annual Georgia Council Luncheon held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, where he received a plaque and a $1,000 prize.
“Mr. Hargett is intelligent, hardworking and friendly,” said Morrow High Principal Pamela Pitts. “There are many proficient and dedicated educators but Mr. Hargett’s commitment to his students makes him an outstanding educator and a true asset to Morrow High School and Clayton County Public Schools.”
A graduate of East Carolina University, Hargett majored in economics and later received his teaching certification from Paine College before continuing his career at Morrow High in 1997. ...
Dr. Leah Greden Mathews of the University of North Carolina Asheville
The winner was announced at the 2015 meeting of the Southern Economic Association in New Orleans, LA on Sunday, November 22, and was awarded a plaque and a cash award.
Professor Mathews has spent her career at UNC Asheville, where she currently is a professor of economics and the Interdisciplinary Distinguished Professor of the Mountain South. Professor Mathews received the UNC Asheville Distinguished Teaching Award in Social Sciences in 2005-2006 and earlier this year was awarded the University of North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. During her time on the UNC Asheville faculty, Professor Mathews has received exceptional evaluations from her students. Students praise her for her ability to explain complex economic concepts in clear and meaningful ways. Professor Mathews is not only popular with economics majors at UNC Asheville, but her courses are arguably even more popular with undergraduates outside the major. But an equally impressive contribution to teaching is in her role as a member of an interdisciplinary team of faculty members in biology, chemistry, health and wellness, sociology and economics that has developed a cluster of courses on a common theme: food! Called the “Food for Thought Cluster,” this collection of courses encourages students to integrate their economic reasoning with other disciplinary approaches to become informed consumers in what they eat and how it affects their health and well-being, using the Asheville area as a laboratory for these investigations. This curriculum is not only held in great esteem by students at UNC Asheville, it also was recognized, in 2008, by the National Science Foundation as a “Science Education for New Civic Engagements Model.”
An anonymous comment from an anonymous student about an anonymous professor* in an anonymous class dealing with food economics at an anonymous institution of higher education:
I found it annoying how this class approached the topic of food strictly from an economics standpoint. The professor talked a lot about the benefits of large biotech corporations and increased fertilizer and GMO use, but did not spend time on the environmental and social impacts of these. I did not agree with the professors point of view so it made the class hard to enjoy. Farmers only getting $0.2 for every $1 is not a good thing in my mind, farmers should be earning a livable wage and should get paid more than agribusiness. As an [Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability] major, I value local and organic farming because that is what is best for the environment and communities, so it would have been nice to focus more on those points than praising agribusiness that pushes out small farmers and dominates the market. I thought the professors thinking was very corrupt.
Dear Anonymous Student: Here are a few thoughts and questions for you to consider (and hopefully they agree with your preconceived notions of how I should express my thoughts):
Do you only enjoy classes where you agree with everything the professor says? Is learning new perspectives no longer valued in a college education?
Part of taking classes in college is to show you that what you think is a good thing in your mind is not always a good thing.
"At the farm-household level, average farm household incomes have surged ahead of average U.S. household incomes since the late 1990s. In 2014 (the last year for which comparable data were available), the average farm household income (including off-farm income sources) of $131,754 was about 74% higher than the average U.S. household income of $75,738."
So can I assume that you believe that the threshold for a 'livable' wage is above $131,754 a year?
$64/hour minimum wage, or I can't survive!
'I value local and organic farming because that is what is best for the environment and communities." Um. No. I like bananas and coffee. Just not the local type. Ohio bananas are surprisingly hard to find.
If you equate being an EEDS major to a particular way of thinking ("As an [Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability] major, I value...") , or a particular value system, then how can you disagree with the way of thinking of one of the professors who is teaching a class in that major? Your logic confuses me.
This leaves the impression that the EEDS major is teaching you what to value. That is not the case. We teach students multiple ways to think about Sustainability issues: from environmental, social and economic perspectives. Local to community to city to state to regional to national to global.
'I thought the professors thinking was very corrupt.' Apparently economies of scale, productivity gains, yield improvements, and the potential benefits and costs of fertilizer and GMO's is now equated to corrupt thinking.
In summary (in case you missed the facetious tone of some of my comments), college is not for us to preach what you already believe. It is to challenge you to think beyond your own beliefs and consider alternative ways of thinking. If you already know what you believe, and refuse to consider that another perspective might hold some value, then why are you wasting your time in college? You already know the answers.
But I'm sure you think everyone should have access to a free college education.
As long as they teach you what you already believe.
Major oil companies have abandoned hundreds of leases for offshore drilling rights in the United States's portion of the Arctic Ocean.
Federal government documents obtained by environmental group Oceana show that ConocoPhillips Co., Italy’s Eni and Iona Energy, Inc., abandoned all their leases in the Chukchi Sea, to the north and west of Alaska.
Royal Dutch Shell has abandoned numerous leases and said it plans to relinquish all but one.
Oil companies have, in total, abandoned 2.2 million acres of Arctic drilling rights, Oceana said, and 80 percent of all area in the American Arctic leased in a 2008 sale has been or will be abandoned.
For Shell and ConocoPhillips, the decisions came just before a May 1 deadline to pay millions of dollars to keep its leases active.
Shell spokesman Curtis Smith confirmed Oceana’s account, saying the decision came “after extensive consideration and evaluation.”
Shell spent about $2.5 billion over seven years in preparation to drill a single exploratory well last summer in the Chukchi following a disastrous attempt in 2012.
It concluded after drilling that the exploration was not worth the costs of drilling in the remote area, so it decided to abandon Arctic drilling for the foreseeable future.
Companies have blamed the low price of oil and heavy drilling costs as reasons for pulling out of the Arctic. Others have pointed the finger at tight federal regulations on drilling there.
When price falls below average variable cost firms are not able to cover some of their fixed costs (investment) and will decide to shut down production. That $2.5 billion over seven years is a sunk cost. This is money already spent in the past that can't be recovered. It is best to ignore these costs when making decisions. Fixed costs are different, this is money which must be spent in order to produce something. For example, monthly payments on a bank loan for a piece of equipment.
Environmental regulations can increase both types of cost that will contribute to the shutdown decision in the Arctic. Of course, environmental regulations are typically designed to protect the environment, which has economic value, so the shutdown decision may be efficient from private and social point of views.
"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."
Don't believe what they're saying
And allow me a quick moment to gush: ... The env-econ.net blog was more or less a lifeline in that period of my life, as it was one of the few ways I stayed plugged into the env. econ scene. -- Anonymous
... 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