Could be special pleading on higher education

Michael Giberson The Wall Street Journal reports on recent efforts to make sure that taxpayers are getting their money’s worth from state universities.  Acknowledging that his comments “could be taken as special pleading,” a blogger who is also a Texas state employee providing university students with advanced instruction in financial economics offers his insights about … More Could be special pleading on higher education

Property owners seek wind turbines but fight transmission lines

Michael Giberson Jonathan Fahey observes that there seems to be little trouble finding Montana property owners willing to have wind turbines built on their property, but property owners usually fight against construction of power lines. Puzzling, right?, since wind turbines are large, moving and obtrusive, while transmission lines are not-as-big and immobile and generally somewhat … More Property owners seek wind turbines but fight transmission lines

Solar power not yet cheaper than nuclear

Michael Giberson At Master Resource, Daren Bakst and Carlo Stagnaro take apart a report by the North Carolina Waste Awareness & Reduction Network (NC WARN) that concluded that solar power was now cheaper than nuclear power.  The short version of the story is that NC WARN’s analysis treated federal and state subsidies as reducing the cost of … More Solar power not yet cheaper than nuclear

Do we need “Post-Partisan Power”?

Michael Giberson Last week scholars from the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institutions, and the Breakthrough Institute joined together to release “Post-Partisan Power,” (more here) a paper advocating substantial increases in federal spending on energy research and development in pursuit of goals including American economic growth, national security, and health and safety. They lost me at … More Do we need “Post-Partisan Power”?

How do plug-in vehicles connect with CAFE regulation?

Michael Giberson The New York Times describes one of the hazards of doing new things: your new thing may not fit neatly into existing regulatory category. A case in point: Two new cars that can be recharged electrically are creating a puzzle for the Environmental Protection Agency, which must rate the “fuel economy” of passenger … More How do plug-in vehicles connect with CAFE regulation?

Concentrated benefits and dispersed costs

Michael Giberson Recently I went looking for a source for the idea that special interest lobbying succeeds due to the logic of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs. Frequently in economics and especially among public choice analysts the concept is attributed to Mancur Olson and sometimes specifically to The Logic of Collective Action. For example, in … More Concentrated benefits and dispersed costs

Why is human well-being increasing as ecosystem services degrade?

Michael Giberson Appearing in the September 2010 issue of BioScience: “Untangling the Environmentalist’s Paradox: Why is Human Well-Being Increasing as Ecosystem Services Degrade?” ABSTRACT: Environmentalists have argued that ecological degradation will lead to declines in the well-being of people dependent on ecosystem services. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment paradoxically found that human well-being has increased despite … More Why is human well-being increasing as ecosystem services degrade?