If truth is what your freshmen students let you get away with, then…

Michael Giberson What do we owe the status quo? Uwe Reinhardt, Economix, asks “How convincing is the case for free trade?” In his column, Reinhardt takes note of a few discussions of free trade without taking a stand himself. But he ends with a provocative quote from Alan Blinder: “If we economists stubbornly insist on chanting ‘free trade … More If truth is what your freshmen students let you get away with, then…

The geography of ethanol’s support in Congress

Michael Giberson The House of Representatives budget battle has produced a few shots at the ethanol industry, including “Sullivan of Oklahoma Amendment No. 94,” a proposal to prevent the EPA from taking steps to encourage the sale of gasoline with higher ethanol content for use in newer cars. The amendment succeeded, 285-136 (12 not voting), … More The geography of ethanol’s support in Congress

Is the deregulated market in the ERCOT region sufficiently competitive?

Michael Giberson Two groups of municipal utilities in Texas, long critical of electric power deregulation in Texas and ERCOT in particular, have joined forces to issue a report, “The story of ERCOT: The grid operator, power market & prices under Texas electric deregulation.” The municipals describe the report as examining “governance issues related to ERCOT as … More Is the deregulated market in the ERCOT region sufficiently competitive?

Bye-bye WTI? Local conditions may sink global oil price benchmark

Michael Giberson Via email a reader asks about the divergence between two international oil price benchmarks – Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI). At EnergyBurrito, Matt Smith explains the once-reliable, now rocky relationship between Brent and WTI in “WTI and Brent Crude Oil Through Steve Carell and Ricky Gervais.” Gervais played district manager David Brent … More Bye-bye WTI? Local conditions may sink global oil price benchmark

Demsetz discusses Coase’s mistake on Pigou and social costs

Michael Giberson Last summer, Harold Demsetz spoke at the Property and Environment Research Center on Ronald Coase’s big mistake in “The Problem of Social Cost.” PERC has just posted the video. The article he is presenting is, “Fallacies in the Economic Doctrine of Externalities,” but I bet in the written article he doesn’t say, “what … More Demsetz discusses Coase’s mistake on Pigou and social costs

Fair trade for coffee may be good, but…

Michael Giberson Fair trade for coffee is good, but many readily available alternatives may be better. “Better” as in, better for the producer and better for consumers. I was browsing the website of a local specialty coffee roaster, and noticed the “Ethics” labels on the products: “Premium price” and “Farm Gate”, but not “Fair Trade.” … More Fair trade for coffee may be good, but…

ERCOT rolling blackout news: Powerful market forces already at work

Michael Giberson A regulatory filing by Energy Futures Holdings Corp., the parent company of Luminant, a major power generator in the Texas market, provides a small peak behind the curtain of confidentiality that has limited the public’s view of what all went wrong on February 2. A small peak, but a significant story: In an … More ERCOT rolling blackout news: Powerful market forces already at work

ERCOT blackout hearings underway in Texas State Senate

Michael Giberson Via Houston Chronicle‘s Fuel Fix, notice of hearings on the ERCOT blackout being held Tuesday morning, February 15. Live now and should be archived later. More information from FuelFix: Blackout investigations start up this week ERCOT blackout: Changes already made to emergency procedures UPDATE: A link to ERCOT CEO’s presentation to its board … More ERCOT blackout hearings underway in Texas State Senate