As a follow-up to my earlier post on Jonathan Adler’s first two guest posts at The Atlantic: Jonathan has helpfully compiled links to all five of his guest posts in one handy-dandy location. Here they are:
I keep reiterating my enthusiasm because Jonathan articulates very well my overall analyses and positions on common-pool resources, property rights, the value of polycentric and layered institutions in addressing CPR problems in complex systems, and the tough issues in climate change. My only real quibble is that he is more willing than I am to accommodate the false model and the nomenclature of the right-left political spectrum, which I reject resolutely.
In a related post, Robert Stavins of Harvard argues for the combination of a carbon price and government technology R&D subsidies. I don’t agree with his characterization of the EU ETS carbon permit “market” as a success story, and I wish he’d provide more specifics about the nature of the R&D subsidies he envisions (including how to avoid The Solyndra Problem, if he thinks it’s possible). But I think his political economy point about subsidies vs. taxes is an important one to incorporate into our thinking about institutional design: given the reality of political institutions and their embedded incentives, politicians like to give out stuff rather than impose explicit costs, so analyzing and thinking about how to design effective R&D subsidies has to be part of the low-carbon discussion. I am sure that I’ll have more to say about this essay, particularly on the question of whether or not his perceived R&D gap/”market failure” is true or not.