A Sabbatical Note

Modern life is full of bustle and inattention, with too many activities and tasks and opportunities competing for our limited cognitive bandwidth. Even in the relatively staid academic life this is true; my regular teaching requirements and other campus commitments have meant that my mind is stretched, particularly over the past few years as some of the aspects of my job have shifted around. I have to fit in research when and where I can, and for the past few years it’s felt like the space for it is in the interstitial bits between my other responsibilities. Combine that with my natural inclination towards short attention, encouraged by the Internet, and I haven’t made the time or mental space to work on new ideas. But for the next few months, that will change.

One of the most appealing aspects of an academic job is the opportunity to take a sabbatical, and I am taking one now. I am thrilled and honored to be visiting in the Department of Political Economy at King’s College London, where I’ll be working with my good friends Mark Pennington and Paul Lewis. I’ll be here for six months, and am planning to work on a couple of different papers on the effects of regulation on experimentation by producers and consumers,alternative regulatory frameworks that could move us toward permissionless innovation in the electricity industry, and regulation and innovation in the residential rooftop solar market.

The KP Spouse (who will work in his regular job from London) and I left Chicago last Monday, laden with luggage and bicycles. After a week of grocery shopping, exploration, and a trip to Edinburgh to celebrate our godson’s birthday, I have been welcomed enthusiastically by my colleagues at King’s this week. It’s a diverse department, full of economists and political scientists working at the intersection of various theoretical strands, and I’m looking forward to the exchange of ideas and cross-pollination. And to living in London, of course, one of my favorite places in the world.

Please stay tuned …