Adam Smith and the Digital Economy: Connectedness and Gains From Trade

How can an 18th-century Scottish philosopher and economist help us understand the digital economy and our modern, hyper-connected world? That’s a question I’m tackling in a series of three essays at libertarianism.org. Digital technologies have increased our connectedness in profound ways. In the first essay I examine how Smith’s ideas about specialization and exchange combine … More Adam Smith and the Digital Economy: Connectedness and Gains From Trade

Job change, and a blogging renaissance

  I’m pleased to announce that I have accepted a new position at Carnegie Mellon University, as Visiting Professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Co-Director of the Institute for Regulatory Law & Economics (IRLE), and Faculty Affiliate in the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, starting July 1. Founded in 2004 … More Job change, and a blogging renaissance

The UK smart meter transition: industry structure, market power, and interoperability

The UK government started an energy digital smart meter rollout in 2008, an “… £11bn scheme to put 53m devices in 30m homes and small businesses by 2020” to yield an estimated gross benefit of £16.7bn. Calling the rollout a disaster would be generous — it’s behind schedule, about £1bn over budget, and full of technical … More The UK smart meter transition: industry structure, market power, and interoperability

“Any aid package, no matter what dollar amount, is a Band-Aid on an arterial bleed.”

More stinging criticism of the agricultural industry harms from the Trump tariffs and the proposed aid package to offset some of those harms since my post about the dairy industry yesterday — this article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is full of pointed arguments against them: Bill Gordon, a soybean farmer near Worthington, Minn., said his crop … More “Any aid package, no matter what dollar amount, is a Band-Aid on an arterial bleed.”

Two EV entries in the “how cool is this?” file

Economical energy storage has long been the Holy Grail of electricity. Since 1800, when Alessandro Volta invented the electric pile (a forerunner of the modern battery), hobbyists, scientists, and engineers have experimented with chemicals and materials to create economical storage at a smaller scale than a hydroelectric dam and with a more portable technology than, … More Two EV entries in the “how cool is this?” file

Coase’s influence on economics, and Adam Smith’s influence on Coase

Understanding the economy as a dynamic, complex system relies on the foundational work of several economists, including Adam Smith (of course) and Ronald Coase. As Coase observed in his 1991 Nobel Prize address, What I have done is to show the importance for the working of the economic system of what may be termed the … More Coase’s influence on economics, and Adam Smith’s influence on Coase

Epistemology and synthetic market design: Examples from ecosystem services

Some of the most illuminating work in market design lately has been in payment for ecosystem services (PES). These projects provide examples of the continuing relevance of institutions to economic and policy outcomes, and the importance of Elinor Ostrom’s work on the diversity of governance institutions in common-pool resources; despite criticisms leveled at synthetic markets, … More Epistemology and synthetic market design: Examples from ecosystem services