Farming has always been an uncertain business. Weather and the price-taking nature of being small relative to large commodity markets lead to feast or famine. The Trump Trade War and today’s palliative farm subsidies to farmers harmed by Trump’s tariffs combine with pre-existing subsidies to amplify that underlying boom and bust cycle, imposing high costs on … More Dairy farming, tariffs, and Trump’s “12 billion dollar crutches”
Maximilian Auffhammer explored the question, “How Local Should Your Energy Retailer Be?” at the Energy Institute at Haas blog. He said the issue had come up over lunch in the office. The distribution utility of the future is going to buy electrons in this reordered market (mostly renewables and some fossils) and sell them to its … More Should your electricity distributor also be your electricity retailer?
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
The Natural Resources committee of the U.S. House of Representatives recently held three hearings addressing oil and gas resources on federal lands and waters. On June 6 the committee considered several proposed drafts revising various aspects of the onshore oil and gas leasing and permitting processes. The second hearing, on June 14, concerned the proposed … More The politicized world of public lands as revealed in hearings of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources
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
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
An article on federal oil and gas auctions by Natasha Geiling at ThinkProgress caught my eye. The ThinkProgress story mostly is concerned that quasi-anonymous companies can secure oil and gas leasing rights on federal land, and anonymity might make it harder to enforce regulatory protections and lead to environmental problems. The object of her concern is … More Is an anonymous energy company actually a front for a conservation group? I hope so!
The proposed steel tariff will benefit the steel industry. This is what is seen as a consequence of the steel tariff. What is unseen is the higher prices for goods that use steel, the lower quantity demanded of those goods, and the resulting lost jobs in industries like automobile manufacturing and construction. Bastiat’s “What Is … More US Steel reopening plant and bringing back jobs: CEO on Trump tariffs
This BBC article on big data and fisheries is fascinating. Using satellite photography, researchers have mapped all of the world’s fisheries by area, finding that fishery area is larger than arable acreage while providing less than 2% of all calories consumed. I also found the conclusion thought-provoking that the patterns reveal larger effects from politics … More BBC News: World’s fishing fleets mapped from orbit
Barry Smitherman has an op-ed in the Dallas Morning News, “How Texas used a free market to reduce electricity prices and pollution.” Smitherman is former chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission and before that of the Texas Public Utilities Commission. He highlights price reductions available to consumers as compared to prices immediately before the retail … More Barry Smitherman: How Texas used a free market to reduce electricity prices and pollution