Complexity, Permissionless Innovation, and the English Dance

Recently on EconTalk Russ Roberts talked with Duke University’s Mike Munger about permissionless innovation. The discussion focused on Mike’s recent essay on permissionless innovation, in which he claimed that “permissionless innovation, a strong presumption in favor of allowing experimentation with new technologies and with new business platforms that use those technologies” is the most important, … More Complexity, Permissionless Innovation, and the English Dance

Energy literacy, innovation, and economic history: a recent talk

The Illinois Science & Energy Innovation Foundation (ISEIF) is a foundation that uses its grantmaking to “create a more energy-literate society that’s ready for the smart grid“. Working through local community organizations including educational and religious organizations, ISEIF provides grants to promote understanding of and use of markets and technology to promote behavior change in … More Energy literacy, innovation, and economic history: a recent talk

Illinois NextGrid, platform economics, and a new working paper

Recently the Illinois Commerce Commission kicked off its “utility of the future” initiative, called NextGrid. This 18-month stakeholder study will gather ideas to map out a strategic direction for electricity in Illinois. I spoke on a panel at the kickoff event that focused on platforms and transactive energy; here’s a summary of the panel from … More Illinois NextGrid, platform economics, and a new working paper

OECD on competition and new electricity business models

This article in the OECD Observer¬†by Chris Pike provides a concise overview of some of the current issues and challenges that innovation is creating for existing business and regulatory models in electricity (and cites Kiesling & Munson 2016, thank you for that!). The main argument is that digital innovation is disrupting the traditional regulated retail … More OECD on competition and new electricity business models

NIST Smart Grid Advisory Committee

The electric power network is becoming increasingly digital. I started working on digital technology and smart grid topics in 2004, and served on the GridWise Architecture Council 2005-2009, focusing on enhancing understanding and use of interoperability principles in business and regulatory decisions. One of the important partners in expanding awareness of interoperability and its importance … More NIST Smart Grid Advisory Committee

Solar eclipses and the electric grid: Markets and automation

Yesterday’s solar eclipse across the US amplified a dominant issue in electricity policy discussions over the past couple of years — does increasing use of distributed energy resources like solar photovoltaics make the grid more resilient, or does it lead to imbalance and inadequacy? In California during the eclipse¬†(Financial Times), solar generation dropped compared to … More Solar eclipses and the electric grid: Markets and automation

Apple’s jack and incumbent vertical market power

  Apple’s controversial decision to remove the universal 3.5mm audio jack from its just-released iPhone 7 has several economic dimensions. All of them are a consequence of Apple’s proprietary architecture (colloquially known as “Steve’s walled garden”) and the extent to which Apple is trying to/able to exercise incumbent vertical market power. How much market power … More Apple’s jack and incumbent vertical market power

Pharmaceuticals and multi-layered government-granted monopoly

Mylan’s price increase of the EpiPen in late August has caused consternation and a lot of debate about the reasons why Mylan has been able to increase the EpiPen price so dramatically above its production cost. Don’t forget that production cost includes the time and resources that comprise FDA compliance costs, even for generics like … More Pharmaceuticals and multi-layered government-granted monopoly

The Economist on adverse selection and moral hazard

The Economist is running a series on classic articles that have transformed economics, starting with George Akerlof’s 1970 “Market for Lemons” paper. Akerlof catalyzed the field of information economics by pointing out possible consequences of asymmetric information in the case where one party to a transaction has more complete information about product quality than the … More The Economist on adverse selection and moral hazard