Sep 152014
 

By Jonathan Ramse, I-PhD student in Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. As part of a team with two colleagues, Julia Poznik and Ruchira Sen, Jonathan has been investigating the role of multiple anchor institutions as stakeholders in economic development as a researcher with E3 Network’s Future Economy Initiative.

It has been apparent for some time now that the economic theories and policies considered business as usual have simply failed. But this is no reason to give up hope quite yet. Meet the new economy! There are numerous innovative models, business and strategic plans, community organizers, and agricultural and waste management techniques that are breaking new paths into a better world. This movement of innovation is not centrally planned and not coordinated by a set of power elites, but is springing up organically in different locations across the country and the world. One of those places is Cleveland, Ohio where the Greater University Circle Initiative (GUCI) is shaping a new way of thinking about and a new way of doing urban economic development.

The GUCI is the focus of our team’s case study. The journey there was not one we expected. Like most everything, the research process is buffeted by uncertainty and unexpected turns. As our research team set off to better understand innovations in Cleveland, our intent was to study the Evergreen Cooperatives. However, we found that doors we thought were open to us were in fact closed. Our timing was off as Evergreen was about to embark on a significant internal assessment which made external review unwelcome. This required a little “on-the-fly” adjustment for our team as we shifted the scope and focus of the project to the GUCI. The GUCI is a multi-anchor institution based development model that encompasses Evergreen in addition to several other projects. As a whole, the initiative attempts to align the interests of three wealthy institutions with the impoverished neighborhoods that surround them. Continue reading »

Sep 082014
 

By Anders Fremstad, Ph.D. candidate in economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and researcher with E3 Network’s Future Economy Initiative. Anders’ current research focuses on the economics of cooperation and the sharing economy.

The “sharing economy”, which is receiving a lot of attention, is built on a simple technology: online platforms. The internet makes it easier for people to buy a used couch, borrow a power drill, or find a place to spend the night. In economic terms, online platforms reduce the transaction cost of borrowing, lending, buying, selling, and giving stuff. This future economy innovation allows people to better allocate durable goods, so that they flow more freely from people who aren’t using them to people who could put them to use.

There is little data on the economic, social, and environmental impacts of the sharing economy, but established platforms have already transformed the way people consume some goods. Consider Craigslist’s impact on the market for secondhand goods. Craig Newmark first launched Craigslist in San Francisco in 1995, and the website now serves hundreds of locations and the vast majority of Americans. Craigslist changed the way people find jobs and apartments, but its greatest impact has probably on how people buy, sell, and give away used items. Continue reading »

Sep 022014
 

By Mark Paul, Ph.D. candidate in economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and researcher with E3 Network’s Future Economy Initiative. Mark’s current research focuses on the link between sustainable agriculture and development. 

I certainly don’t earn a fair wage, but it’s farming. It’s labor of love

- CSA Farmer

CSAboxesCSA farms are expanding at a rapid pace, with operations in every state and a six-fold increase in farms since 2001, but it is questionable whether this innovative farming model is delivering the goods. Proponents claim CSA are an active process of re-embedding market exchanges in social relations, with benefits to the local food economy that include the availability of healthy fresh local produce, sustainable agriculture production, increase in biodiversity, regional economic development through sustainable supply chains, and a vibrant community space that promotes the sharing of knowledge, ideas, and leisure. But is the CSA delivering on these promises? Continue reading »

Jul 302014
 
 July 30, 2014  Posted by at 11:55 am Uncategorized No Responses »

By Frank Ackerman. This is an excerpt from a more detailed commentary, available here.

Richard Tol’s 2013 article, “Targets for global climate policy: An overview,” has been taken by some as a definitive summary of what economics has to say about climate change.[1] It became a central building block of Chapter 10 of the recent  IPCC Working Group 2 report (Fifth Assessment Report, 2014), with some of its numbers appearing in the Working Group 2 Summary for Policymakers.[2]

After extensive analysis of multiple results from a number of authors, Tol reaches strong and surprising conclusions:

  • climate change will be a net benefit to the world economy until about 2.25°C of warming has occurred
  • the optimal carbon tax is a mere $25/tC (or $7/tCO2)
  • the economically “efficient” climate scenario is likely to lead to atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases of more than 625 ppm CO2-equivalent by the end of this century; lower targets might have ruinously high costs

Despite, in the end, almost acknowledging the peculiarity of these conclusions, Tol continues to claim that no compelling argument to the contrary has been made: “A convincing alternative to the intuitively incorrect conclusion that continued warming is optimum, is still elusive.”

Tol’s conclusions in this article do not follow logically from his data and analysis. Though claiming an authoritative and objective stance, he offers, in fact, a controversial reading of climate economics. Continue reading »

Jul 102014
 
 July 10, 2014  Posted by at 5:48 pm Uncategorized No Responses »

By Peter Dorman, originally published on Econospeak

This post begins a new series on policies to combat climate change, with an emphasis on clearing away the misconceptions that have grown up around the subject and now practically strangle it.  While it would take a much bigger effort—a book really—to develop and document all the ideas to come, I’ll do what I can with a series of short, bite-size mini-essays, hopefully one per day.  Given the format, they will sidestep most of the scholarly detail to make their case in the simplest, most direct possible way.  I’d love to do a longer-form version of this series: maybe later.
Continue reading »

Jun 102014
 
 June 10, 2014  Posted by at 4:33 pm Uncategorized No Responses »

Originally published by McClatchy and Tribune Newspapers by Kristen Sheeran

The steady accumulation of recent landmark climate reports is drawing a new form of pushback: not denial, but delay. In a world where denial has no scientific basis, delay provides a fig leaf of legitimacy. But actions speak louder than words and by this metric, delay and denial are indistinguishable.

The latest assessment, the Third National Climate Assessment, raises an obvious question: with so much evidence, why has there been no action? In my home state of Oregon, warming is projected to threaten our iconic forests and the industries they support, and reduce fresh water available for agriculture and industry through declining snow pack. Sea level rise and inundation pose threats to homes and business throughout the Northwest, where ocean acidification (another sad consequence of climate change) is already imperiling our fishing industries. You’d think people would be convinced, but some still find creative ways to rationalize their inertia. Continue reading »

May 192014
 

By Kristen Sheeran in regards to E3 Network’s Future Economy Initiative:

Meet the new economy; it’s not the same as the old one. It’s true that communities throughout the United States are still affected by the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis: foreclosures, unemployment and high inequality are just three of the symptoms. But there’s also something else afoot: an array of innovations taking place nationwide with the potential to change economic life as we know it. The E3 Network is proud to announce the Future Economies Initiative, devoted to carefully documenting, describing and analyzing these innovations around a common framework and set of research questions. Continue reading »

May 182014
 
 May 18, 2014  Posted by at 4:23 pm Uncategorized No Responses »

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The stunning success of the fossil fuel divestment movement has caught many of us off-guard. Almost daily, new universities and foundations are committing to redirecting their endowments from companies that are destroying the planet into ones that are not. Now, on the heels of their successful campaigns, activists are clamoring for guidance on what types of investments they should advocate for. They know that their victories will be ashes in their mouths if their universities simply divest from Exxon and into a “green” Coca-Cola.

Emulating the anti-apartheid Sullivan Principles, there are efforts under way to certify investments as fossil-free. But a “moral screen” that simply rules out fossil fuel companies and perhaps a few other morally questionable investments is a necessary, but not sufficient, step. Continue reading »

Mar 202014
 

By Jim Boyce, originally posted at Triple Crisis.

What’s rent got to do with climate change? More than you might think.

Rent isn’t just the monthly check that tenants write to landlords. Economists use the term “rent seeking” to mean “using political and economic power to get a larger share of the national pie, rather than to grow the national pie,” in the words of Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, who maintains that such dysfunctional activity has metastasized in the United States alongside deepening inequality.

When rent inspires investment in useful things like housing, it’s productive. The economic pie grows, and the people who pay rent get something in return. When rent leads to investment in unproductive activities, like lobbying to capture wealth without creating it, it’s parasitic. Those who pay get nothing in return. Continue reading »