31 January 2012

Environmental Economics and Government Policy

I attended (and recorded!) an interesting panel discussion at the ASSA in Chicago

Environmental Economics, Policy, and Politice
Moderator: Robert Stavins (Harvard University)
Joseph Aldy (Harvard University)
Michael Greenstone (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Robert Hahn (University of Oxford)
Adele Morris (Brookings Institution)
Richard Newell (Duke University)
William Pizer (Duke University)

Most participants had worked for a few years "inside the machine" and then gone on to further academic research. They had a number of interesting stories.

In response to my question ("were you able to revoke policies that failed an economic cost-benefit?"), they answered "No. It's really hard to kill a policy that's in place. Most of the good we did was in preventing bad ideas from moving ahead."

Good news, I guess.

Here are two MP3 recordings. The first has everyone's opening remarks; the second has the Q & A.

Bottom Line: It's hard to work for change from within the government. On the one hand you have access to decision makers and the policy process; on the other, you may be trapped in bureaucratic silos or excluded from decisions where the policy is to ignore economics.

1 comment:

Patti DiVita said...

Hi!

You're right, working for change is hard, in or out of governments. It's hard to change the way people think much less how they behave. If you have a free minute you can see the recent video from the International Water Forum at the UN in September at www.remake4water.org Thanks! Patti