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HEEP Awards Student Prizes for 2017-2018 Academic Year

May 16, 2018

The Harvard Environmental Economics Program has, for the ninth consecutive year, awarded three prizes to Harvard University students for the best research papers addressing a topic in environmental, energy, or natural-resource economics – one prize each for an undergraduate paper or senior thesis, master’s student paper, and doctoral student paper. Each prize was accompanied by a monetary award. The Harvard Environmental Economics Program (HEEP) is a University-wide initiative based in the...

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Learn about HEEP

HEEP is a university-wide initiative addressing today's complex environmental challenges and is based in the Harvard Kennedy School’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government. Learn more by reading director Robert Stavins' welcome message.

Recent Publications

Schmalensee, Richard, and Robert N. Stavins. “The Design of Environmental Markets: What Have We Learned From Experience With Cap and Trade?.” Oxford Review of Economic Policy 33, no. 4 (2017): 572–588.Abstract
Abstract: This article reviews the design of environmental markets for pollution control over the past 30 years, and identifies key market-design lessons for future applications. The focus is on a subset of the cap-and-trade systems that have been implemented, planned, or proposed around the world. Three criteria led us to the selection of systems for review. First, among the broader class of tradable permit systems, our focus is exclusively on cap-and-trade mechanisms, thereby excluding emission-reductioncredit or offset programmes. Second, among cap-and-trade mechanisms, we examine only those that target pollution abatement, and so we do not include applications to natural resource management, such as individual transferable quota systems used to regulate fisheries. Third, we focus on the most prominent applications—those that are particularly important environmentally, economically, or both. Keywords: environmental markets, cap-and-trade system, air pollution, global climate change JEL classification: Q58, Q28, Q53, Q54
Greenstone, Michael, Cass R. Sunstein, and Sam Ori. “The Next Generation of Transportation Policy.” Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, 2017.Abstract
Motor vehicle fuel-economy standards have long been a cornerstone of U.S. policy to reduce fuel consumption in the light-duty vehicle fleet. In 2011 and 2012 these standards were significantly expanded in an effort to achieve steep reductions in oil demand and greenhouse gas emissions through 2025, consistent with long-term U.S. policy goals. As a policy approach, however, standards that focus on efficiency alone, as opposed to lifetime consumption, impose unnecessarily high costs and do not deliver guaranteed petroleum savings. On the basis of a commitment to cost-benefit analysis, defining U.S. regulatory policy for more than 30 years, we propose a novel policy solution that would implement a cap-and-trade system in transportation. Acknowledging that the very idea of cap and trade has become controversial, we show that this approach would increase the certainty of reductions in fuel consumption in transportation and do so at a far lower cost per gallon avoided. Such an approach is consistent with the regulatory authority existing at key federal agencies.
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