Seventy leading faculty, doctoral students, and post-doctoral researchers from 22 institutions across the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions shared their research and insights last week at the Northeast Workshop on Energy Policy and Environmental Economics. The workshop was held at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) on June 13-14.
Participants presented on an array of important energy, environmental, and resource topics drawing from a rich set of economics tools. Papers addressed carbon pricing, electricity restructuring, the roles of pricing and information for water consumption in developing countries, and incentives for renewable power innovation. Other papers covered the neighborhood effects of installing solar panels, the labor market impacts of environmental regulation, the impacts of lead pollution on fertility during the 1980 phase-down of leaded gasoline, financial market pricing of natural disaster risk, behavioral changes in response to air quality information in China, fuel economy standards, and oil and gas leasing.
Researchers deployed structural industrial organization models, randomized control trials, quasi-natural experiments, simulation models, financial analyses of equity prices, and political economy frameworks in undertaking their work.
“The workshop serves as a valuable opportunity for doctoral students to learn and contribute to exciting new research,” said Joseph Aldy, associate professor of public policy at HKS and the workshop host. “Eleven doctoral students, including five from Harvard’s public policy and political economy and government programs, gave short presentations on their exciting work this year.”
The Harvard student presentations addressed electricity reliability in India, EPA enforcement of the Clean Water Act, the impacts of carbon prices on power plant efficiency, the public health consequences of agricultural burning in India, and the choice of carbon pricing instruments when abatement investment is irreversible.
The Northeast Workshop also engaged several leading Harvard faculty and alumni who are working in the fields of energy and environmental economics. Robert Stavins, A.J. Meyer Professor of Energy and Economic Development at HKS, presented his recent paper titled “The Future of U.S. Carbon Pricing Policy.” The program also included discussion about the paper titled “The Restructuring of the U.S. Electricity Markets,” co-authored by Alex MacKay, assistant professor at Harvard Business School (HBS). Former Harvard Environmental Economics Program (HEEP) pre-doctoral fellows Cuicui Chen (SUNY-Albany), Todd Gerarden (Cornell), Rich Sweeney (Boston College), and Cynthia Lin Lawell (Cornell) presented papers or delivered comments during the workshop.
Aldy welcomed the 70 attendees, acknowledging the support of the Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE), the Harvard Environmental Economics Program (HEEP), and the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government. In his opening remarks, Aldy reflected on the legacy of Professor Martin Feldstein, who died June 11 after having served on the Harvard faculty for more than 50 years. Aldy lauded Feldstein for championing the academic workshop model during his tenure as the head of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), facilitating the engagement of young scholars, and promoting constructive discussion of research evidence that can promote better public policy.