Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Seminar at Crawford School: Astrid Kander - A Better Way to Assign Responsibility for Carbon Emissions

Astrid Kander will be visiting ANU for a couple of weeks next month and giving a seminar on the 22nd October. We are collaborating on my ARC project on energy transitions. Full details are at this link.

This presentation will highlight one drawback of the currently very popular consumption based emission estimates for assessing the impact of international trade on carbon dioxide emissions in individual countries. The MRIO (multi regional input-output) method and the SRIO (single regional input-output) method with actual technologies are similar in that they aim at allocating all global CO2 emissions to the country of consumption of the commodities rather than to the producer country. However, both methods have one severe drawback when they are used for assessing responsibility for global emissions; i.e., they neglect the NEGA-emissions, which are the saved emissions in developing countries due to importing goods produced using cleaner technologies in developed countries.

If the amount of CO2 emissions of a country’s consumption, adjusted for international trade, is the key question, then the appropriate method should be the MRIO method (or the SRIO with actual technologies), adjusted for the NEGA-emissions possibly incurred. It is suggested that this revised method could also result in all countries’ emissions summing up to actual global emissions. This new way of measuring responsibility would increase the legitimacy of the calculations as a measure of responsibility for emissions because both the consumption levels and patterns and the production technologies and energy systems of all nations would be taken into account.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Post-Doc Position at Crawford School

I am looking for a post-doc to work with me on our ARC funded project Energy Transitions: Past, Present, and Future. As the ad says, we are looking for someone with expertise in computable general equilibrium and macro-economic modelling and an interest in energy and environmental economics and climate policy. If you are interested in the position, it's important to understand that you will be bringing expertise to our team that we don't have. So we really need someone who knows what they are doing rather than someone looking to use a post-doc to learn more about CGE modelling. That said, we do have faculty and students here at Crawford with expertise in CGE modelling and we have a strong concentration in environmental and resource economics and so this could be a good environment to develop your career in the field. I will certainly encourage the successful candidate to publish (including on previous research), attend conferences (some funding available) etc.

It will be an advantage if you have previously worked with the G-Cubed model but we will also consider candidates with experience with other models.

The higher stated salary is the rate of pay for a candidate with a completed PhD.

Please contact me if you have any questions about the position.

Monday, September 17, 2012

MAER-Net Colloqium

Somehow I never mentioned that I will be participating in this year's MAER-Net Colloqium in Perth. MAER-Net is a network of researchers using meta-analysis in economics. Meta-analysis is of course the statistical analysis of existing quantitative studies. It started in the area of medical and drug trials and is now used in many fields. There have been annual MAER Net Colloqia so far in Conway, Arkansas (home of Hendrix College and Tom Stanley), Cambridge, and now Perth. I'm presenting on our meta-analysis of the energy-GDP causality literature. We have a rough draft of a paper completed (as of yesterday) but I'd prefer to get some feedback at the workshop first before putting it up as an official working paper. We do have some interesting findings regarding this literature as well as some suggestions for new meta-analysis models. But if you are interested you will have to be patient :)

Also, a reminder that I will be giving a presentation at UWA on Friday.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

How Bad is the Academic Job Market?

History is supposedly one of the worst most over-supplied fields for academic employment. I often read about how "there are no jobs" and only going to Harvard or Princeton for your PhD can get you a job. But that is anecdote. Here are some data for the US history market. The main issue I think is that only 50% of starting PhD students ever complete the degree. However, of those that do complete the degree 60% end up with tenure track jobs within 10 years of starting. 20% end up in non-academic jobs and 20% are stuck with adjunct type positions that usually pay terribly and are very insecure. This doesn't seem that bad. Of course, the fraction who end up with jobs at research oriented universities is going to be quite small. If you want to have a good chance at a job like that you really do need to go to a top program. The same is true for other academic jobs markets like economics too, of course. Even though the economics job market is better but mainly because a lot of foreign students return to their home country and there are more good non-academic jobs available for econ PhDs.

Monday, September 10, 2012

$10,000 Top Up Awards for APAs

The College of Asia and the Pacific will pay top up awards of $10,000 per year to the most outstanding, newly commencing, PhD students who received APA awards (Australian government fellowships for domestic PhD students). This is a great opportunity to study for a PhD at the Crawford School and receive a much better than average stipend.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fuel Choices in Rural Maharashtra

I have a new working paper up coauthored with former masters student Jack Gregory. The paper analyses data from two tribal area villages in Maharashtra State. Jack organized and supervised the survey when he worked for the NGO WOTR in India a few years ago. The surveyed was intended to provide data on greenhouse gas emissions and so had some shortcomings as an information source for understanding energy demand and the choice of fuel. Still, we thought it was worthwhile presenting this information to a wider audience.

We found that there were really big differences between the villages. In the village of Purushwadi income had a big effect on energy use, but there was little relationship in the nearby village of Kohane. Unfortunately, we don't have any explanation for this difference. In Purushwadi the relationship between energy use and income was also different than that found in national surveys.

The national surveys show fairly constant use of biomass across income groups and increased use of modern fuels in the upper half of the income distribution in rural India (Khandker et al., 2012):

The numbers refer to income deciles. Unfortunately, we don't have data on electricity use, though we do have data on electricity connections. Here is the data for per capita energy use that we do have by income quintile in each village (P = Purushwadi, K = Kohane):

It seems to me that research in this area is mostly about coming up with common patterns but understanding more about the differences between villages might be also of interest.

Besides this, our modelling shows modest support for the energy ladder or rather "energy stacking" hypothesis. Energy stacking implies that rural households continue to use traditional fuels but add more and more of the modern ones as their income rises. Also we find that using higher quality energy sources reduces energy use, ceteris paribus. We also find that household size, stove ownership, and season influence rural energy choices. However, the effects of improved stoves are small and not consistent across the villages. This fits with recent evidence for modest or even perverse impacts of improved stoves.

Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what is involved in measuring energy use in rural India:

(a) Measuring rice with a 5 kg basket scale; (b) Measuring a headload of branches with a 25 kg hanging scale; (c) Measuring kerosene with a 200 ml graduated cylinder

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Visitors to Crawford

We are very happy to welcome Professor Robert Costanza and Dr Ida Kubiszewski as Visiting Fellows to the Crawford School.

Professor Robert Costanza was Distinguished University Professor of Sustainability, in the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University. Before moving to PSU in late 2010, he was the Gund Professor of Ecological Economics and founding director of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont. Before Vermont, he was on the faculty at Maryland and LSU, a visiting scientist at the Beijer Institute in Sweden, and at the Illinois Natural History Survey. Bob is also currently a Senior Fellow at the National Council on Science and the Environment, Washington, DC, and a Senior Fellow at the Stockholm Resilience Center, Stockholm, Sweden, and an Affiliate Fellow at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont. Bob is co-founder and past-president of the International Society for Ecological Economics, and was chief editor of the society's journal, Ecological Economics from its inception in 1989 until 2002. He is founding co-editor (with Karin Limburg and Ida Kubiszewski) of Reviews in Ecological Economics. He currently serves on the editorial board of ten other international academic journals. He is also founding editor in chief of Solutions ( ) a unique hybrid academic/popular journal. Bob is the author or co-author of over 500 scientific papers and 23 books. His work has been cited in more than 11,000 scientific articles and he has been named as one of ISI’s Highly Cited Researchers since 2004.

Dr Ida Kubiszewski was a Research Assistant Professor and Fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Solutions, at Portland State University. She is also the Managing Editor of a magazine/journal hybrid called Solutions, launched January 2010. Solutions is an outlet for discussions focusing on solutions to the complex problems we are now facing in the context of whole systems design for a sustainable and desirable future. She is also the co-editor (with Karin Limburg and Robert Costanza) of Reviews in Ecological Economics, published annually by Springer, providing in-depth reviews of the most timely and important issues in the field of Ecological Economics. Ida is also a co-founder and former-Managing Editor of the Encyclopedia of Earth, an electronic reference about the Earth, its natural environments, and their interaction with society. She is a Junior Fellow at the National Council for Science and the Environment and sits on the steering committees or advisory boards of various organizations including the Ecosystem Service Partnership, Environmental Information Coalition, and the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics.

Article on Climate Mitigation Costs in The Conversation

I have an article today in The Conversation explaining the main findings of our recent paper in AJARE. This time I managed to squeeze the "low hanging fruit" in. There is even a picture of bananas :) Go over to The Conversation to read and discuss it.

Crawford School Moves Up to Number 4 (or 2) in Australia

Following the move of CAMA from the College of Business and Economics to the Crawford School, Crawford has jumped from #6 in the RePEc ranking for Australia to #4. Crawford actually is the second highest ranking Australian department in the World ranking in economics after Monash. This is because Australian universities are strong in different indicators than typical institutions globally are.

The Crawford School first entered the top 20% list for Australia in May 2007 at 18th.