Wednesday, November 28, 2012

California Caps and Trades

It will be interesting to see how this saga plays out, as perhaps the prime economic suggestion to limiting emissions runs into the political realities of individual losses.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity

Hi, I wanted to share with you this course held at Yale University about the TEEB initiative.

When I was working at UNEP -LAC I was part of the organization committee for the first course of TEEB for policy makers, which took place in Trinidad and Tobago and now is being replicated and improved and has been taught at Yale University for students.

It is a worldwide initiative and it is mainly about valuing nature: the background and importance, techniques, instruments, pros and cons, context for valuation, etc.

I hope you enjoy it!.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Catch Share Design, Part 3: Available Resources

         After deciding on the projects goals, the specific resource components must be chosen.  First and foremost, the decision must be made whether or not the target species will be managed by itself, in a single species program or in a multi-species management plan.  In general, the decision to create a multi-species fishery can be determined by the fact that many species are often caught together.  For example, many kinds of groundfish are caught together.  This is why the US west coast groundfish trawl managers have implemented an ITQ system that distributes quota for 64 species of rockfish, 14 species of flatfish, 6 species of roundfish, 6 species of sharks and skate, and others, totaling over 90 species in all.  The reason to create a single species program is when fisheries that result in relatively minimal bycatch are isolated geographically or in some other way, such as species specific gear (crab traps).
            The spatial nature of the fishery is also of critical importance to its management.  Often times the same species can be harvested in disparate areas where local populations must be taken into account, just as overall populations are considered.  If this is the case, what the CSDM calls “zones” can be established to further regulate the fishery over spatially different regions.
            Next in the management development is determining the catch.  With biologically based data, an economic assessment of effort is conducted to determine where current practices operate, a point called “open access”, and where the final goal will lie.  A typical American goal is maximum sustainable yield (MSY), which operates at a point where the rejuvenation of the stock is equal in any given year to the harvest and where this stock growth is maximized.  Some managers do set the goal where resource rents are maximized at maximum economic yield, but it is difficult to convince fishermen to decrease effort and accept a lower harvest than MSY because it often means fewer fishermen participating.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Medicare Challenge

 The final words from an editorial this morning about Medicare:
 "[This article] is in no way an argument for inaction. It is an argument for serious, unhurried analysis in a less polarized climate. That is the only way to fix this vital program."

If we do not have starting point for discourse, how do we expect to have any serious and lasting changes to our less than perfect political system?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What a wonderful world it could be

Written in Chinese for a Chinese audience, this New York Times op-ed piece "How China Can Defeat America", if taken to heart, could change the way global and national politics is waged.  If countries led from the humane authority approach espoused in the article, support would be given through genuine love and admiration.  Development aid is not given out in dollars, but in advice and case studies of how a responsible government improved the lives of its citizens.  This would be a world where citizens of developed countries attempt to erase world poverty by first starting in their own slums and forgotten counties, where credit is a term bestowed from previous success, not previous debt, and where information is true, accurate and consumed because it is understood to be so.

The author, Yan Xuetong, is writing to inform future Chinese leaders of the characteristics they must adopt if they desire a global competitive advantage.  It is ironic, then, that what I take from his writing was not the nervousness of a challenge or the anger of a foe but a comfort and (dare I say) hope of future that could be compassionate and robust.  We all need dreams, right?  Well, what a wonderful world it could be.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Our Philosophers

NPR's Morning Edition reported this morning on the second installment of a 3 part series on philosophers who have influenced politics and the study of Economics itself.  Yesterday the story was Ayn Rand, today it was Friedrich Hayek, both notable for their approaches to laissez-faire government policy.  Check out tomorrow's story on the current champion of the western world, John Maynard Keynes.