Look for the next GCER Newsletter in June. Past Newsletters can be found here.
News Archive - Page 8
Nov 21, 2014
GU Econ PhD student Nisha Rai recently posted an article in the World Bank's Development Impact. The article discusses Rai's PhD thesis research on the effect of birth attendants on maternal health in Kenya. The article can be found here.
Nov 21, 2014
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded a $3 million grant to Billy Jack and James Habyarimana, co-founders and co-directors of Georgetown University Initiative on Innovation, Development and Evaluation, or gui2de. The grant from USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) supports the third phase of the Initiative's Zusha! study in Kenya, and expands the project to three other countries - Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.
Gui2de conducts empirical field-based research to assess the impact and effectiveness of interventions and policies aimed at empowering individuals in developing countries to improve their lives. GCER co-sponsors Gui2de.
Read more about the grant here.
Oct 20, 2014
New research by GCER Fellow Mark Huggett and St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank economist (and former GU PhD student) Alejandro Badel is featured in a recent publication of the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at the University of Texas. Badel and Huggett develop a quantitative model to analyze the effects of taxing top earners in the U.S. They find optimal tax rates that are higher than those that prevail currently but significantly lower than those proposed by a number of prominent economists. Badel and Huggett show that these proposals discourage human capital investment by top earners and generate lower tax revenue overall.
The TACC article emphasizes the role played by the Stampede supercomputer at the University of Texas. Badel and Huggett turned to Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) at the TACC to calibrate their model.
Oct 14, 2014
The Graduate Committee is pleased to announce that Jason Albert is the winner of the eighteenth annual Razin Prize. Jason received the award for his main dissertation paper titled "Strategic Dynamics of Antibiotic Use and the Evolution of Antibiotic-Resistant Infections". Established by the Razin family in 1997 to honor the memory of Ofair Razin (1966 - 1996; PhD, Georgetown University, 1996), the Razin Prize is awarded each year for the best dissertation paper produced by an advanced graduate student in Economics at GU.
Congratulations to Jason and his advisers Luca Anderlini, John Rust, and Roger Lagunoff.
The Razin Economic Policy Lecture and the award ceremony will take place in the Spring 2015. An announcement will follow closer to that time.
Oct 10, 2014
Carbon emissions make the global economy tipsy: Harrison and Lagunoff study a "business-as-usual" scenario in a tipping model.
For better or worse, the global economy runs on carbon. Climate change resulting from dramatically increased fossil fuel combustion and carbon emissions over the last half century has alarmed scientists and policy experts alike. There is widespread agreement that without an effective international agreement to limit carbon emissions, the continuation of the current trend can have catastrophic consequences.
The absence of an international carbon agreement is often described as the "business-as-usual" (or "BAU") setting. New research by Rodrigo Harrison and GCER Fellow Roger Lagunoff considers such as scenario. They study the countries’ incentives to reduce their carbon emissions under BAU. While most economic studies of climate change examine the incentives of consumers and firms, Harrison and Lagunoff focus specifically on the strategic interaction among the largest players --- the countries themselves. Are outcomes under BAU sustainable or is economic collapse inevitable? What determines the transition, if any, from sustainability to collapse?
Departing from standard formulations, Harrison and Lagunoff consider a world in which a country's GDP depends on both its carbon usage and on how well it maintains the ecosystem. Each country therefore faces a tradeoff for purely nationalistic reasons between, on the one hand, extracting and emitting carbon, and on the other, maintaining a "stock" of stored or "unextracted" carbon required to preserve a healthy ecosystem. Countries naturally differ in how they evaluate this trade off, and even the same country can make different tradeoffs if circumstances change.
In a BAU environment, Harrison and Lagunoff lay out scenarios in which consumption and economic output may collapse and shrink if the carbon stock sustaining the ecosystem falls below some critical threshold --- a tipping point.
The results characterize threshold levels of carbon stocks that delineate the safe operating space for humanity --- a notion developed by climate scientists (see Rockstrom, et al. (2009)) --- from carbon stocks from which tipping occurs. In one unsettling result, Harrison and Lagunoff show that if a strong enough relationship exists between carbon extraction and economic output (as measured by the output elasticities of carbon extraction), a tipping point will certainly be breached. The silver lining is that even in this case, there remains a small window in which tipping may be averted if the countries can depart from BAU and sign on to an effective international treaty to limit emissions.
Reference: Rockstrom, J., W. Steffen, K. Noone, A. Persson, F. Chapin, E. Lambin, T. Lenton, M. Scheffer, C. Folke, H. Schellnhuber, B. Nykvist, C. de Wit, T. Hughes, S. van der Leeuw, H. Rodhe, S. Sorlin, P. Snyder, R. Costanza, U. Svedin, M. Falkenmark, L. Karlberg, R. Corell, V. Fabry, J. Hansen, B. Walker, D. Liverman, K. Richardson, P. Crutzen, and J. Foley ~ (2009), `` A Safe Operating Space for Humanity," Nature, 461: 472-75, DOI: 10.1038/461472a