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  • Author: Daniel K. N. Johnson, Kristina M. Lybecker
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Economics and Business, Colorado College
  • Abstract: This paper aims to summarize the state of academic knowledge surrounding the economics of environmental innovation. Following a definition of environmental technology, the paper enumerates and describes the obstacles or constraints to the development of eco-innovation.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment
  • Author: Esther Redmount, Arthur Snow, Ronald S. Warren Jr.
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Economics and Business, Colorado College
  • Abstract: We analyze the effects of a largely ignored 1885 legislative reform in Massachusetts requiring that firms provide workers the option of receiving weekly wage payments. Using an inter-temporal model of deferred compensation, we derive conditions on elasticities of labor supply that determine the effects of the reform on workers' effective wage and utility. We then examine empirically the effects of the reform, using weekly data on mill workers in Lowell. Given the implications of our theoretical analysis, the empirical findings of positive wage and reform elasticities imply that the switch to weekly payment increased workers' effective wage and well-being.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Geoffrey Clemm, Mark Griffin Smith
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Economics and Business, Colorado College
  • Abstract: After eight years of non-engagement, the new administration and the U.S. Congress, led by a majority in the President's party, are rapidly developing climate policy legislation. This paper summarizes past efforts to establish a national climate policy in the United States as well as the major forces influencing the current debate. While this debate is largely shaped by domestic considerations, it takes place as the international community moves to agree on a post-Kyoto policy regime in Copenhagen next December. Whether the United States is willing to take strong action will significantly influence the actions of other nations.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Globalization, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Daniel K. N. Johnson, Christopher Ryan Hughes
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Economics and Business, Colorado College
  • Abstract: Agriculture, like many primary and service sectors, is a frequent recipient of innovation intended for its use, even if those innovations originate in industrial sectors. The challenge has been identifying them from patent data, which are recorded for administrative purposes using the International Patent Classification (IPC) system. We reprogram a well-tested tool, the OECD Technology Concordance (OTC), to identify 16 million patents granted between 1975 and 2006 worldwide which have potential application in agriculture. This paper presents the methodology of that dataset's construction, introduces the data via summaries by nation and industrial sector over time, and suggests some potential avenues for future exploration of empirical issues using these data.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Science and Technology, Food, Famine
  • Author: Kristina M. Lybecker, Brendan Hannah
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Economics and Business, Colorado College
  • Abstract: The recent stagnation of electronic commerce highlights the need to understand contemporary online consumer behavior. This study incorporates current user demographics and emerging Internet activities to dynamically model the determinants of two key measurements of recent online shopping, a purchase within the last year and the novel dependent variable, percentage of income spent online in the last three months. Logistic regression is applied to a nationally representative 2007 survey of the U.S. online population. Determinants of a recent online purchase include, ownership of a credit card, an online payment account (PayPalTM), listening to podcasts, participating in online auctions, and for the first time, female gender. In a second regression, positive determinants for the percentage of income spent online include male gender, educational attainment, online auctions, instant messenging and online dating. Online spending increases with time online and appears to compete with other forms of online entertainment and social networking.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Markets, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Daniel K. N. Johnson, Hilary S. Johnson
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Economics and Business, Colorado College
  • Abstract: This study examines the relationship between pharmaceutical R and health care expenditures, distinguishing between the short- and long-run impacts. To measure these relationships quantitatively, we focus on patents as a key factor driving the costs of pharmaceuticals, and develop a structured vector autoregressive (SVAR) model to measure the social rate of return to pharmaceutical research as protected by patents. We conclude with unambiguous results that pharmaceutical patents are not correlated with higher short-run prices in any measure of medical costs. They are associated with higher long-run prices in pharmaceuticals themselves, but with lower long-run prices in the aggregate medical sector which includes pharmaceuticals as a component part. Further, the TRIPS Agreement and Hatch-Waxman Act to enable generic competition have both been demonstrably effective at lowering prices across the spectrum of medical sector prices. We conclude that pharmaceutical patents may be economically medicinal themselves, acting as the 'ounce of prevention' that saves a 'pound of cure', the cure which would come in the form of even higher costs elsewhere in the medical sector.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Markets
  • Author: Geoffrey D. Dabelko, editor
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: "We are not your traditional environmentalists," General Gordon Sullivan (USA, Ret.), former U.S. Army chief of staff, wryly told reporters as he presented the Center for Naval Analysis' (CNA) report National Security and the Threat of Climate Change in April 2007 (Eskew, 2007). Arguing for more aggressive U.S. action on climate change, Sullivan said the incomplete scientific understanding of global warming was no excuse for delay. Military leaders make battlefield decisions based on partial information all the time-otherwise, more lives would be lost. Penned by Sullivan and 10 other former U.S. generals and admirals, the launch of the CNA report is but one event that marked the return of environmental security to the world stage in 2007 and 2008.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jennifer L. Hochschild
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Three uncontroversial points add up to a paradox: 1) Almost every democratic theorist or democratic political actor sees an informed electorate as essential to good democratic practice. Citizens must know who or what they are choosing and why – hence the need for expansive and publicly funded education, and the rights to free speech, assembly, press, and movement. 2) In most if not all democratic polities, the proportion of the population granted the suffrage has consistently expanded, and seldom contracted, over the past two centuries. Most observers agree that expanding enfranchisement makes a state more democratic. 3) Most expansions of the suffrage bring in, on average, people who are less politically informed or less broadly educated than those already eligible to vote.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Politics
  • Author: Jeffery G. Williamson
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Most analysts of the modern Latin American economy hold to a pessimistic belief in historical persistence-they believe that Latin America has always had very high levels of inequality, suggesting it will be hard for modern social policy to create a more egalitarian society. This paper argues that this conclusion is not supported by what little evidence we have. The persistence view is based on an historical literature which has made little or no effort to be comparative. Modern analysts see a more unequal Latin America compared with Asia and the rich post-industrial nations and then assume that this must always have been true. Indeed, some have argued that high inequality appeared very early in the post-conquest Americas, and that this fact supported rent-seeking and anti-growth institutions which help explain the disappointing growth performance we observe there even today. This paper argues to the contrary. Compared with the rest of the world, inequality was not high in pre-conquest 1491, nor was it high in the postconquest decades following 1492. Indeed, it was not even high in the mid-19th century just prior Latin America's belle époque. It only became high thereafter. Historical persistence in Latin American inequality is a myth.
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Stefanie Walter, Linda Maduz
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: How does globalization affect individuals and their perceptions and policy preferences? This paper uses new developments in international trade theory to propose a new way of conceptualizing and measuring the extent to which an individual can be characterized as globalization winner or loser. We argue that the distributional effect of exposure to international competition is conditional on individuals' ability. Low-ability workers exposed to the international economy face lower wages and higher risk of unemployment, and can therefore be characterized as globalization losers. In contrast, high-ability workers receive higher wages when they are exposed to international competition are therefore identified as globalization winners. To illustrate the usefulness of this approach for political scientists, the paper revisits the debate about the determinants of social policy preferences. Using crossnational survey data from 16 countries we show that globalization has significant and heterogenous individual-level effects. Exposure to globalization increases risk perceptions and demands for more income redistribution among individuals with low levels of education (as a proxy for ability), but decreases these perceptions and demands among highly educated respondents.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Markets, Political Theory