Lake near San Luis Obispo, CA. crop_USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Public domain.

California Water Rights

In the last century, California has issued water rights that amount to roughly five times the state’s average annual runoff, underscoring a chronic imbalance between supply and demand. Michael Hanemann has studied the issue and says it is not that the state has issued too many water rights, but rather that enforcement of water rights is lacking. Learn more

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Benefit-Cost Analyses for Security Policies

The opening of the National September 11th Memorial and Museum in 2014 marks a new era of reflection toward enhancing homeland security regulation in the United States. In the context of this new era, it is necessary to consider how policy intended to reinforce homeland security is evaluated. V. Kerry Smith and Carol Mansfield are co-editors of a new book on U.S. homeland security policies and regulations. Available January 2015. Preview new book


The EPA Announces New Carbon Regulations for Power Plants

The Environmental Protection Agency proposes new restrictions on power plants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a move that is likely to accelerate a shift away from coal. By 2030 the new regulation would cut carbon pollution from power plants by 30% from previous levels — the equivalent of taking two-thirds of all cars and truck in America off the road. Learn more

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Air Pollution in China Alters Lifestyle

Smog across northern China has surged to record levels. Deadly pollutants up to 40 times the recommended exposure limit in Beijing and other cities have struck fear into parents and led them to take steps that are radically altering the nature of urban life for their children. Parents are confining sons and daughters to their homes, schools are canceling outdoor activities and field trips. Families are choosing schools based on air-filtration systems, and some international schools have built gigantic, futuristic-looking domes over sports fields to ensure healthy breathing. Learn more

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Environmental Policy and Medicare

Don’t forget the caregivers. This is the lesson from the EPA sponsored research on the effects of air pollution on the elderly and children by Mary Evans and Christine Poulos along with the Center’s researcher V. Kerry Smith. Learn more


WikiLeaks, Drone Strikes, and Consumer Sovereignty

Not all security secrets are equally important to keep. A representative sample of U.S. residents would give up some security to have information that relates to airline travel. Research by Carol Mansfield, Allen Klaiber and Kerry Smith finds that information disclosure can be important regardless of the consequences when it comes to air travel. Learn more


Spatial Scale and Ecosystems Services

Economists have long contended that neighborhoods can offer people a “spatial supermarket” of amenity choices. Sorting out the signals of tradeoffs that are important to people from spatial clutter requires creative use of geography. Professors Joshua Abbott and Allen Klaiber offer those insights in measuring the role of different types of open space amenities. Learn more


De-Mystifying Quasi-Experiments

Academic “shoe leather” and clever research designs can recover subtle effects of policy—intended or not. Recovering measures of people’s economic tradeoffs can require more. Research by Professors Nicolai Kuminoff and Jaren Pope explains the difference and why it is important to the revolution sweeping through the literature on policy evaluation. Learn more


Targeting Water Management Policies

Residential water demand is heterogeneous. Past efforts to consistently model demand responses to water prices have focused on the incentives stemming from increasing block pricing and given less attention to the heterogeneity in demands. The later may well be more important to flexible water management that assures basic services can be paid for and water scarcity is recognized. Professor Michael Hanemann has pioneered the leading research in this area. Dr. Kent Zhao, recent CEESP Post-Doctoral Fellow has extended this work by developing innovative methods for unpacking the sources for the diversity in water demands. Learn more


Taking Responsibility for Food Safety

Consumers want to be empowered to manage food safety risks. As the German people suggested in June 2011, centralized management will be increasingly challenged to be responsive. A survey conducted in 2007, anticipated the demands for private strategies to enhance food safety. Learn more


Macro Policy and the Planet

Nobel Laureate Ed Prescott and V. Kerry Smith brought leading macro-theorists and environmental economists to the Southwest with the support of the W. P. Carey School of Business, the Decision Center for a Desert City, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Their goal was to launch a continuing dialogue that will redirect both fields so each considers the interaction between aggregate economic conditions and the environment. Learn more