Monthly Archives: November 2009

UMass Cap-and-Dividend Study In Play In DC.

Professor James K. Boyce

Professor James K. Boyce

Cap and Dividend: A State-by-State Analysis, a PERI Working paper by UMass Econ Professor James K. Boyce and Ph.D. student Matthew Riddle, is in play this month in Washington in the debate over how best to price carbon and distribute the proceeds. Boyce and Riddle point out that auctioning 100 percent of carbon permits and returning most of the auction revenue to citizens on a per capita basis would provide significant net benefits to the majority of citizens, even in carbon-intensive states.

Cap-And-Dividend Advocates Pitch Plan To Ease Regional Disparities
Charles Davis, Carbon Control News, Posted November 12, 2009

A coalition of local and regional environmental groups is citing an unpublished analysis from researchers at the University of Massachusetts to argue that an emissions trading scheme that auctions all carbon permits and returns the revenue directly to citizens through rebates or tax cuts—a policy known as cap-and-dividend—is better suited to easing the impacts of greenhouse gas restrictions on areas of the country most dependent on fossil fuels…

… [A] new paper by George Abar, a former legislative director for Kerry and currently a consultant to the Rockefeller Family Fund,… cites a previously unpublished analysis from the University of Massachusetts’ Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) indicating that a modest set-aside for “transition assistance” to the most carbon-intensive regions of the country—based on a formula that weighs the number of manufacturing and coal-mining employees a state has and the carbon-intensity of its electricity—would more than compensate those areas likely to most adversely affected by greenhouse gas restrictions…

The scenario analyzed by PERI would also leave an additional $30 billion for other uses, “such as clean energy investments, compensating local, state and national governments for higher energy costs, or addressing regional variability,” according to the paper.

“A policy that caps carbon, auctions pollution permits, and returns the revenue directly to the American people will meet our environmental and economic goals,” Abar concludes. “It will limit carbon emissions and send a powerful price signal, spurring investment, innovation and job creation in clean energy techologies. It will provide a knowable, timely and direct benefit to American households, and it will leave lower- and middle-class families better off or unharmed.”

Bowles in Science on War and Cooperation in Early Humans

samuel_bowlesProfessor Emeritus Samuel Bowles, whose continued close ties with the department include teaching his graduate course on competition, coordination, cooperation and conflict, has recently published an important article in the journal Science. “Did Warfare Among Ancestral Hunter-Gatherers Affect the Evolution of Human Social Behaviors?” asks whether between-group conflict between tribes of early humans may have rewarded substantial within-group cooperation.

The article has received coverage in The Economist (subscription required), The Independent, New Scientist, Nature News (subscription required), and Wired.

Much of the coverage included a riff on “War, What’s It Good For?” Here’s a more serious excerpt from the Wired report,

According to his analysis of archaeological evidence from Stone Age sites and and ethnographic studies of remaining tribes, combat between groups accounted for about 14 percent of all deaths in hunter-gatherer societies. Composed of a few dozen people with no social institutions, such groups were the dominant community form for most of human history.

“These were not modern societies. As with chimpanzees going out on patrol, there was no leadership. You could stay home if you wanted,” said Bowles.

After estimating the rate that altruism would reduce an individual’s chances of reproducing, Bowles plugged the numbers into a model of intergroup competition where an individual’s altruism would also improve a group’s chances of combat triumph. Groups with selfless individuals eventually predominated, and altruism predominated within those groups.

In addition to Emeritus status at UMass, Sam Bowles is Professor at the Santa Fe Institute and the University of Siena.

Badgett Book Blogged by Belkin in NY Times

An interview with UMass Professor Lee Badgett on how the Dutch view same-sex marriage recently appeared in the New York Times.

Dutch Views on Same-Sex Marriage By LISA BELKIN (Motherlode, Adventures in Parenting, The New York Times)
When I wrote about same sex parenting in the Times Magazine this weekend, one of the people I interviewed was M. V. Lee Badgett, who is both the director of the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law & Public Policy at the UCLA School of Law and a professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She is also the author of “When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage,” which focuses mostly on data from the Netherlands, where same-sex marriage has been legal for nearly a decade…

Q. What is the “take away” for those who are debating these questions in the U.S.?
A. The big point is that all of the evidence suggests that same-sex couples will fit right into our current understanding of marriage in the U.S. Marriage itself will not be affected…

Professor Badgett’s book When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage is published by NYU Press.

Badgett to Discuss Gay Marriage in Distinguished Faculty Lecture

This profile of Lee Badgett announcing her upcoming Distinguished Faculty Lecture appeared in a recent edition of UMass In The Loop.

Badgett to examine gay marriage in Distinguished Faculty Lecture

M.V. Lee Badgett, professor of Economics and director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, will deliver the first Distinguished Faculty Lecture in this year’s series on Monday, Nov. 9 at 4 p.m. in the Bernie Dallas Room in Goodell Hall.

Badgett’s lecture is titled “From I Can’t to I Do: When Gay People Get Married.” Five years after Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to permit same-sex marriage, local and global debates still focus on several key questions. These include whether gay people will change marriage or whether marriage will change gay people. There is also debate about whether we are moving too fast in changing marriage laws. Drawing on the Massachusetts experience and extensive data from the Netherlands, Badgett seeks to address these questions. She will compare her research findings with what happens in other countries and states with and without legal marriage rights for same sex couples.

A faculty member since 1997, she is currently professor of Economics and director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration. Badgett also serves as research director at the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. Badgett’s current research interests include sexual orientation and discrimination in labor markets, family structures and family policy, especially same-sex partner recognition in the U.S. and in Europe and domestic partner health care and pension benefits.

She is the author of “When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage,” published in August. Badgett is also the co-editor along with Jeff Frank of “Sexual Orientation Discrimination: An International Perspective,” published in 2007 and author of “Money, Myths and Change: The Economic Lives of Lesbians and Gay Men,” published in 2001. She is a frequent commentator in the news media and has appeared in magazines and newspapers across the U.S., including the New York Times, Slate, and The Nation.

Badgett was a visiting professor at the UCLA School of Law from 2005-07 and during the summer of 2008. She was a visiting researcher at the Amsterdam School for Social Science Research at the University of Amsterdam in 2003-04; assistant professor at the School of Public Affairs at the University of Maryland, College Park from 1990-97; was visiting assistant professor in women’s studies and lesbian and gay studies at Yale University from 1995-96 and was a research analyst for the National Commission for Employment Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor in the summer of 1994.

Badgett earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a doctorate in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1990.

Faculty members in the series receive a Chancellor’s Medal following their lectures. The Chancellor’s Medal is the highest honor bestowed on individuals for exemplary and extraordinary service to the campus.

A reception follows the lecture, which is sponsored by the offices of the chancellor and the provost.

November 3, 2009.

Folbre Blogs Big Banker Bonuses at NYT

In her regularly featured New York Times Economix blog, UMass Prof Nancy Folbre draws on new research by UMass’s James Crotty to look at the large bonus payments to bankers, even in the years of the finance-led crash.

Banker Bonus Rain by Nancy Folbre  Wall Street firms have always been famous for their generous bonuses to managers and traders — their so-called rainmakers. …What is especially striking is the high level of these bonuses in 2007 and 2008, years in which profits were negative. [Read the rest at http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/02/banker-bonus-rain/]