Carbon markets – the simple and the not so simple

Have you ever been told that carbon markets/trading are an inherently complex/complicated topic that only experts understand? Well, you’ve been lied to. Twice! In a single sentence! The first lie is that the matter is inherently complex/complicated. Explaining what carbon trading is, or even what a carbon market entails, is, in fact, surprisingly simple: That’s…

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Is the US a producer or a consumer of energy?

A very smart student recently inquired about whether the United States (US) should be considered an energy consumer or an energy producer given the boost in oil and gas production seen in the past few years – thanks to the shale revolution. A very good question, as the whole consumer/producer differentiation is becoming increasingly fuzzy…

Indeterminate complex uncertain life

It would seem to me that at least some of the uncertainty that I experience in life comes not from complication but from indeterminacy. For example, I love both sushi and pizza. Simple preferences. No lack of information involved, I’m telling you: I dig them both! But put me in front of two restaurants selling…

The nuances of the word ‘complexity’

One of the most popular ways to explain the difference between risk and uncertainty is the example of the coin: Imagine you flip a coin 100 times. If the coin was perfectly balanced the final tally would read: 50x head, 50x tails. However, since coins are not perfect, in real life you’re more likely to…

What I learned from… Samuel DeCanio

DeCanio, S. (2011) Populism, Paranoia, and the Politics of Free Silver. Studies in American Political Development, 25(1), 1-26. In 1896, a Democrat politician named William Jennings Bryan realized that people were very angry at banks and existing monetary policy. He then set out to get elected as President of the United States on the basis…

What I learned from… Rod Dacombe

Rod Dacombe (2011) Can we argue against it? Performance management and state funding of voluntary organizations in the UK. Public Money & Management, 31(3), 159-166. Say you volunteer to help an old lady carrying groceries from the store. Should she thank you if you drag the bags across the street and break everything that she…

What I learned from… Elisa Cavatorta

Cavatorta, E. (2010) Unobserved common factors in military expenditure interactions across MENA countries. Defence and Peace Economics, 21(4), 301-316. What Elisa is interested in doing here is to go beyond the most typical variables used to explain military expenditure (monetary capacity, perception of external threats, perception of internal threats). Although I am using the word…