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Nick Z.
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The executive summary of this piece makes it very apparent that the earth is highly sensitive to temperature change. The negative externalities associated with human induced climate change will be most heavily felt by those in developing countries. Because CO2 emissions are primarily a result of industrialization in the developed world, it is our responsibility to remedy the affects. The failure to do this may have dramatic impacts not only the developing world but the developed as well. I'm from Long Island, NY, a low elevation area thats highest point is only ~400 ft above sea level. Many on Long Island are aware that small changes in sea level can displace thousands, especially on the south shore. Residents are already weary to buy coastal houses in places like West Hampton because of the high risks associated with storms. I would imagine that those on the south shore of Long Island will be better informed and adaptive to climate change than those in developing countries though. It's obvious that something has to be done in regards to climate change and it's important that people begin to recognize the costs associated with environmentally unfriendly practices.
Toggle Commented Nov 19, 2013 on ECON 280 Updated Syllabus at Jolly Green General
I agree with Lizzie. Education and human capital development go hand in hand. To increase human capital accumulation is to increase the productivity of the labor force or an individual. When productivity increases, the economy grows, resulting in a more efficient output generating society. While I was reading this article I kept thinking about another piece that explored education and incentives in relation to farming techniques. The researchers provided a very poor village in Africa with education on the uses of fertilizer and farming in general. After using the fertilizer, resulting in higher crop yield, the villagers reverted to their previous ways after the researchers were gone. I would say that most people are risk averse when they are unknowledgeable of a certain action. The lack of confidence in change divert utility maximizing decision making. I was surprised about the results on the relationship between income and adoption of agroforestry. People who are generally more educated (independent variable) have higher incomes (dependent variable). It may be possible that there is not a causal link between income (independent variable) and education (dependent variable). It is certainly possible that a person may be uneducated yet have a high income.
Toggle Commented Nov 13, 2013 on ECON 280 Paper for Thursday at Jolly Green General
The exchange of immediate benefits for a child's future welfare is an interesting concept. In the U.S. during a recession, if the primary "bread winner" losses his or her job, another family member will enter the labor force to mitigate the lost income. Of course this is most often a spouse that enters the labor market as we have strict laws prohibiting child labor, but the concept of the added worker effect can be applied to developing countries. A child will be forced into the labor market when the income of the family is low; the child must work to mitigate losses. The link between bargaining power and whether or not a child enters the labor market makes a lot of sense. If a wife's bargaining power in a household is a function of her dependency on her husbands income, the wife would gain decision making power, influencing the child's future welfare. The ability to improve ones family's overall welfare provides one with bargaining power or the power to make decisions within the household. The last matter I wanted to comment on is in regards to the marginal benefits children have to education. It seems as though the lowest income students receive the largest marginal benefit from investing in schooling. To improve the private rate of return to investing in schooling would incentivize parents to invest in education.
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2013 on Corel Office Document at Jolly Green General
Only after reading this article have I gained an understanding for the extensiveness of Malaria. I was amazed at how many causal relationships are associated with the disease and how the lives of those in developing countries are affected. In a number of my past classes such as Professor Diette's Economics of Education or Professor Goldsmith's Economics of Social Issues we have explored the effect human capital can have on economic growth and productivity domestically. Much of the empirical evidence we studied dealt with school quality, teacher quality, or family characteristics, very rarely looking at life threatening variables. The negative externalities associated with malaria seem to be overreaching, influencing many different aspects of the economy such as trade, tourism, and savings. It seems as though there has to be a large emphasis on developing infrastructure in these developing nations so as to prevent the spread of the disease; the current conditions seems to be exacerbating effects. I also believe that efforts should be focused on children, those who are most widely affected by malaria. If those at the source can be eradicated of the disease, perhaps in the long-run we can see economic growth. As to the specific details as to what needs to be done to eradicate such a disease, I have no idea. The problem seems so immense after reading the article, it seems essential that those in developed nations invest in the exploration of a solution.
I believe a major take away from this paper is that people have different tastes and preferences. By understanding differences in the utility individuals receive from products and services, one can better accommodate the poor in regards to micro-finance or micro-insurance. Although many sampled in the randomized experiments cited did not invest their micro-loans on business development, researchers must be aware of the benefits individuals receive from prioritizing expenditures. If a particular family feels they must spend their micro-loan on food, it is because food will provide the most utility. By continuing to conduct research in regards to micro-finance, policy makers can tailor local financial institutions to the needs of the people. Researchers and policy makers must have the patients to allow result to develop from randomized experiments to understand the complex dynamics of human prioritization. In the end this will improve the standard of living of the poor, which is the foundation of development.
Toggle Commented Oct 24, 2013 on Microfinance (econ 280) at Jolly Green General
It is difficult to imagine living in a country in which women are so overly discriminated against. Of course we see inequality between men and women in the United States (such as in the labor market) but not to the extent that is observed in developing countries. To deny women the right to own land or "travel without their husbands" amazes me. What doesn't amaze me is the fact that developing countries that discriminate heavily against women are far from equilibrium. Women are basically being eliminated from the labor force and economy in some instances. Such non-participation rates that result from discrimination have a large toll on the greater economy and society, unsurprisingly. In one of Professor Goldsmith's classes I remember discussing self efficacy amongst children in the educational system. The idea of self efficacy, which is belief in oneself to complete an action or carry out a responsibility, is applicable to women. If women are being discriminated against, self efficacy will decrease and productivity will suffer as well. When productivity decreases the aggregate production of an economy will suffer as well.
I agree that the models discussed in the article do not fit the complexities of the real world but I believe that is the whole point of Krugman's argument. The complexities of markets, institutions, people, and the world in general are impossible to represent in a model but models are the way in which economist can make the MOST sense of the world. Models are just a way in which economist perceive the world within their constraints. Many of the assumptions that come with economic theories are unrealistic and inapplicable to real society but with the constraints economist have it is the best that can be done to reach an understanding. I have to admit that I was lost as to what the thesis of Krugman's article was in the beginning but by the end I realized that it's about the basics. Sometime we have to revert to the most basic aspect of a problem or we have to revert back to our initial thoughts on a problem to gain any insight. By doing this we can reduce our constraints to economic modeling and advance developmental economics.
Like Aaron, I found this article to be astonishing. The participants in the research cited are faced with incredible challenges that I can not even fully grasp. When I think about all the money that is spent on my behalf by my parents (W&L tuition, food, clothes, entertainment, etc.) I feel very appreciative on one hand but anguished on the other that many suffer due to their financial situation. I found the lack of resources the biggest factor in the demise of the poor. With little to no access to capital it is not surprising that those interviewed are not able to improve their financial situation. Without capital it is very difficult to be productive, especially when the majority of those interviewed are entrepreneurs. If there were a greater investment in capital within these poor areas the economy would become more productive and the standard of living would improve. Before there can be any growth by an increase in capital I believe there must be a much greater investment in education. Without knowledge there can be no confidence to take the road less taken and participate in larger businesses. If the education system improved many of the poor may gain confidence in their capabilities and take the proper risks to improve their lives. To improve ones human capital is to improve ones productivity, to improve ones productivity is to improve the productivity of an entire nation. This being said the lack of government intervention in the discussed education systems is not only immoral but economically flawed.
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2013 on Economic Lives of the Poor at Jolly Green General
I think that it is downright scary that there are "educated" scientists out there that can make such claims. In order to combat the problem of global warming we need a global effort. We need more people like Nordhaus to explain to the public why such things as increasing CO2 emissions is a problem. When the public reads the works of the sixteen scientists it is possible that those who are not educated on the matter will not see global climate change as a problem. I think it's amazing how the sixteen scientists took a bias approach to data that is basically irrefutable. Nordhaus simply simple put up a graph of the longterm change in temperature to disprove the sixteen scientists. It amazes me. This article made me think of the importance of education. To be properly educated and informed is very important. In order to tackle the problem of climate change we must place a greater emphasis on education. Without the proper knowledge it is impossible to do what is best for the environment and humans.
I agree with Kit. The U.S. is certainly not known for it's production of petroleum. I'm not surprised to learn that there is no correlation between the price of gasoline and the domestic production of oil. The U.S. seems to have very little power when it comes to controlling the price of oil. Because our demand for oil is so high this worries me. Although higher oil prices could lead to more R&D and perhaps more efficient alternatives for energy, U.S. citizens will have to live with the prices the global market gives us. We just not big enough of a player in the oil industry.
I would say that most people outside of the United States have the view that Americans are dumb. I've heard it plenty of time when I visit relatives in Europe and South America. Despite this conception I feel like most Americans realize that individual politicians have very little power in controlling gas prices. In our government change is slow. Our focus needs to be on the market and R&D to reach the prices and goals we want. At the end of the day Americans need to get to work as quickly as possible. I feel like changes in gas prices have to be much more significant in order to see a noticeable change in society.
I think that it is ridiculous that someone who comes from a such a prestigious institution can have such a view. I don't understand how one can deny climate change and the need for global action. I feel like climate change has been apart of my scientific curriculum since my schooling began. With all the evidence and science that scholars have invested to show the world that climate change is a real problem, I don't understand how one can deny it. He must have alternative motives.
This interview was very informative. I think it is crazy that there is so much diversity just among corals. With all the advances in science I think it is amazing how much we don't know about the specifics of the diversity of corals. Besides being aesthetically pleasing coral reefs are very important to the ocean ecosystem. The amount of diverse life that coral reefs support is truly amazing and for this reason we must increase our efforts to conserve. Before reading this article I did not realize climate change was affecting the ecosystems in our oceans. Global warming certainly has world wide implications in every sense.
The observations made are just another example of how our Earth's climate is changing global and local scale. Although climate change seems to be a cyclical change that takes place on long time scales for the most part, it is interesting to see how significant of an impact it has had thus far. For such a significant amount of species of plants to just disappear is astonishing and terrifying at the same time. Climate change seems to be on its way to have severe impacts.
This is a great idea that seems to have a lot of potential. The only thing that concerns me the discrepancy in cost to capture CO2 from the air. I feel like the cost of capturing CO2 could make or break this idea. With a higher cost, investors may be reluctant. In order for this idea to work it has to be performed on a global scale so a high price could hinder the idea. Hopefully prices will be lower than expected and we can all benefit from the results. I also think it is really cool that the CO2 that would be captured would be used to help fuel companies and also promote alternative energy sources. This could prove to be very profitable and make for a healthier Earth.
This article is very disturbing. I am not surprised though. In areas like Nigeria it seems as though there is a trend of negligence. I personally feel that it may be nearly impossible to truly stop lead poising in areas that rely heavily on gold mining. With little oversight and lack of effort from the Nigerian government to decontaminate those with high lead levels and their homes, outside groups may have too much on their plate. I also feel that if their is any chance to stop this problem the people of Nigeria who are exposed to lead must be informed of the dangers that they in close contact with. It's pretty obvious that the people of Nigeria are unknowledgeable about the dangers of lead poising when children are playing on mine waste piles. The people of Nigeria must be informed of the risks they face.
I find it kind of disturbing that people are not willing to pay more money to save a life. For someone to put a value of someones life under $3 seems kind of morbid in my eyes. Of course the aggregate willingness to pay to save one life of $5 million seems much better. I feel that if it's known that life is at risk, strict regulations should be implemented immediately. The costs associated with these regulations is worth it in my eyes. I find it to be the moral thing to do. - Nick Zanetis
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Jan 31, 2012