Upcoming seminars 2018

Feb. 20 (Tues.): Why is the policy process failing for Hinkley C. by Prof. Stephen Thomas (Emeritus Professor of Energy Policy, University of Greenwich)
Time: 13.00-14.00
Venue: Forbes Room, Irvine Building
Abstract: The UK nuclear power programme is misconceived and failing badly. The promises on which it was based have proved false. Costs have escalated 5-fold, implementation is a decade late and massive public subsidies have been granted to prevent its collapse. Yet the normal mechanisms that would ensure such a failing policy would not be implemented have failed. The presentation will examine what the role of the Parliamentary process, interest groups, the public and media and the civil service has been. It will examine the need for an ‘exit’ strategy and review the continuing attraction of nuclear power to governments.
April 17 (Tues.): Taking off from natural resources: fiscal dependency in comparative perspective. by Dr Cristian Ducriong (Department of Economic History, Lund University)
Time: 13.00-14.00
Venue: Forbes Room, Irvine Building
Abstract: tbc
April 3 (Tues.): Costs and benefits of peatland restoration in Scotland. by Dr Klaus Glenk (Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC))
Time: 13.00-14.00
Venue: Forbes Room, Irvine Building
Abstract: tbc
April 17 (Tues.): Taking off from natural resources: fiscal dependency in comparative perspective. by Dr Cristian Ducriong (Department of Economic History, Lund University)
Time: 13.00-14.00
Venue: Forbes Room, Irvine Building
Abstract: tbc
May 1 (Tues.): Investigating the preferences of remote beneficiaries for sustainable tourism development: the case of Fiji. by Dr Tiziana Luisetti (principal environmental economist, Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas))

Time: 13.00-14.00
Venue: Forbes Room, Irvine Building

Abstract:
Distinct cultural heritage and unique environment are some of the comparative advantages of Small Islands and Developing Countries (SIDS) which attract large numbers of visitors every year. Fiji is one of the most tourism-dependent SIDS in the world. Heavy reliance on tourism activities can become a major threat to Fiji’s biodiversity and impact important ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, prevention of coastal erosion, water cycling, cultural, spiritual, and aesthetic values.We explore the motivations of remote beneficiaries’ willingness-to-pay (WTP) for sustainable tourism in distant destinations like Fiji, but also the type of value – existence, use, bequest – remote beneficiaries attach to distant coastal and marine ecosystems. We investigate if this value is consistent with economic theory and if preferences of different beneficiaries’ groups diverge.We designed and implemented a Choice Experiment (CE) with a representative national sample of 800 UK citizens in November-December 2017. The CE has been designed using a Bayesian D-efficient sequential design with starting priors based on a pilot survey administered to 180 UK citizens and on the ongoing survey.Preliminary results show interesting differences in preferences for coastal ecosystems between those who visited and not visited a tropical island before: non-users seem to consider all the natural ecosystems presented in the choice cards as equally important, with a slightly more weight given to the iconic coral reefs, whereas users have stronger preferences for corals and mangroves. For both groups, the main motivations of WTP for sustainable tourism relate to the eco-friendly management of tourist accommodations and the possibility to access the host communities. Also, preliminary results seem to show that respondents have a positive discount rate. These findings highlight that potential remote visitors hold both use and non-use values, and suggest a relevant role of previous experience and possibly other latent individual factors in identifying the importance of ecosystems services and management options. Our results can have several policy implications for the implementation of sustainable tourism in SIDS.

May 8 (Tues.): Title tbc. 
by Dr Matthias Blum (Queens University Belfast)
Time: 13.00-14.00
Venue: Seminar Room, Observatory

 

Past seminars

EEP Seminar Series 2018

Jan. 30 (Tues.): The effect of people’s values on preferences in water governance: A case study from the Upper Paraguay River Basin, Mato Grosso, Brazil. by Dr Christopher Schulz (University of St Andrews)

Time: 13.00-14.00
Venue: Forbes Room, Irvine Building

Abstract: A growing body of research suggests that people’s values may be important predictors for their preferences in water governance. However, this assertion is rarely tested empirically. The present study summarises the results of the first large-scale quantitative study on the link between public preferences in water governance and people’s values in Latin America, based on data from a representative sample of the general population collected in a household survey in the Upper Paraguay River Basin, Mato Grosso, Brazil (n=1067). Structural equation modelling is applied to represent the clusters of values, or ‘value landscapes’, that shape attitudes and preferences in water governance, in this case, for or against the construction of the highly controversial Paraguay-Paraná Waterway across the Pantanal wetland in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Results demonstrate that opponents of the waterway share a value landscape composed of closely related self-transcendence values, democratic governance-related values, and ecological and cultural water values, whereas supporters hold self-enhancement values, economic governance-related values, and economic water values. Beyond this individual case study, our findings may explain the protracted nature and seeming impossibility to resolve environment vs. development conflicts more broadly.

 
EEP Seminar Series 2016-2017

April 12 (Wed.): Stated Preferences for Conservation Policies under Uncertainty: Insights on Individuals’ Risk Attitudes in the Environmental Domain. by Dr Michela Faccioli (The James Hutton Institute)

Time: 1pm
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room

March 6 (Mon.): Official opening of the Hamilton Room. Presentation: Wealth and Social Welfare by Dr Kirk Hamilton (Emeritus Lead Economist of the Development Research Group of the World Bank & Visiting Fellow, London School of Economics and Political Science)

Time: 1pm – 2pm welcome & lunch, 2pm – 3pm seminar by Dr Hamilton
Venue: Observatory buildingWe are pleased to be welcoming Dr Kirk Hamilton for the official opening of the Hamilton Room at the St Andrews Observatory. The event will begin with an informal lunch served at 1pm, followed by a presentation by Dr Hamilton from 2pm to 3pm.Kirk Hamilton is a visiting professor at the London School of Economics. Formerly Lead Economist in the Development Research Group of The World Bank, his current work focuses on the theory, measurement and policy uses of measures of national wealth, as well as the economics of climate change.Dr. Hamilton is co-author of The Changing Wealth of Nations (World Bank 2011), World Development Report 2010 Development and Climate Change, and principal author of Where is the Wealth of Nations? (World Bank 2006). Previously senior research fellow at the UK Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment, he has researched and published extensively on growth theory and the economics of sustainable development. He also served as Assistant Director of National Accounts for the government of Canada, where his responsibilities included developing an environmental national accounting program. His degrees include a PhD in Economics and MSc in Resource and Environmental Economics from University College London, as well as a BSc from Queen’s University at Kingston.Abstract: Social welfare measures the discounted sum of current and future wellbeing, and national wealth (produced, natural, human, intellectual, and institutional capital, and net financial assets) is what underpins it. This idea has its origins in questions about the sustainability of economies extracting finite resources – the Hartwick Rule was the answer to these questions. I present the extension and elaboration of these ideas to show that we now have (i) tools to measure net wealth creation, and (ii) policy rules that can ensure that social welfare increases over time. Increasing social welfare should arguably be the overarching policy goal for government.

February 15 (Wed.): Connecting environmental humanities: developing interdisciplinary methods. by Professor Gavin Little (Stirling Law School, University of Stirling)

Time: 1pm
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room 
Abstract: There is now a consensus that the potential contribution of the humanities to environmental debate and decision-taking is significant. Drawing on the experience of the Royal Society of Edinburgh research network in the arts and humanities ‘Connecting with a low-carbon Scotland’, the paper focusses on how to realise this potential by developing a cross-humanities collaborative research method. This has two key objectives: (1) to enable participating disciplines to articulate their own contributions to pre-identified issues; and (2) to develop interdisciplinary humanities narratives on these issues. The knowledge which emerges can then facilitate interdisciplinary working between the humanities, STEM subjects and social sciences, and be of value to environmental decision-takers.

February 22 (Wed.): Personality, happiness, and economic preferences. by Dr Christopher Boyce (University of Stirling)

Time: 1pm
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room 
Dr Boyce is a happiness and wellbeing researcher and Research Fellow at Stirling Management School. His research crosses the boundary between Economics and Psychology, with particular focus on personality and income effects on subjective wellbeing. For further information about Christopher’s research, and his personal endeavours in sustainable and mindful living, visit his website here .Abstract: There is a long research tradition of trying to understand key determinants of economic preferences. One focus for understanding economic preferences has been on traditional economic factors, such as income and education, but to what extent are economic preferences also shaped by psychological factors such as happiness and personality? Here I will present research exploring (a) how personality predicts how individuals react to changes in economic circumstances, such as income changes and unemployment, and (b) whether happiness and personality predict preferences for environmental outcomes. Our research suggests that the use of personality psychology would improve the accuracy of economic models by incorporating individual specific reactions and has the potential to instigate a second wave of behavioural economics.

February 1 (Wed.): Labelling effects and energy use at household level: the case of the UK winter fuel payment and the energy performance certificate. by Dr Mirko Moro (Stirling Management School, Universtiy of Stirling)

Time: 2.30pm 
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room

Summary: Dr Moro is Senior Lecturer in the Division of Economics and director of the MSc in Energy Management at the Stirling Management School. His research in applied economics links the quality and use of the environment to issues of behaviour, health and wellbeing. In this seminar, Mirko will discuss energy use at the household level with reference to the UK winter fuel payment and energy performance certificate.

November 2: Examining the link between flood experience and climate change engagement. by Charles Ogunbode (School of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of St Andrews)

Time: 12.30-1.30
Location: Observatory Building, Seminar Room

Summary: Research suggests that ‘proximizing’ climate change (i.e. making it more immediate, relevant and real) could help promote pro-environmental action and mobilize public support for relevant policies. Highlighting the links between local weather events and global climate change has specifically been proposed as a potential strategy to bring seemingly distant climate change impacts home. This recommendation is typically backed with references to a number of studies that have reported that personal experience of extreme weather events, that are attributable to climate change, is linked to increased risk perception, concern and willingness to act pro-environmentally. However, the evidence of this purported link has been mixed in instances where researchers have attempted to establish the relationship between objective measures of extreme weather experience and climate change engagement. In this talk, I will discuss the results of my attempts to reproduce the supposed positive effects of flood experience on climate change perceptions in two online experiments, as well as findings from some secondary analyses which suggest that the effects of flood experiences are not equivalent for Liberal and Conservative political sub-groups within the UK population.

October 26: Energy Policy and Law in the U.S. by Edward Flippen (McGuire Woods Law Firm)

Time: 1pm
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room 

October 12: What Caused the Agricultural Revolution? by David Maddison (Department of Economics, University of Birmingham)

Time: 2.30 pm
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room

Summary:
Explanations of changes in agricultural TFP around the time of the agricultural revolution typically consist of a purely narrative account. Often these accounts present a timeline of key innovations or a discussion of the achievements of great agricultural pioneers. This threatens to give the impression that the agricultural revolution was mainly about purposive R&D activities. Using data drawn from a variety of sources we estimate agricultural TFP over the period 1690-1914. Applying causality tests appropriate for analyses involving nonstationary data we show that changes in the volume of agricultural output and the length of the canal network precede changes in TFP. By contrast measures of purposive R&D, the dissemination of knowledge and the extent of enclosure do not precede changes in TFP. Our findings appear to confirm the importance to the agricultural revolution of learning-by-doing and Smithian growth i.e. improved transport infrastructure facilitating regional specialisation.

September 19: Employing CGE modeling to wealth accounting and sustainability. by Koji Tokimatsu (Environmental Science and Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology)

Time: 1pm
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room