By Juan Camilo Cárdenas Disappearing forests. Overfishing. Chronic water shortages. These are all major challenges for economists in a 21st century of population pressures and climate change. Thankfully, they also have new tools. Economists used to think of people as overwhelmingly rational and self-interested, driven above all to maximize their short-term material … [Read more...] about What Behavioral Economics Reveals About Sharing and Cooperation
Environment and Climate Change
Ask anyone in a Western society what makes the world go round, and they are likely to say selfishness, or at least self-interest. It is an idea drilled into us by Thomas Hobbes more than three hundred years ago and by Adam Smith, who argued for the benefits of self-interest in economic progress. It seems more than obvious in our dog-eat-dog world. But psychology and … [Read more...] about Some Economists Say We’re Less Selfish Than We Think. Why?
When a whale washed up on the shores of the Philippines in March with 88 pounds of plastic inside its stomach, people recoiled with horror. Plastic litter on the beaches and in the oceans is unseemly enough. But the idea of innocent animals dying with shopping bags, rice sacks and other plastic litter inside them seemed altogether too much to bear. Each year an estimated … [Read more...] about Stemming the Tide of Plastic Pollution
Latin America and the Caribbean will face steep challenges in coming decades to provide food security and guarantee a decent income for its rural population. Greater rainfall and increasingly devastating floods may threaten some parts of the region. Others, including northeastern Brazil and Central America, will face extended drought. Erosion and dwindling water resources could … [Read more...] about A Changing Climate Requires New Farming Habits: How Can Behavioral Economics Help?
We environmental economists have long advocated carbon taxes as the fastest and most efficient way to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from cars and power plants and prevent catastrophic global warming later this century. But carbon taxes can be politically problematic. Witness recent events in France where efforts by the government to increase fuel taxes triggered weeks of … [Read more...] about Can We Reduce Emissions While We Wait for a Carbon Tax?