This article describes how to conceptualize and organize a successful, multi-day field trip organized around a case study problem. By doing so, the instructor exposes students to diverse perspectives and leads them through the process of policy analysis from collecting and organizing information to identifying the relevant economic concepts and applying them in a complex real world setting.
After eight years of non-engagement, the new administration and the U.S. Congress, led by a majority in the President’s party, are rapidly developing climate policy legislation. This paper summarizes past efforts to establish a national climate policy in the United States as well as the major forces influencing the current debate. While this debate is largely shaped by domestic considerations, it takes place as the international community moves to agree on a post-Kyoto policy regime in Copenhagen next December. Whether the United States is willing to take strong action will significantly influence the actions of other nations.
Across the West, water transfers generate controversy. In Colorado’s Arkansas River basin urban growth and harsh farming conditions have led to water transfers from agricultural to urban uses. Much of this water left the Arkansas basin and was transferred north to the city of Aurora in the South Platte River basin. Several studies have shown that these transfers have had significant secondary economic impacts associated with the removal of irrigated land from production. In response, new methods of sharing water are being developed to allow water transfers that benefit both the farm and urban economies. One such project currently under study is the Arkansas Valley “Super Ditch”, a rotational crop fallowing plan based long-term water leasing designed to provide an annual supply of 31.6 Mm3. This paper analyzes the economic impacts of implementing the "Super Ditch" as a locally developed alternative to "buy and dry".
Water markets in the western United States have expanded over the last 40 years driven by two forces – population growth in the West and Southwest and limited development of new storage projects. Until 2008 house prices, home construction and population growth appeared to be locked in an ever-increasing upward trend. With little historical experience to the contrary, water market prices similarly appeared to be driven by real estate development. The collapse of the housing market in the last three years provides an opportunity to examine the connection between the real estate and water markets.
Water scarcity presents an obstacle to economic development in the western United States. Water right markets promote efficient allocation, helping states to derive the highest possible economic benefit from available resources, and allowing western water supplies to support new development and population growth. However, uncertainty surrounding water right market values threatens the ability of water markets to efficiently allocate water. To address this problem, we employ econometric analysis techniques to estimate the values market participants place on shares of ditch company water rights in Colorado’s South Platte basin. Our analysis demonstrates that ditch company share buyers value proximity, reliability, and flexibility.
This paper considers the challenges associated with conducting research with undergraduates – limited time and resources, limited skills, the tedious nature of data gathering, etc.. We discuss four models of effective research approaches. One is Aju Fenn’s which is to identify a topic and a workable approach, such as competitive balance in sports, and apply it in different contexts – football, basketball, soccer, etc. with different students working on different sports. This model is also successful because much data on both inputs and performance is collected in sports and is readily available from non-propriety sources. The Dan Johnson Model is to develop a huge data set, in this case patents, and then set students to work on problems involving some aspect of the data set while asking them develop one part of the data set through their research. The Smith Model which is to divide a related problem into distinct parts and have students work on each part. Smith discusses this approach on research on recreation values for the Arkansas River a quantitative problem while Stimpert shows its application to a qualitative problem, the role of corporate boards.