The 2nd CEPMLP PhD staff seminar
Published on 6 November 2020
The 2nd PhD – Staff seminar of this academic year was held on 28th October 2020 with two presentations.
The first speaker was Ms Demilade Elemo, a PhD student at CEPMLP. She discussed her thesis topic of trade and investment treaty obligations on the growth of renewable energy investments in developed and developing nations from a dispute settlement paradigm.
She expounded the significance of renewable energy in transition to a low carbon society and the exigency of renewable energy expansion. The escalating number of disputes relating to States efforts to promote investment in renewable energy indicates the need to revisit many investment treaties.
She intends to discover if the trade and investment treaty obligations have any impact on renewable energy investment and if this impact varies depending on the economic status of the country and its influence on the growth of the renewable energy sector.
The second speaker was Dr Ian Lange. Dr Lange is an Associate Professor of Economics at Colorado School of Mines and currently serves as a senior economist on White House Council of Economic Advisors, which is charged with providing the president of the United States with advice on domestic and international economic policy issues.
He gave an enlightening talk on the role of an economist in natural resources policymaking, speaking from an experiential note through encounters with the different political leadership in the United States.
He gave a contrast of the role of political appointees in energy policymaking versus an economist’s role and explained the agencies power structure which is made of politically appointed offices and scientist not politically inclined to offer a independent advice.
He shared the success story of the biofuels standard (ethanol mandate), which demonstrated how an economist can make a positive influence in natural resource policymaking.
He discussed some practical theories in policymaking, including the Budget Maximizing Bureaucrat theory, Agency Capture theory (Stigler, 1971), and Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA).
Questions from the audience prompted discussions on the reasons why despite the input of an economist bad policies still exist, the extent of how political leadership style affected policymaking, and how to struct a balance between political inclination and objective research.
The PhD-Staff seminar series runs every other Wednesday from 12:00 to 13:30 pm. Dr Xiaoyi (Shawn) Mu chaired the session.
Reported by Vanessa Cliff-Ekubo