Call #11 - Sustainability

Beyond Environmental Externalities

The Young Scholars Initiative (YSI) Sustainability Working Group invites you to submit your paper for the YSI North America Regional Convening in Los Angeles, February 22-24, 2019.

Papers are particularly welcome on issues that concern urban and regional economics and sustainability. These will be considered for a joint session between the Sustainability and Urban and Regional Economics Working Groups.

Topics for presentations may include:

  • Sustainable and inclusive development
  • Processes for internalizing the environment
  • Techniques for assessing the environmental impact
  • The political economy of the environment and society
  • Policy instruments
  • Scale and actors in key environmental areas
  • Water-Energy-Food Nexus
  • Sociotechnical energy transitions
  • Climate resilience and adaptation

Economics has traditionally looked upon the environment as an exogenous externality that is outside of mainstream economic theories. As such, economist believes that internalizing the externality through property rights leads to an economically and socially efficient outcome.[1] North America has played a significant part in the development of this understanding. For example, the world’s first national park was created in the United States. The first relevant agreement regarding gas pollutants was signed in Montreal (Canada) and, inspired by that, emissions trading schemes are being taken seriously to limit carbon emissions.

Nonetheless, the environment is still arguably seen as something to control through prices and quantities - if to be controlled at all. Recent frictions in international agreements and several environmental debates have polarised much of the region. In light of this, a more nuanced form of the environment-society relationship is beginning to be realized. States and firms are now internalizing environmental issues despite no regulatory incentive to do so. Notable academics across the region, particularly in California, are utilizing novel techniques to assess how the environment impacts upon human welfare, productivity and other aspects of society. Individuals are shifting demand and prices by their preferences alone - market forces may be more subjective than we thought.

Our paper sessions will explore whether we have gone beyond a simple externality narrative to a more pluralistic notion of a significant environment in all aspects of society. For example, do environmental improvements lead to economic improvements? What would market prices reflect environmental risk and uncertainty? What are the political and economic contentions with the incorporation of the environment into all parts of society?  Similarly to this, we are interested in the new techniques used to assess the environment more holistically. We invite speakers with theoretical and empirical research related to any of these issues.


Apply here
Deadline: 18 October

Questions concerning this call may be sent to the organizers through the following emails:

[1] Coase (1960)