Mark your calendar for the inaugural Austin Forum

On Thursday, April 1, the day before the Graduate Reunion and Forum, the Department of Economics will host the first Philip E. Austin Forum on Economics and Public Policy. The purpose of the Forum is to provide an opportunity for discussion and debate about current public policy issues from an economic perspective. The Forum is funded through the Philip E. Austin Endowed Chair, which is currently held by Economics Professor Kathleen Segerson.

Given the prominence of the current debate about climate change, including the recent international climate change summit in Copenhagen, we have chosen to focus this first Austin Forum on this important and controversial issue. The featured speaker at the Forum will be Harvard environmental economist Robert Stavins, who will present a talk entitled “Climate Change Policy After Copenhagen”. Professor Stavins is the Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program. He is a world-renowned economist, who has been working on the economics of climate change and the design of “cap-and-trade” systems for decades. Professor Stavins was recently honored as a 2009 Fellow [pdf] of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERE). The award was given by Professor Segerson, who is the current President of AERE, at the annual AERE luncheon at the ASSA meetings in Atlanta . In bestowing the award, she quoted from letters of support that stated: “In my view, no other environmental economist can match Rob in the ability to work effectively with policy makers…I cannot think of another current environmental economist who straddles more effectively the academic and policy communities” and Rob “has probably done more than any other single environmental economist to bring the idea of tradable emission permits (“cap and trade”) to the attention of policy-makers as a viable alternative for the management of pollution levels.” Professor Stavins also writes a regular blog on An Economic View of the Environment.

The Austin Forum is scheduled for 4:00 PM in the Student Union Auditorium and is open to all interested members of the UConn community and the public. President Emeritus Philip Austin, Provost Peter Nicholls, and CLAS Dean Jeremy Teitelbaum plan to attend this event.