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Speaker to lecture on environmental economics

March 1, 2013

Event Details

December 31, 1969

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Guest Speaker: Lea-Rachel Kosnik, Ph.D., Dept. of Economics, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Date and Place: Indiana State University on Wednesday, March 6, at the Library Events Area

Bio: Professor Kosnik joined the Economics Department at the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2004, after receiving her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her main areas of expertise include environmental economics, energy economics and behavioral economics. She received her B.A. in economics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Ankara, Turkey. Professor Kosnik has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses, and published in a wide range of both academic and non-academic journals. She has an active research agenda which includes analysis of hydroelectric dam regulation, renewable energy and climate change, and decision-theory in the context of behavioral judgment heuristics. She is a member of the American Economic Association, the Midwest Economics Association, the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession, the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, the Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics, and the Transportation and Public Utilities Group.


10 - 10:50 a.m. presentation (with student focus)

Title: River Basin Regulation and Small Scale Hydropower

Abstract: Many demands are currently made on the United States' limited water resources, including use for irrigation, recreation, hydropower, municipal use and instream maintenance. This large set of demands poses a problem because supply is essentially stagnant. Looking forward, this situation of water resource scarcity is only projected to worsen as climate change effects and continued population growth are added to the mix. Given this acute state of affairs, I conduct an assessment of river-basin water regulation in the United States in the hopes of shedding light on whether the current approach is adequate to changing circumstances, or if reform is needed. Using small scale hydropower permitting as the context, this paper argues that reform is essential because river-basin water regulation in the United States today is subject to a decentralized and inefficient management style termed a "regulatory anticommons." Solutions to the anticommons problem are suggested, including structural, organizational, and legislative-based regulatory reform."


Noon Brownbag

Title: Completeness of contracts for small-scale hydropower development

Abstract: There is a tradeoff that must be addressed any time a contract is written; whether or not to make a contract flexible but incomplete or rigid but comprehensive. This paper investigates the completeness of hydroelectric license contracts over a nearly three decade time span and finds that as environmental concerns increase, so does contract flexibility, ultimately confirming the predictions of transaction cost theory. The paper offers an interesting historical look at the development of the U.S. hydroelectric dam license as it ages over time and responds to growing environmental concerns. It also, in a novel empirical application, combines traditional regression analysis with insights from textual analysis and computational linguistics.

Thanks to Interdisciplinary Programs, the Department of Economics, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Foundational Studies Program and Cunningham Memorial Library for their support of this programming. For further information contact

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