Papers


Escape from Malthus: Limitless Growth in a Limited World

Sjak Smulders and M. Scott Taylor

In Progress

This paper review the literature on economic growth and the environment and is written for a non-specialist audience.  It begins with a discussion of the Malthusian theory of stagnation to highlight why stagnation occurs, and then turns to examine how subsequent authors have relaxed these constraints to generate alternative outcomes.  The paper stresses that key assumptions on replicability, substitution, and accumulation determine the likelihood of long run sustainable growth. 


Is Free Trade Bad for Resources?

Jevan Cherniwchan and M. Scott Taylor

In Progress

Concern over the state of the world’s major renewable resources (fish stocks, forests, aquifers) has led to a host of studies examining how globalization and liberalized trade may be affecting these stocks.  This paper puts forward a new theory of renewable resources and trade which lends itself to estimation tightly tied to theory.  The theory is first detailed, and then two empirical examples are developed to provide proof of principle for the method.


Malthus meets Domesday: Food, Fuel, and the Spatial Economy

Juan Moreno-Cruz and M. Scott Taylor

In Progress

This paper develops a spatially explicit model of energy use and agglomeration where transport costs for energy are key to determining the size and location of economic activity.  By introducing the concept of uniform landscape, we are able to fully characterize the model’s predicted number of agglomerations, their size, and the overall population density within administrative units.  We evaluate the model’s predictions using the Domesday census of 1086 and GIS techniques. 


Pollution and Trade in a Small Open Melitz Economy

B. Copeland and M. Scott Taylor

In Progress

 

This paper combines a simple Melitz-style model of a small open economy with the pollution and abatement model of Copeland and Taylor, to investigate the pollution and welfare consequences of trade liberalization. We find marginal reductions in exporting or importing trade barriers lower pollution levels, and raise real incomes, and welfare; a discrete movement from autarky to trade lowers pollution levels and is likewise welfare enhancing. Similar real income enhancing changes in autarky, such as factor growth, have no effect on pollution emissions. We explain how these results follow from adjustments at the firm level in their techniques of production, firm numbers, and the mix of exporting and domestic firms created by the interaction of international trade and endogenous pollution policy. The model we develop is very tractable and could be used to examine a host of issues, both theoretical and empirical, concerning the effect of international trade on the environment.


Environmental and Resource Economics: A Canadian Retrospective

B. Copeland and M. Scott Taylor

Canadian Journal of Economics, Forthcoming

This paper gives a brief overview of contributions to environmental and resource economics in Canada. We concentrate on work from the past 25 years, but we also highlight earlier pathbreaking work. Canadians have made fundamental contributions to many aspects of the field, especially in resource economics, non-market valuation, and international environmental economics. Our focus is on academic work by scholars in Canada,1 but we put this in the context of the development of the field internationally. Given space constraints, we cannot be comprehensive and so the review discusses big picture trends, along with a selective overview of leading contributions. We also had to limit the scope of the article and so do not cover energy economics and mainly consider fisheries when discussing renewable resource economics.


An Energy-Centric Theory of Agglomeration

J.M. Cruz and M. Scott Taylor

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Vol. 84, July 2017, 153-172.

Appendix

Presentation

This paper sets out a simple spatial model of energy exploitation to ask how the location and productivity of energy resources affects the distribution of economic activity across geographic space. By combining elements from energy economics and economic geography we link the productivity of energy resources to the incentives for economic activity to agglomerate. We find a novel scaling law links the productivity of energy resources to population sizes, while rivers and roads effectively magnify productivity. We show how our theory's predictions concerning a single core, aggregate to predictions over regional landscapes and city size distributions at the country level. 


Trade and the Environment: New Methods, Measurements, and Results

J. Cherniwchan, B. Copeland, and M. Scott Taylor

The Annual Review of Economics, Vol. 9, March 2017, 59-85.

We review recent research linking international trade to the environment, with a focus on new results and methods. The review is given structure by a novel decomposition linking changes in emissions to changes in productive activity at the plant, firm, industry, and national levels. Although some new results have emerged from the application of a Melitz-style approach to trade and the environment, the full potential of this approach has not yet been realized.We discuss existing empirical and theoretical work, introduce three new hypotheses, and suggest paths for future researchers to follow.


Comments on the "The Main Contribution of the Ricardian Trade Theory" by Ronald W. Jones.

M. Scott Taylor

Appearing as Chapter 7 in 200 Years of Ricardian Trade Theory: The Challenges of Globalization, edited by R. Weder and R. Jones. Springer, forthcoming 2017.

These are comments on the link between Ricardian trade theory circa 1960 and its new incarnation in the 2000s reflected in the work of Eaton and Kortum.  I argue that the two-good, two-country, model had three serious problems limiting its application, and then ask how the profession has tried to solve these problems over time.  It discusses a limiting many country, many good efficiency result due to Jones 1961; discusses three of the most cited applications of the continuum model introduced by Dornbusch, Fischer and Samuelson 1977; and concludes with thoughts for the future and exclusions from the analysis.  The comments are an almost verbatim translation of the comments I gave in Basel in May of 2017.  


Recent and upcoming talks, seminars, & conference attendance

2019

February 11-15, 2019: Departmental Seminar, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, USA.

2018

December 12-13, 2018: The New Malthusianism: A Symposium, Cambridge, UK.

December 10, 2018: Trade and Environment Seminar, Paris School of Economics, Paris, France.

November 26, 2018: Statistisch-Volkswirtschaftliche Gesellschaft (SVG), Basel, Switzerland.

July 8-13, 2018: NBER Summer Institute: International Trade and Investment Workshop, Cambridge, USA.

April 21-May 21, 2018: University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland. The Basel Lectures: Trade. Resources, and Sustainability.

March 15-18, 2018: NBER Trade and Geography Conference, Cambridge, USA.

February 19-March 3, 2018: Sao Paulo School of Economics, Sao Paulo, Brazil.  Six Lectures on International Trade, Resource Use and the Environment.  Lecture 1 slides.

2017

July 15, 2017: National Bureau of Economic Research Environment and Energy Economics Meeting, Cambridge, USA.

May 12, 2017: Scientific Conference - Celebrating 200 Years of Ricardian Trade Theory, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

February 28, 2017: Public and Environmental Economics Workshop, Stanford University, Stanford, USA.

March 31, 2017: Seminar, Ohio State University, Columbus, USA.

2016

November 22, 2016: Economics Seminar, Tilburg School of Economics and Management, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands.

April 25-29, 2016: Basel Seminar, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

April 11, 2016: Department of Economics, Iowa State University, Ames, USA.

2015

October 23, 2015: Back to the Future of Green Powered Economies, BUEC Seminar, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

June 24-27,2015: 21st Annual EAERE Conference, Helsinki, Finland

June 3, 2015: The Beginning of the End of the Fossil Fuel Era? Keynote Address, AERE Summer Conference, San Diego, USA.

April 28, 2015: The Beginning of the End of the Fossil Fuel Era? Public Lecture, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland. Photos of the event can be found here.

April 22, 2015: Food, Fuel and the Spatial Economy, The Graduate Institute, Geneva, Switzerland.

April 18 - May 2, 2015: Lectures in Trade, Growth and the Environment, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland. 

March 13, 2015: Back to the Future of Green Powered Economies, The Bank of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico.