Research in Resources and the Environment

Some samples of work from my research in energy economics, environmental economics, and engineering systems.

Environmental Emissions Policies

Experimental Permit Markets:  We have tested hard and soft price ceilings similar to those proposed by recent greenhouse gas legislation using an experimental laboratory setting.  While hard ceilings, or traditional price ceilings, control prices absolutely, soft ceilings control emissions absolutely at the expense of some amount of price control.  Furthermore, experimental evidence indicates that soft ceiling designs do not effectively control prices to theoretical predictions, suggesting that alternate policies would be preferred if effective price control is a high priority.

Biofuels and Energy Markets

Regional Policy:  Focusing on the state of Indiana, we developed several site location models for the anticipated production of ethanol from cellulosic sources.  These models, as well as some of the results from our research, have been used by other projects in the department to address many transportation, logistic, and business investment issues related to expected supply increases in biofuel production.  A follow-up paper focusing on jet fuel production is forthcoming.

National Policy and Firm Risk:  We have used various models to assess the impacts of federal policies on energy and biofuel markets.  This work involved adapting a plant engineering model with stochastic price inputs to assess the advantages of variable biofuel subsidies in the presence of uncertain prices.  Variable subsidies pegged to crude oil prices were found to decrease both firm risks and government costs in comparison to current fixed biofuel subsidies.

Technology Assessment: Originally developed by former student Rhys Dale, we have augmented and modified a combination chemical process and economic model for the corn to ethanol dry mill process.  This model has been used to analyze production responses to prices in ethanol markets, as well to assess alternative technologies which enhance the efficiency of ethanol extraction.  The model and a sample paper are posted here.

Environmental Health

Applied Statistics in Public Health and Behavioral Sciences: During my early graduate studies in applied economics and statistics, I gained a great deal of experience applying various regression and statistical techniques to address issues in public health and other social sciences.  Here is an example.

Engineering Systems

A Little Chemical Engineering:  As a research & development engineer, I had the opportunity to work with some talented scientists and technicians.  Here is an example of some of our work.