Interview with Jared Soares from Earth Economics!

This week I interviewed Jared Soares, a UPS Alumni who works not too far away at Earth Economics!  When did you graduate from UPS? May 2014. Can you tell me about your work at Earth Economics? (What do you do? How did you end up there? Do you have an idea of where you want to go within/outside of Earth Economics?) I am a research assistant. My primary job is to assist project leads and analysts. This can be anything from compiling data for reports to travelling to events to present information for private and public decision makers. I also Continue reading Interview with Jared Soares from Earth Economics!

Getting the Price Right: Which is Better? pt. 1

Recently, I have written about the primary techniques to combat the negative externality of pollution: cap-and-trade and carbon taxation. For decades, politicians, economists, and environmentalists alike have debated which method is more effective. Both cap-and-trade and carbon taxes put a price on pollution and, for the most part, have successfully reduced carbon emissions and sparked innovations in sustainable energy use. Of course, because a carbon tax is a price instrument and cap-and-trade is a quantity instrument, as we have seen in my previous posts, the means to the emission reductions are quite different. I will begin my series of comparisons with Continue reading Getting the Price Right: Which is Better? pt. 1

Minimum Wage vote nears

On Tuesday, Tacoma voters will have their voices heard on two potential minimum wage increases. We’ve heard from bloggers on this issue before, and here’s a piece from Ashley Gross at KPLU this morning with interviews from local residents (and an economist!) on both sides of the issue.   [Edit: Although there doesn’t seem to be a “Play” button in the bar above, just click on the far left side of the bar to play the audio clip. The clip is 5:34 long.]  


Economists sure love their charts, as any student who survives Econ 170 has learned. Data visualization isn’t just the decorative frosting on lesson plans and published papers. It is an absolutely essential interface between people and data. Briefly consider this data on annual percent change in GDP in the United States from FRED: DATE VALUE 1955-01-01 7.125955765883840 1956-01-01 2.131213376900720 1957-01-01 2.102826706703490 1958-01-01 -0.731728665207882 1959-01-01 6.898619218085940 1960-01-01 2.566027153202800 1961-01-01 2.554101761976380 1962-01-01 6.114879435404820 1963-01-01 4.355504976980980 1964-01-01 5.767719183950940 1965-01-01 6.497636614399920 1966-01-01 6.595334041630260 1967-01-01 2.743014189834750 1968-01-01 4.909046030916900 1969-01-01 3.139619503066850 1970-01-01 0.202123088186139 1971-01-01 3.295743329097830 1972-01-01 5.262807206376060 1973-01-01 5.643390319077960 1974-01-01 -0.516677958914673 1975-01-01 -0.198293195948870 1976-01-01 5.386836510161830 1977-01-01 4.608445145318870 Continue reading Sonification!

Urban Farming

Farming in cities? What are you, MAD? Believe it or not, farming in cities is not only widespread, but has tons of benefit. Urban agriculture accounts for up to 15% of the world’s food. Japan, The Netherlands, and Chile have more urban than rural farms. Sydney, Australia produced a billion dollars worth of agricultural goods alone, some 12% of the state’s production. In 2014, Detroit produced enough to feed over 600 people for a year, and in 2008, Philadelphia produced 2 million pounds of vegetables. Urban agriculture doesn’t take one form. A good portion is in the style of community Continue reading Urban Farming

Warmer Temperatures are Impacting Our Productivity

Unfortunately I’m not talking about it being too hot to work on your thesis, or to do a problem set – I’m referring to economic productivity. Not only is climate change destroying our atmosphere, making our seasons more harsh and/or unpredictable, and killing polar bears – but its also impacting our economic productivity. A study recently published in Nature claims that “growing evidence demonstrates that climactic conditions can have a profound impact on the functioning of modern human societies”. Now this is what I call environmental economics (or ecological economics, I guess). The main conclusion of the study (called Global non-linear effect of temperature Continue reading Warmer Temperatures are Impacting Our Productivity

Priorities and Minimum Wage Increase

Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles have all made steps to increase minimum wage. Now Tacoma seems be following suit as well and the community is in a buzz. On October 8th, I joined fellow Sound Economics writer Jesse Kreutzer and University of Puget Sound professor Andrew Monaco on a trip to Pacific Lutheran University for a public debate about the recent addition to the 2015 November ballot in Tacoma. The debate contained both sides of the argument, #PLU15NOW and #PLUNO15. The side in favor was research analyst, Vince Kueter and PLU senior debater Angie Tinker. Both were speaking in Continue reading Priorities and Minimum Wage Increase

A Little Context for the Greek Debt Crisis

If you’ve paid even the slightest bit of attention to international affairs, you’d know that Greece has been in economic trouble since the Great Recession, which resulted in the Greek Debt Crisis a year later. The subsequent handling of the crisis between Greece and its creditors is an issue that I’m looking forward to discussing in the future. However, I’d like to discuss a different aspect of Greece and the Eurozone. The Eurozone refers to countries within the European Union, whom, once they’ve met certain financial requirements, may ditch their local currency, and adopt the Euro. Having a common currency Continue reading A Little Context for the Greek Debt Crisis

Interview with UPS Alumni Carl Larson!

This week I interviewed UPS Alumni Carl Larson, who currently works in energy services at Solar City! When did you graduate from UPS? May 2009. Can you tell me about your work at SolarCity? (What do you do? How did you end up there? Do you have an idea of where you want to go within/outside of SolarCity?) My work at SolarCity definitely builds on what I studied in Econ at UPS, which is great. SolarCity is the nation’s leader for rooftop solar energy, we’re sister companies with Tesla Motors and SpaceX, and majority-owned by Elon Musk. I’m in sales at SolarCity, even though I’m never Continue reading Interview with UPS Alumni Carl Larson!

Oh Say, CANUSSEE pt. 2

I, along with fellow writer Nicky Smit and Professor Lea Fortmann, had the incredible opportunity to attend the CANUSSEE (Canada & United States Societies for Ecological Economics) Conference two weekends ago in Vancouver B.C. For those of you who aren’t familiar with ecological economics, it is a growing interdisciplinary field that aims to reform basic economic theory and reverse the paradigm that monetary growth measures the success of a society. Ecological economists criticize the anthropocentric nature of neoclassical economists, and emphasize the fact that the economy is a subset of nature, rather than the other way around. Most importantly, they Continue reading Oh Say, CANUSSEE pt. 2