Monthly Archives: March 2007

Conference announcement: Is happiness measurable and what do those measures mean for policy?

Is happiness measurable and what do those measures mean for policy?
in Rome, Italy from 2. April 2007 to 3. April 2007.

Attendance is by invitation only (there is no registration fee). Requests to attend may be submitted via e-mail ( and should include all relevant details (including CV) concerning both interest and qualifications for attendance.

Further information at:

Altruism and the demand for certified pork

Do people purchse certified meat for health, food safety reasons only or do altruistic motive play a role too? Jayson Lusk, Tomas Nilsson, and Ken Foster suggest altruistic motive do indeed play a role. See their paper “Public Preferences and Private Choices: Effect of Altruism and Free Riding on Demand for Environmentally Certified Pork” in Environmental and Resource Economics. Dordrecht: Apr 2007. Vol. 36, Iss. 4; p. 499 (23 pages).

Here is the abstract:

“Sales of private goods with affiliated public good attributes have markedly risen in recent years. This fact is difficult to explain within the paradigm of purely self-interested behavior. This paper investigates factors influencing consumer demand for pork products with certifications related to the environment, animal welfare, and antibiotics. Using psychometric scaling techniques, we measure individuals’ degree of altruism and propensity toward free riding. Results of a random parameter logit model applied to choice data obtained from a nationwide survey in the United States indicates that more altruistic individuals are willing to pay more for pork products with public good attributes than less altruistic individuals and free riders. These results indicate that private purchases of goods with public-good attributes are not simply a result of individuals’ perceptions of the ability to mitigate private risks such as food safety, but that individuals are making private choices to affect public outcomes. Results have implications for policy makers weighing the relative costs and benefits of food labeling policies versus bans related to certain livestock production practices.”

Household participation in green-electricity programs

Matthew J. Kotchen and Michael R. Moore discuss the design of green-electricity programs and its impact on green-electricity capacity in the paper ‘Private provision of environmental public goods: Household participation in green-electricity programs‘ in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management Volume 53, Issue 1, Pages 1-16 January 2007 see abstract .

The two types of green-electricity programs examined are:

1) programs based on a voluntary contribution mechanism, whereby a household donates money to finance an increase in the capacity for generating electricity from renewable sources (pure public good type mechanism).

2) green tariff mechanisms in which the household pays a price premium, that is, a higher tariff per kilowatt-hour of consumption, for green electricity (impure public good type mechanism).

California Climate Policy: Webcast Mar 19

Charles D. Kolstad, Professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California, Santa Barbara informs:
Anyone who is interested in what California is doing in the Climate Policy arena will want to watch a webcast involving top policymakers in the state. The webcast will be broadcast live from 2 to 5pm PDT Monday March 19. For more info see Directions for the webcast are at the bottom of the page. There will be an opportunity for posing questions directly to the panelists. The webcast will also be archived for viewing at a later time. Keep in mind that the US will be on daylight savings time (summer time) on March 19.