News & Events

CIRES special seminar: Coupled changes: Environment, policy, and innovation

Monday, March 05, 2018, 3:00PM - 4:00PM


Steve Miller


CIRES Auditorium

CU Boulder main campus

Most environmental and natural resource challenges are fundamentally dynamic and involve coupled changes in environmental conditions, policies, and technologies. This coupling makes quantifying the impacts of environmental policies difficult, but it also suggests that environmental policies may be cheaper than we anticipate due to technological innovation. This talk will cover a sample of research addressing both issues. First, I’ll discuss a new method that blends machine learning and econometrics to estimate dynamic and heterogeneous policy effects. Applying that method to fisheries around the world indicates that individual quota programs do not work uniformly well across fisheries, and benefits may take years to realize. These findings have implications for both policy targeting and setting realistic expectations with resource stakeholders. The second part of the talk empirically examines policy-induced technological innovation in the context of the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU-ETS). In particular, I will present evidence of spillover effects: how economic incentives created by that policy stimulated innovation not only by regulated firms, but also by unregulated firms facing higher electricity prices. Finally, I'll end with a brief overview of future research directions and potential interdisciplinary collaborations.


Steve Miller started his career in computer science, earning his BS at Stanford and continuing on to work at Google on a variety of projects, including adding ocean features to Google Earth. That project piqued his interest in natural resource and environmental economics, leading him back to school. Since earning a PhD in 2015 from UC Santa Barbara, he has worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota. His current research involves combinations of three primary areas: (1) uses of machine learning in policy analysis, (2) natural resource management, and (3) drivers of environmentally-related innovation.


Light refreshments will be served after the talk in CIRES room 340.


Free and open to the public.