Fifth IAERE Annual Conference
16-17 February 2017, Rome

Keynotes Speakers

Thomas Sterner - Shanti Gamper-Rabindran


Tomas Sterner

Thomas Sterner

Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg




International Climate economics: The importance of treaties and politics versus underlying trends in technology and taste

Thomas Sterner will speak about the problems of policy making for global public goods in general taking as the prime example the current situation when It comes to climate policy. How should climate treaties be written? Knowing that there is no supranational authority they need to be written so that it is in the interest of every country to participate otherwise we have the already well known problem that some countries may fail to meet their obligations or withdraw. How should we in this light interpret the Paris Accord? We start with the question of whether the Paris agreement can be seen as a positive surprise? Is there any evidence (for instance the mention of the 1.5 degree goal) that this agreement was more radical and far reaching than expected? We turn then to what the INDCs mean and how should one interpret such a relatively vague instrument that by definition lacks central coordination and enforcement? Finally we discuss the question of a price on carbon. Is a price on carbon necessary and how should such a price on carbon emissions be created?


Thomas Sterner is professor of environmental economics. For the academic year 2015-2016 he has been elected as a visiting professor at the Collège de France. In 2012-2013 he was on sabbatical leave from Gothenburg university and worked as Chief Economist at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). His main areas of work at the EDF were, among other things, related to instrument design for climate policy and catch shares in fisheries.
During the last two decades he has built up the Environmental Economics Unit (EEU) at the University of Gothenburg, with a staff of about a dozen PhDs and another dozen graduate students. The unit gives a unique PhD program (with a large participation of graduate students from developing countries financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida), masters and undergraduate programs as well as a large number of other research and teaching activities within the area of environmental economics.

Shanti Gamper-RabindranShanti Gamper-Rabindran

Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and the Department of Economics, University of Pittsburgh





Political and legal institutions in energy transition: the case of shale in the US

A growing body of research focuses on the role of political and legal institutions in molding countries' energy pathways and leading to path dependence with some space for incremental change. Using the US shale development as a case study, this presentation describes how US political and legal institutions, beyond market factors such as high expected gas prices, facilitated shale expansion. These institutions are rooted in US reliance on domestic oil and gas production as its primary strategy for its energy security. The presentation invites discussion on research opportunities on the role of political and legal institutions in emerging economies' energy pathways.


Shanti Gamper-Rabindran is an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and the Department of Economics, University of Pittsburgh.
She is currently editing a book examining the decisions of countries to pursue or to forego shale development and their decision-making processes. She is also contributing the US chapters, with country experts contributing the chapters on the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Poland, China, Argentina and South Africa. Her research focuses on the empirical evaluation of environmental policies: (i) reducing risks in the chemical manufacturing sector, i.e., the effects of self-regulation, voluntary and disclosure programs on pollution-intensity, industrial accidents and worker chemical exposure; (ii) remediation of hazardous waste sites, its benefits and gentrification effects; and (iii) environment and health impacts of development policies (e.g., piped water provision on infant mortality rates in Brazil and the impact of NAFTA on the pollution-intensity of US-Mexican trade).
She has worked for the Environmental Protection Agency (consultant), the World Bank (project assistant) and Human Rights Watch Americas (intern). She also served as a visiting associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University and the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies.

She obtained a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT, a M.Sc. Environmental Science & Management from Oxford University and a BA in Jurisprudence from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes scholar, and a BA on Economics and Environmental Science & Policy from Harvard University.


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