Spring 2011


Spring 2011

February 17, 2011
11:45am—1:00pm, Bell Hall
Do Americans Consume Too Little Natural Gas? An Empirical Test of Marginal Cost Pricing
Erich Muehlegger, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
Abstract: This seminar discusses the extent to which regulated prices for natural gas exceed marginal costs. Research finds strong evidence that regulators set high per-unit markups for natural gas, with residential and commercial customers facing average markups of over 40%. These markups are equivalent to a carbon tax of over $200 / ton of carbon ($60 per ton of CO2), which is substantially higher than the carbon price envisioned by most policy makers. This suggests that if policymakers wanted to set an efficient price for natural gas that incorporated the cost of carbon emissions, they should LOWER natural gas prices.
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March 10, 2011

11:45am—1:00pm, Bell Hall
2008 Financial Crisis and Leverage at Investment Banks
Thomas Healey, M-RCBG Senior Fellow
Abstract: Many cite excessive leverage among the biggest investment banks (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, and Merrill Lynch) as a root cause of the 2008 financial crisis.  Not long before Lehman Brothers collapsed, Lee A. Pickard, a former SEC official wrote, “the losses incurred by Bear Stearns and other large broker-dealers were not caused by ‘rumors’ or a ‘crisis of confidence,’ but rather by inadequate net capital and the lack of constraints on the incurring of debt.” Simple anecdotal evidence supports that conclusion – three of the firms no longer exist and the other two became bank holding companies in shotgun weddings. In this seminar, Tom Healey will explore the reality of leverage at the investment banks as well as examine what really caused the run on these banks at the heart of the 2008 crisis.
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April 7, 2011
11:45am—1:00pm, Bell Hall

The Betrayal of American Prosperity: Free Market Delusions, America's Decline, and How We Must Compete in the Post-Dollar Era
Clyde V. Prestowitz, Jr., President, Economic Strategy Institute

April 14, 2011
11:45am—1:00pm, Bell Hall

Causes and Solutions to the Financial Crisis
John Haigh, Co-Director, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, Executive Dean of the Kennedy School