FALL 2004 UMASS Amherst
Operations Research / Management Science Seminar Series

Date: Friday, October 15, 2004
Time: 11:00 AM
Location: Isenberg School of Management, Room 112

Speaker: Professor Erin Baker

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Biography: Erin Baker is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She applies operations research methods to environmental and energy economics and policy. Professor Baker's current research program revolves around how uncertainty impacts global climate change policy in a strategic environment. Some questions she is addressing are: Is a technology policy a useful hedge against uncertain catastrophic damages from climate change? What is the impact of uncertainty on equilibrium emissions if there is an uncertain threshold of emissions beyond which damages are catastrophic?

Her general interests include the economics of distributed generation, in particular analyzing the institutional barriers to adopting environmentally benign distributed generation technologies, and the interplay between energy and development in Africa.

TITLE: Optimal Technology R&D in the Face of Uncertainty

Abstract: This talk explores optimal R&D in response to uncertain climate change damages caused by the buildup of greenhouse emissions. I consider this question from the point of view of a social planner, and from a firm's point of view. Using a microeconomic model we investigate whether an expected carbon tax induces R&D into carbon-saving technological change. We conclude that the relationship between a carbon tax and R&D can be non-monotonic, and discuss which characteristics of the R&D program and the firm impact optimal R&D response to a carbon tax.

This series is organized by the UMASS Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter. Support for this series is provided by the Isenberg School of Management, the Department of Finance and Operations Management, and the John F. Smith Memorial Fund.

For questions, please contact the INFORMS Student Chapter President, Ms. Tina Wakolbinger, wakolbinger@som.umass.edu