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College of Business

Economics News - 2016

September 18, 2016- Sam Western's Review of the Stroock Forum on Sovereign Wealth. Read more

September 7, 2016 - (International Monetary Fund) - Jason Shogren is quoted in this article discussing the property rights of creative content in the digital age. Read more

August 12, 2016 - The Stroock Sovereign Wealth Forum will be held at the Center for the Arts in Jackson Hole on August 24th from 6-8pm.  This free and public event will encourage discussion on the future of the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund in Wyoming.

July 28, 2016 - (Public News Service) - "Wyoming is the only state in the nation to tax wind energy production, and lawmakers recently moved to increase taxes to help fill the gap left by falling fossil fuel revenues...Robert Godby, director of the Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy at the University of Wyoming says, climate change politics aside the state is positioned to be a leader in wind energy." Read more

July 13, 2016 - (Laramie Boomerang) - Ed Barbier was recognized for his lifetime achievement on the front page of the Laramie Boomerang. "Ed Barbier has been at UW for 16 years in the department of economics and finance, and is known internationally for his work and knowledge in environmental and resource economics. He was recently named a Fellow by the Association of Environmental and Resource Economics...Barbier is now the third Fellow in the department, following Jason Shogren and Tom Crocker." Read more

Godby's bookJuly 1, 2016 - Robert Godby's new book, Greek Tragedy, European Odyssey: The Politics and Economics and the Eurozone Crisis, was released today.  It is co-authored by another University of Wyoming Associate Professor, Stephanie Anderson of the Department of Political Science, and published by Barbara Budrich Publishers.

July 1, 2016 - The Department of Economics and Finance thanks Robert Godby for his service as Department Chair for the past year, and we now welcome Edward B. Barbier as Chair!

June 26, 2016 - After a rigorous review process, "Renewable Resource Harvesting Under Correlated Biological and Economic Uncertainties: Implications for Optimal and Second-Best Management, Environmental and Resource Economics", written by Professor Ed Barbier and former PhD student, Chris Kennedy, was chosen as one of six highly commended papers published in the Environmental and Resource Economics journal by the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economics.

June 19, 2016 - (New York Times) - Many Gillette residents are leaving town and the state of Wyoming as businesses struggle to stay open, including Kullin Orcutt, "a third-generation miner and one of 592 coal workers who have been laid off here since January. "The numbers bear out his decision", said Robert W. Godby, an energy economist and professor at the University of Wyoming." Read more

June 11, 2016 - Ed Barbier was recognized by the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERE) on June 11, 2016 as a AERE Fellow for 2015. Instituted in 2005, the AERE Fellows Program recognizes outstanding contributions to the field by members of the association. The Awardees have demonstrated a significant contribution to the advancement of the profession of environmental and resource economics.

June 10, 2016 - (TED) - Professor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Jason Shogren, spoke at an independently organized TED event themed "Wild Ideas in the Wild West" on Saturday in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Read moreJay Shogren at TEDx

Photo by Dyann Diercks

June 6, 2016 - Wyoming Public Radio talked with UW economist Rob Godby about a survey he and marketing Professor Mark Peterson created to gauge public opinion on Wyoming’s state budget.

June 2, 2016 - (Casper Star Tribune) - A survey released online in May by researchers at UW's Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy asked 317 random people throughout Wyoming about the budget during this challenging time in the state's economy. "Participants were asked whether they supported cuts to education and how important those cuts were to them in comparison to other cuts or policy decisions on Medicaid, taxes or the rainy-day fund. Participants were able to see the financial impact of their choices." Read more

May 29, 2016 - (Casper Star Tribune) - "A combined western grid could save consumers up to $9 billion over the next two decades, according to a study commissioned by the grid operators last year. It could also transform the West’s power system, prompting a boom in wind and solar and an end for many coal-fired plants...Integration is likely to save money in the long term, said Robert Godby, an economics professor who studies power markets at the University of Wyoming." Read more

May 18, 2016 - Congratulations to Linda Thunstrom and Jason Shogren on their recent publication in the Cambridge Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, "Do We Need a New Behavioral Benchmark for BCA?"

May 13, 2016 - (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution) - "We talked to coal industry experts who told us that the primary forces working against coal are market-based, notably the growth of natural gas as a cleaner, cheaper alternative. But now that coal is vulnerable, environmental regulations may seal coal’s demise. “Coal has always been able to absorb new regulations,” said Robert Godby, a professor and expert in energy economics at the University of Wyoming. “But the impact natural gas has had since the fracking boom has been amazing to watch.”" Read more

May 11, 2016 - Ed Barbier and Jake Hochard, a former PhD student in UW's Department of Economics and Finance, who is now an Assistant Professor at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.,  had a recent publication by PLOS ONE.  Their research article, "Does Land Degradation Increase Poverty in Developing Countries?", inspired the release of another article in Sci Dev Net found here.

May 9, 2016 - ( - "The reality has pushed four of the top five coal producers in the country into bankruptcy proceedings. But let's imagine natural gas somehow struggles. Energy markets are, after all, volatile. The problem is, U.S. demand for electricity in general is soft. "In fact, it's been almost flat demand since the Great Recession," said energy economist Robert Godby of the University of Wyoming, "due to LED light bulbs, a lot of energy efficiencies. Also, the structural changes that are going on in the American economy. We don't have as much manufacturing and high electricity demand sectors as in the past."" Read more

April 27, 2016 - (High Country News) - "The emergence of the Powder River Basin as the nation’s largest coal field was thanks in large part to the deregulation of the railroads in 1980, which made rail shipping cheaper and meant low-cost Wyoming coal could compete with higher priced coal from Appalachia, Illinois or Colorado, according to Robert Godby, a University of Wyoming economist." Read more

April 26, 2016 - (High Country News) - "The United Mine Workers remains strongest in West Virginia and Kentucky, where underground mines still need large workforces, compared with the West’s strip mines. “In the Powder River Basin, union mining is almost nonexistent,” says University of Wyoming economist Robert Godby. That means that, though the union has fought hard to prevent companies from trying to duck out of retirement benefits in Appalachia, it has little stake or influence in the Powder River Basin." Read more

April 25, 2016 - (The Branding Iron) - "Peabody Energy, the world’s largest privately owned coal company, filed for Chapter 11 protection after the price of coal took a downturn. After Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources also declared bankruptcy, Dr. Robert Godby, director for UW energy economics and public policy center, said it was inevitable for Peabody Energy to declare as well." Read more

April 13,2016 - (Casper Star Tribune) - The once $20 billion coal company at its peak, Peabody Energy, filed for bankruptcy April 11 at a value of $37 million. The coal industry will never be the same. "The foreseeable future is coal is going to decline slowly, but it will still be there," said Robert Godby. Read more

April 10, 2016 - (Gillette News Record) - "Recent layoffs of 465 workers from the nation’s two largest and most productive coal mines — Peabody Energy’s North Antelope Rochelle and Arch Coal Inc.’s Black Thunder — is a sign that the industry has reached a point of no return, said Robert Godby, an economist and associate professor for the University of Wyoming College of Business at the Department of Economics and Finance." Read more

April 6, 2016 - (High Country News) - "University of Wyoming economist Robert Godby estimates that a 17 percent decline in Western coal production this year, as predicted by the Energy Information Agency, could translate into roughly 1,000 layoffs, about twice what’s already been announced." Read more

April 5, 2016 - ( - "Last week’s mine layoffs have rattled the foundations of Gillette, Wright, Douglas and other communities in northeast Wyoming, which were already suffering from major losses in oil and gas jobs... [Robert Godby] said in the past year, Wyoming coal producers were reluctant to cut back production, not wanting to lose market share. But an extremely warm winter left utilities with flush stockpiles of coal — that, along with bankruptcy filings, is forcing Wyoming mines to cut back on production." Read more

April 1, 2016 - (The Daily Caller) - "Wyoming locals have been furious with the Obama administration’s coal lease moratorium, which they see as another hurdle being put up by government bureaucrats...University of Wyoming energy economist Robert Godby told the Associated Press that temporarily banning coal leases puts “more nails in the coffin” of coal companies." Read more

March 28, 2016 - (Casper Star Tribune) - "Wyoming wind revenues fell by 15 percent in 2015, an unwelcome drop at a time when the the state is already suffering the effects of a pronounced downturn in the oil, natural gas and coal sectors...Robert Godby, a professor who studies power markets at the University of Wyoming, said no wider market trends explain the state’s tax decrease." Read more

March 25, 2016 - (The Wall Street Journal) - Robert Godby, the Director of University of Wyoming’s Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy, does not see job gains in the natural-gas sector making up for inevitable job losses in coal production in his analysis of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan rules could further dent jobs. Read more

March 16, 2016 - (The Wall Street Journal) - Peabody Energy Corp. may delcare bankruptcy after a two-year battle with low energy prices, the lastest of several bankruptcies in America's coal industry.  Economics Associate Professor, Robert Godby, discussed the growing anxiety surrounding Peabody's troubles in this article. Read more

March 11, 2016 - (Our Planet) - Ed Barbier’s article “Righting the Balance: Overcoming environmental scarcity and inequality through inclusive green growth” appears in the March 2016 Special Issue on “Inclusive Green Economy: Building Bridges to a Sustainable Future” in Our Planet, the flagship journal of the UN Environment Programme. Read the article

 March 5, 2016 - (Casper Star Tribune) - "The Clean Power Plan specifically requests public input, noted Robert Godby, a professor of energy economics at the University of Wyoming. Other states, after holding conversations with utilities and the public, have come forward with suggestions on how to reduce the burden and cost to power companies and rate payers. Wyoming, by refusing to participate, has not come forward with any proposals that may reduce the impact to the state — to say nothing of a solution that may benefit it, Godby said." Read more

February 26, 2016 - (UWyo Magazine) - "Whether it’s assessing salary ranges or predicting future turns in the economy, economics Associate Professor Robert Godby’s research helps the state make important decisions. “I got into economics because I wanted to make a difference. I always wanted to try to make public policy a little better,” says Godby, who serves as director of the School of Energy Resources’ Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy." Read more

February 19, 2016 - (Sputnik News) - "The agreement aiming to stabilize the volatile oil market is subject to other oil producing countries following suit. "In such an event we could see an increase in the oil price… but there are a lot of 'ifs' in that line of reasoning," professor of Petroleum and Natural Gas Economics at the University of Wyoming Charles Mason said Friday." Read more

February 19, 2016 - (Peoria Public Radio) - "Robert Godby, an associate professor of Economics and Finance at the University of Wyoming and director of the university’s Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy said coal is facing a perfect storm. "When you burn it, you get about double the carbon dioxide out of coal as you do out of natural gas," he said, "so as companies look forward they think about their investment decisions, they’re thinking more gas, especially while it’s cheap." Read more

February 18, 2016 - (K2 Radio) - "A sixth panelist has been added to a group of experts (including Dr. Charles Mason) from academia, government and industry to discuss implications and opportunities stemming from the recent international agreement on carbon emissions Wednesday, Feb. 24, at the University of Wyoming." Read more

February 18, 2016 - (St. Louis Public Radio) - "With gas prices low, power companies are less likely to upgrade older coal plants in order to meet new regulations. In November natural gas surpassed coal as the leading source for U.S. power generation. The first time that happened was in April of last year. Robert Godby, an associate professor of Economics and Finance at the University of Wyoming and director of the university’s Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy said coal is facing a perfect storm." Read more

February 17, 2016 - "UW’s release on UW economics Professor Jason Shogren and his colleagues’ opinion that the federal government has a duty to inform Americans about the reductions in domestic climate damages that may result from federal regulation, was carried by Sheridan Media and The Gillette News Record. The opinion piece first appeared in the journal Science and as a letter in Forbes."

February 16, 2016 - (Climate Progress) - "Mine workers, while affected most egregiously, are not the only ones harmed by Alpha’s bankruptcy...“Given that some of these debts are going to end up on the chopping block under the bankruptcy proceeding, we [could have] lost a whole $411 million, that’s really the worst possible outcome,” Sherrill Shaffer, a professor of banking and financial services at the University of Wyoming told Wyoming Public Media." Read more

February 16, 2016 - (Planet Jackson Hole) - "Some call the coal industry’s collapse an economic decision, not a political one. Dr. Robert Godby is chair of the department of economics and finance at the University of Wyoming. “The demand for coal is falling off,” Godby told The Planet. He explained that as natural gas has become cheaper, and produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions, it would be foolish of companies not to invest in it." Read more

February 16, 2016 — UW Economist Shogren Endorses Change in Reporting Climate Change Benefits (Wyofile) - The federal government has a duty to inform Americans about the reductions in domestic climate damages that may result from federal regulation, according to University of Wyoming Professor Jay Shogren and a group of other renowned economists. Read more

February 13, 2016 - (Casper Star Tribune) - "A great deal of the incentive for carbon capture and utilization is based on coal’s importance to the U.S. power sector, said Robert Godby, director of the Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy at the University of Wyoming. But the economic rationale for clean coal technology wanes as more and more plants retire and coal’s peers become more competitive, he said." Read more

February 12, 2016 - (Casper Star Tribune) - "The market for thermal coal (i.e. the coal used for power generation) is largely domestic, says Robert Godby, director of the Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy at UW. China mostly consumes imports of metallurgical coal used in steel making. That helps explain the bankruptcies of large producers like Alpha Natural Resources and Arch Coal, which operate metallurgical mines in the eastern U.S., but doesn’t explain declining demand for thermal coal." Read more

February 11, 2016 — "Experts (including Dr. Charles Mason) from academia, government and industry will discuss implications and opportunities stemming from the recent international agreement on carbon emissions Wednesday, Feb. 24, at the University of Wyoming." Read more

February 9, 2016 - (Forbes) "When considering domestic action to reduce the impacts of climate change, should U.S. agencies estimate and report the benefits to U.S. citizens or to the world? In a letter to the National Academy of Sciences, we argue they should do both. In the context of international negotiations, such as the recent Paris accord, a global focus is clearly relevant." Co-authored by Jason F. Shogren. Read more

February 3, 2016 - (CBS News) - "Safety is always an issue in the mines, and as costs become more important, it is something that can be skimped on," said Robert Godby, director of the Center For Energy Economics and Public Policy at the University of Wyoming. "People hate to shut down a mine, and when times get really tight and you see unemployment above 10 percent in a lot of those counties, how do you keep a mine operating? Safety becomes a trade-off to keep your job." Read more

February 1, 2016 - (The Christian Science Monitor) - "Robert Godby, director of the Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, said the twin pressures of market conditions and new regulations has crippled the coal industry, perhaps permanently.  The leasing moratorium, he added, represents "more nails in the coffin. I don't want to say they’re already dead, but you get the idea." While the moratorium is expected to mostly impact western states, coal towns in Appalachia have been adapting to the decline of coal for years now." Read more

February 1, 2016 - (College of Business FOCUS magazine) - "The heart of Rob Godby's research is at the policy end.  The analysis he completes provides him and policy makers with the knowledge it takes to make better informed decisions on regulatory changes within the energy sector." Read more

February 1, 2016 - (College of Business FOCUS magazine) - "Dr. Timothy Considine has published research on petroleum market analysis in the top economics journals.  The Cato Institute has published his work exploring management policy issues facing the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve."  Read more

January 30, 2016 - (Herald Times) - "The announcement came just days after President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address that he was going to push to change the way the country manages its oil and coal “so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.”  Until now, the Obama administration largely managed federal coal as if climate change did not exist." Read more

January 26, 2016 - (Climate Central) - Emboldened by the Obama administration’s pause on federal coal leasing, activists and scientists are now urging the government to bring federal oil and gas leasing in line with U.S. climate policy before the president leaves office next January. Read more

January 22, 2016 - (Las Vegas Review-Journal) - "The U.S. economy experienced a landmark moment this month when the nation began exporting crude oil for the first time in four decades. And a local professor played a role in making the international trades happen. UNLV economics professor Steve Brown co-authored a study that helped shape a federal law that ended the 40-year ban on petroleum exports." Charles Mason is quoted. Read more

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