Facebook pixel

Economics After Hours Speaker Series - Spring 2023 line-up

February 2, 2023

Economics professors at the College of Business and Public Policy have developed a new evening speaker series at The Writer’s Block Bookstore and Cafe to make their research accessible to the public. Each session in the “Economics After Hours” series features a short presentation followed by discussion. Guests will enjoy light refreshments and access to a cash bar.

Speaker Line-up

Can we supply the minerals we need for the energy transition? - Brett Watson

Feb 9, 6pm

Humanity relies on many resources which have finite supply like oil, coal, and land. The ongoing global energy transition away from fossil fuels and toward alternative energy sources have now shifted focus to a group of rare and specialized materials called "critical minerals." Will humanity have the critical mineral resources it needs to complete and sustain the transition? To answer this question, geologists and engineers tend to focus on physical measures like mineral resources and reserves. Economists, on the other hand, emphasize market measures like prices and costs. How can these perspectives be reconciled and what role will Alaska play in the ongoing transition?

Using experiments to understand our world - Alex James

March 9, 6 pm

We live in a data-driven world filled with people who are bad at interpreting data. We often confuse correlations with causations, reverse causality with causality, and anecdotal evidence with evidence. This causes people to act in strange and inefficient ways. Luckily, there is a simple tool that allows social-scientists to see through the fog of complex data: experimentation through randomization. This talk will survey some common errors people make and use examples to highlight the power of experimentation with applications in health care, charitable giving, criminal justice, and beyond.

Pricing Wildlife and Outdoor Recreation - Aaron Enriquez

April 6, 6pm

What’s the value of a bear in the wild? How much is a dipnetting trip worth, and is salmon caught while dipnetting more valuable than commercially-caught salmon? Lots of things in nature don’t have a market price, but economists “put a dollar” on them anyway. This talk covers the why and how of nonmarket valuation, with applications to charismatic wildlife species, highly-visited national parks, and Alaskan fisheries.

Economic Policies and Maternal and Infant Health - Mary Kopriva

May 11, 6 pm

Maternal mortality in the US is more than four times higher than that of Germany and Sweden and nearly three times higher than that of the UK. Further, the rate of maternal mortality in the US is rising, having nearly doubled over the past three decades. Even when mortality is avoided, more than 60,000 women per year experience severe maternal morbidity, unexpected outcomes of labor and delivery with significant short- or long-term consequences to the woman’s health. What are the impacts of these high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity on the economy? Can policies such as paid maternity leave and extended access to postnatal health insurance influence these outcomes? This talk discusses what we know so far about the impacts of maternal health on the economy and considers how economic policies may be able to help curb these disturbing trends.


The Writer’s Block Bookstore and Cafe is located at 3956 Spenard Road in Anchorage.