Call for Papers for EI Symposium on New Energy Economics

Symposium Editors Charles F. Mason and Jeremy Weber

Economic Inquiry is pleased to announce a planned Symposium on the New Energy Economics 

The development of new technologies has dramatically changed the energy landscape, reversing or stalling the trends of rising prices, imports, and emissions that characterized the 2000s. Costs associated with renewables like wind and solar have fallen to the point where they are competitive with traditional fossil fuels. Broad-based deployment of rooftop solar has led to the emergence of “distributed generation,” which threatens the traditional business model for electric utilities – traditional customers are now potential sources of competition. At the same time, hydrological fracturing (fracking) has greatly expanded American oil and gas production, with extensive implications, including a shift from coal to natural gas fired electricity generation, the likely need for expanded delivery infrastructure, and a reshaping of global LNG and oil markets. Yet, all technologies have faced opposition from various quarters. Fracking in particular has raised many concerns, with one strand of concern being primarily local, focusing on aspects of fracking that threaten the quality of life of nearby residents, including water and air contamination, oil spills, earthquakes, wastewater disposal, and the associated health consequences. The other strand focuses on national and global GHG emissions and is tied to rising pressure against fossil fuel development and infrastructure in general. These concerns have led to a variety of government interventions, ranging from the requirement that companies disclose the ingredients they use in their fracking operations to delays in infrastructure permitting and, in the extreme, outright bans on fracking. All of these interventions raise conceptual and empirical questions regarding the tradeoffs entailed and overall policy efficacy.   

These factors point to a new energy economics, which is characterized by the governance challenges posed by disruptive technologies in a climate of heighted environmental and health concerns.  

All papers related to the economics of the new economics of energy will be considered, especially if they relate to current policy questions.  The list of possible topics is endless, but include:

  • The tension between public and private interests in information related to chemicals used in fracking operations;
  • The implications for transportation infrastructure:
  • Related to NIMBY-ism responses to proposed pipeline expansion.
  • The economic implications of   large up-front costs when the future use of hydrocarbons could be constrained in a low-carbon economy.
  • Traffic safety implications for the expanded use of semi-trucks in suburban and exurban areas.
  • The tension between land allocation to resource development and population growth, particularly in suburban and exurban areas
  • The impact on tax revenues
  • Spatial effects on other States/Countries
  • Resource Rents and Rent-Sharing
  • Optimal Regulatory Policy including should fracking be regulated, how should it be regulated, and federal versus state control

Symposium Editors

  • Charles F. Mason, University of Wyoming and Economic Inquiry Co-Editor
  • Jeremy Weber, University of Pittsburgh       

Submission Due Date

Submissions are due no later than November 30, 2020.  We anticipate completing first round reviews by the end of February 2021, and selecting papers for the symposium by July 2021.

Submission Process

Please follow the standard Economic Inquiry submission procedures and note that you would like your submission to be considered the New Economics of Energy Symposium Issue.  Please review the Submission Instructions and the Editor's Statement prior to submission.

Conference Presentation

The WEAI holds two conferences each year and all submitters are welcome to participate in either the Virtual International Conference (March 2021) or the 96th Annual Conference in Hawaii (June 2021).  If you wish to organize or speak in a special sessions on this topic, please contact [email protected]