Upcoming seminars


April 27 (Thurs.) to be rescheduled: The Trump Administration: Implications for Environmental Politics and Policy. by Professor Elizabeth Bomberg (University of Edinburgh)


Time: 1pm
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room

NB: This seminar has been moved from the 5th of April to Thursday April 27th.


Date tba: Putting biodiversity into context: Cereal biodiversity and production in Ethiopia. by Dr Ben Groom (Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics)


Time: Afternoon (exact time to be announced) 
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room
Dr Ben Groom is Associate Professor of Environment and Development Economics, Director of the MSc in Environmental Economics & Climate Change, and Director of the PhD in Environmental Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Ben has served as consultant and advisor for numerous governments and international organisations, including the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. In this seminar, he will present a recent paper on the effects of crop diversity on cereal production in Ethiopia, and the viability of crop diversity as a potential development strategy in the agricultural sector.Fontes, F. and Groom, B. 2016. Putting biodiversity into context: Cereal biodiversity and production in Ethiopia.



Past seminars

EEP Seminar Series 2016-2017

April 12 (Wed.): Stated Preferences for Conservation Policies under Uncertainty: Insights on Individuals’ Risk Attitudes in the Environmental Domain. by Dr Michela Faccioli (The James Hutton Institute)


Time: 1pm
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room



March 6 (Mon.): Official opening of the Hamilton Room. Presentation: Wealth and Social Welfare by Dr Kirk Hamilton (Emeritus Lead Economist of the Development Research Group of the World Bank & Visiting Fellow, London School of Economics and Political Science)


Time: 1pm – 2pm welcome & lunch, 2pm – 3pm seminar by Dr Hamilton
Venue: Observatory buildingWe are pleased to be welcoming Dr Kirk Hamilton for the official opening of the Hamilton Room at the St Andrews Observatory. The event will begin with an informal lunch served at 1pm, followed by a presentation by Dr Hamilton from 2pm to 3pm.Kirk Hamilton is a visiting professor at the London School of Economics. Formerly Lead Economist in the Development Research Group of The World Bank, his current work focuses on the theory, measurement and policy uses of measures of national wealth, as well as the economics of climate change.Dr. Hamilton is co-author of The Changing Wealth of Nations (World Bank 2011), World Development Report 2010 Development and Climate Change, and principal author of Where is the Wealth of Nations? (World Bank 2006). Previously senior research fellow at the UK Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment, he has researched and published extensively on growth theory and the economics of sustainable development. He also served as Assistant Director of National Accounts for the government of Canada, where his responsibilities included developing an environmental national accounting program. His degrees include a PhD in Economics and MSc in Resource and Environmental Economics from University College London, as well as a BSc from Queen’s University at Kingston.


Social welfare measures the discounted sum of current and future wellbeing, and national wealth (produced, natural, human, intellectual, and institutional capital, and net financial assets) is what underpins it. This idea has its origins in questions about the sustainability of economies extracting finite resources – the Hartwick Rule was the answer to these questions. I present the extension and elaboration of these ideas to show that we now have (i) tools to measure net wealth creation, and (ii) policy rules that can ensure that social welfare increases over time. Increasing social welfare should arguably be the overarching policy goal for government.


February 15 (Wed.): Connecting environmental humanities: developing interdisciplinary methods. by Professor Gavin Little (Stirling Law School, University of Stirling)


Time: 1pm
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room 
Abstract: There is now a consensus that the potential contribution of the humanities to environmental debate and decision-taking is significant. Drawing on the experience of the Royal Society of Edinburgh research network in the arts and humanities ‘Connecting with a low-carbon Scotland’, the paper focusses on how to realise this potential by developing a cross-humanities collaborative research method. This has two key objectives: (1) to enable participating disciplines to articulate their own contributions to pre-identified issues; and (2) to develop interdisciplinary humanities narratives on these issues. The knowledge which emerges can then facilitate interdisciplinary working between the humanities, STEM subjects and social sciences, and be of value to environmental decision-takers.


February 22 (Wed.): Personality, happiness, and economic preferences
. by Dr Christopher Boyce (University of Stirling)


Time: 1pm
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room 
Dr Boyce is a happiness and wellbeing researcher and Research Fellow at Stirling Management School. His research crosses the boundary between Economics and Psychology, with particular focus on personality and income effects on subjective wellbeing. For further information about Christopher’s research, and his personal endeavours in sustainable and mindful living, visit his website here .Abstract: There is a long research tradition of trying to understand key determinants of economic preferences. One focus for understanding economic preferences has been on traditional economic factors, such as income and education, but to what extent are economic preferences also shaped by psychological factors such as happiness and personality? Here I will present research exploring (a) how personality predicts how individuals react to changes in economic circumstances, such as income changes and unemployment, and (b) whether happiness and personality predict preferences for environmental outcomes. Our research suggests that the use of personality psychology would improve the accuracy of economic models by incorporating individual specific reactions and has the potential to instigate a second wave of behavioural economics.


February 1 (Wed.): Labelling effects and energy use at household level: the case of the UK winter fuel payment and the energy performance certificate. by Dr Mirko Moro (Stirling Management School, Universtiy of Stirling)


Time: 2.30pm 
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room

Summary: Dr Moro is Senior Lecturer in the Division of Economics and director of the MSc in Energy Management at the Stirling Management School. His research in applied economics links the quality and use of the environment to issues of behaviour, health and wellbeing. In this seminar, Mirko will discuss energy use at the household level with reference to the UK winter fuel payment and energy performance certificate.


November 2: Examining the link between flood experience and climate change engagement. by Charles Ogunbode (School of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of St Andrews)


Time: 12.30-1.30
Location: Observatory Building, Seminar Room

Summary: Research suggests that ‘proximizing’ climate change (i.e. making it more immediate, relevant and real) could help promote pro-environmental action and mobilize public support for relevant policies. Highlighting the links between local weather events and global climate change has specifically been proposed as a potential strategy to bring seemingly distant climate change impacts home. This recommendation is typically backed with references to a number of studies that have reported that personal experience of extreme weather events, that are attributable to climate change, is linked to increased risk perception, concern and willingness to act pro-environmentally. However, the evidence of this purported link has been mixed in instances where researchers have attempted to establish the relationship between objective measures of extreme weather experience and climate change engagement. In this talk, I will discuss the results of my attempts to reproduce the supposed positive effects of flood experience on climate change perceptions in two online experiments, as well as findings from some secondary analyses which suggest that the effects of flood experiences are not equivalent for Liberal and Conservative political sub-groups within the UK population.


October 26:
Energy Policy and Law in the U.S. by Edward Flippen (McGuire Woods Law Firm)


Time: 1pm
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room 


October 12:
 What Caused the Agricultural Revolution? by David Maddison (Department of Economics, University of Birmingham)


Time: 2.30 pm
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room

Explanations of changes in agricultural TFP around the time of the agricultural revolution typically consist of a purely narrative account. Often these accounts present a timeline of key innovations or a discussion of the achievements of great agricultural pioneers. This threatens to give the impression that the agricultural revolution was mainly about purposive R&D activities. Using data drawn from a variety of sources we estimate agricultural TFP over the period 1690-1914. Applying causality tests appropriate for analyses involving nonstationary data we show that changes in the volume of agricultural output and the length of the canal network precede changes in TFP. By contrast measures of purposive R&D, the dissemination of knowledge and the extent of enclosure do not precede changes in TFP. Our findings appear to confirm the importance to the agricultural revolution of learning-by-doing and Smithian growth i.e. improved transport infrastructure facilitating regional specialisation.


September 19: 
Employing CGE modeling to wealth accounting and sustainability. by Koji Tokimatsu (Environmental Science and Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology)


Time: 1pm
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room