Centennial Lecture on Global "Public Goods"

William Nordhaus, the A. Whitney Griswold Professor of Economics at Yale and former member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, will discuss “The Problem of Global Public Goods” on February 21 at 6 p.m. at the Yale Club of New York City.

The lecture is free and part of the Centennial Lecture Series sponsored by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Global public goods, according to Nordhaus, are as disparate as greenhouse warming and ozone depletion, the Internet and William Shakespeare, and the East Asian financial crisis and money laundering.

“Each is an example of a complex system whose effects are global and resist the control of individuals and even the most powerful governments,” he said. “These are examples of goods whose impacts are indivisibly spread across the entire globe.”

The lecture, he said, will analyze the economic and political dilemmas raised by global public goods, and the issues raised by one of the most important global public goods, global warming.

Nordhaus has been a member of the Yale faculty since 1967 and a full professor of economics since 1973. He also has served Yale in two administrative positions, as provost from 1986 to 1988 and vice president for finance and administration from 1992 to 1993.

Currently, he is a member and senior advisor of the Brookings Panel on Economic Activity in Washington, DC, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

His research has focused on economic growth and natural resources, as well as the question of the extent to which resources constrain economic growth. Since the 1970s, he has developed economic approaches to global warming, including the construction of integrated economic and scientific models to determine the efficient path for coping with climate change.

Nordhaus is the author of many books, including the classic textbook, “Economics,” which he co-edited with Paul Samuelson and whose 17th edition was published last fall. Nordhaus completed his undergraduate work at Yale, and holds a doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

To celebrate its centennial year, the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies is sponsoring a series of distinguished speakers who are addressing topics that explore the relationship between globalization and the environment.

The next lecture will feature Robert Kates, former professor at Brown, who will discuss “The Nexus and the Neem Tree” on March 22, at 5 p.m. in Bowers Hall Sage Auditorium.

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