A group of senior economics students will have their research on fracking published in the Undergraduate Business and Economics Research Journal (UBER). Anthony Berardi, Joseph Fazackerly, Max Fishman, Luke Wills and Jeffrey Wilson worked together on research, titled Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Clean Power Plan and the Effects of Fracking.
The research was completed as a part of Dr. Hamilton’s Environmental Ethics class in the fall, with the goal of conducting an economic analysis of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan establishes standards aimed at reducing carbon emissions from power plants for the first time in the US History.
The students generated a case study based on 2011 coal usage in comparison to natural gas usage for electricity. To complete their research, the students utilized on-campus resources, such as the Kennedy Library and the Orfalea College of Business Lab.
“[The on campus resources] provided the programs we needed to conduct research, reliable spaces we could count on to get the job done, and studious atmospheres that encouraged us to work hard on our study,” Wills said.
The students ultimately found that the EPA’s plan would reduce atmospheric CO2 emissions, resulting in a social benefit of approximately $20 million; however, the students noted that more natural gas would be needed to make this switch possible. Their paper went on to address the social costs associated with increased fracking in response to the greater demand for natural gas.
“Since Fracking is still a new technology, accurate estimates of its social costs are not fully developed,” Wills said. “It is up to a future study to determine whether or not this plan is fully beneficial.”
Their research was accepted for publication in January and will be published in the next issue of UBER. The team received a $500 reward from the economics department for their efforts.