All economics majors are invited to the department’s faculty-student happy hour Thursday, October 13 from 4:30-6:30 pm at Donovan’s Pub. Come enjoy refreshments with your favorite economics professors!
Does seeing an image of plastic bags floating in the ocean influence people to be more environmentally friendly? That’s what Bob Turner, professor of economics and environmental studies, hopes to find out with his new research.
In Turner’s study, participants are asked a set of questions designed by psychologists that assesses their opinions on the state of the environment’s health. Next, one group is shown an artistic image of a whale, accompanied by text explaining that the whale image is comprised of 50,000 plastic bags, equal to the estimated number of pieces of floating plastic in a square mile of the world’s oceans. Other groups see different combinations of image and/or text. Sometimes, a photograph of bags in the ocean replaces the whale image. Afterward, all participants answered a subset of the initial survey questions and questions on their beliefs about plastic bag pollution.
Although the study is ongoing, so far, Turner has found that those who are shown either one of the images and/or the text become more pro-environment. “It’s an open question whether environmental art, by itself, has an impact, but clearly information seems to matter,” he said. “I’m hoping the research will narrow down the ways, and, in what circumstances, the art has an impact.”
Turner first started thinking about the effects of art on people’s thoughts about the environment during a 2008 visit to Colgate by the Canary Project, which produces art and media about ecological issues. But it wasn’t until several years later when Turner was invited to speak at a scientific communication conference that he decided to pursue it further.
In the fall of 2014, Turner designed a new a scientific perspectives class, called Environmental Activism, Science, and the Arts. Through working with students in the class, which discussed art, psychology, statistics, and the environment, Turner modified his study to this current iteration. Students from that class worked with him on the design of his survey instrument.
When he came to Colgate in 1983, Turner was purely an economist, and the environment was hardly on his radar, but now he teaches both subjects. “I married into a family that hiked in the Rockies every summer,” he said. “[While in] the national parks out there, I realized there were interesting economic questions associated with them.” He then helped expand the Environmental Studies Program to include environmental economics and has continued to conduct research about national parks in addition to his recent work about environmental art.
Lauren Schmetterling recently won gold at the 2016 Olympics as part of the United States Women’s Eight. Lauren majored in economics and graduated from Colgate in 2010. Lauren is the first Colgate athlete to win a gold medal at the Olympics. Congratulations to Lauren on setting a gold standard that all economists in the department are excited about.
The following eight students from the Class of 2016 have earned the honors designation in the Economics Department after successfully completing their honors thesis (3 of which earned high honors):
Andrew Aicher, “Analyzing the Effects of Variable Performance Based Pay Programs on Productivity: Evidence from a Field Experiment” (Faculty Sponsors: Carolina Castilla and Takao Kato)
Melissa Haller, “The End of the Nuclear Era: An Investigation of Nuclear Decommissioning and its Impacts on US Counties” (Faculty Sponsor: Michael Haines)
Mallory Hart, “Additional Benefits to Sustainability in Higher Education? The Effect of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment on Undergraduate Admissions Outcomes” (Faculty Sponsor: Michael O’Hara)
Miranda Kornfeld, “The Effect of Financial Incentives on Solar Installations” (Faculty Sponsor: Steven Sprick Schuster)
Zachary Lazow, “Superstar Effects in Golf Tournaments” (Faculty Sponsor: Takao Kato)
Bradley Miles, “Returns to Scale and Regulations” (Faculty Sponsor: Ayse Sapci)
Julia O’Neil, “Accession to the World Trade Organization: Sector Level Impacts on the Extensive and Intensive Margins of Trade” (Faculty Sponsor: Chad Sparber)
Anna Schein, “Signals for Foreign Direct Investment in Post-Conflict Economies” (Faculty Sponsor: Dean Scrimgeour)
Economics and Environmental Studies Professor Bob Turner recently won Colgate’s Phi Eta Sigma Professor of the Year award. This is awarded based on teaching excellence and is well deserved. Congratulations Prof Turner!
All economics majors are invited to the department’s faculty-student happy hour Thursday, April 28 from 4:30-6:30 pm at Donovan’s Pub. This is a great way to unwind and enjoy refreshments with your favorite economics professors before the end of the year. Hope to see you there!
All economics majors are invited to the department’s faculty-student happy hour Thursday, March 24 from 4:30-6:30 pm at Donovan’s Pub. Come enjoy refreshments with your favorite economics professors!
Fun in Scotland with Director, Don Waldman and the London Economics Study Group
Director: Don Waldman
Spending time in Hampton Court
All economics majors are invited to the department’s faculty-student happy hour Friday, December 4 from 4:30-6:30 pm at Donovan’s Pub. Come enjoy refreshments with your favorite economics professors!