Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado
Tonya Aultman-Bettridge, Jane Grady, Sharon Mihalic, and Tiffany Shaw all received scholarships to attend Connecting Colorado's 3rd Annual Summit, "Prevention: The Wave of the Future" in Breckenridge, Colorado on June 15-16. The summit addressed violence prevention topics such as the Assets Model, collaboration and coalition building, and the future of prevention funding in Colorado.
On May 21, Delbert Elliott was a featured speaker at a forum to launch a community-wide planning process called Boulder County YouthNET. The goal of the forum was to create a county-wide collaborative strategy linking local efforts effectively to programs and services for youth, families, and communities. The forum was held at the East Boulder Recreation Center. Elliott was the Plenary Speaker at the Safe and Drug-free Schools Conference for Principle #4 (The Department of Education's Principles of Effectiveness) on June 9 in Washington, DC. On June 17 and 18 he participated in the Taking Stock of Risk Factors for Externalizing Behavior Problems Meeting sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health in Washington, DC.
Keith E. Maskus attended the conference "Empirical Research in International Trade and Investment" sponsored by the Copenhagen Business School in Fredensborg, Denmark on June 19-22. Maskus presented the paper "Testing the Knowledge Capital Model of Foreign Direct Investment," (co-authored with David Carr and James R. Markusen). On June 2 he delivered a lecture entitled "Intellectual Property Rights in Economic Development" at the Economic Development Institute of The World Bank in Washington, DC.
James R. Scarritt attended the International Political Science Association, Research Committee on Politics and Ethnicity on July 17-19 in Santiago de Compostella, Spain. He presented the paper "Why Territorial Autonomy Is Not a Viable Option for Managing Ethnic Conflict in Africa," (with Shaheen Mozaffar). The paper discusses severe obstacles to the use of territorial autonomy to mitigate ethnic conflicts in African plural societies that are created by multiple levels of politically relevant ethnic identities, the presence of large numbers of small ethnic groups in most African countries, the absence of a history of successful autonomous ethnic rule, the mixing of ethnic groups in centers of economic activity, and changes in ethnic identities caused by colonial policies, nationalist movements, and the shifting policies of successive post-colonial regimes.
In May Anthony Bebbington taught a weeklong module on Policies for Sustainable Development in the Andes as part of an MA in Environmental Management and Development at the Andean School for Postgraduate Studies at the Centro Bartolome de las Casas in Cusco, Peru.
John Wiener attended a conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property on June 14-19 in Vancouver, Canada. He presented a paper entitled "Property, Agency, Time, Culture, Spirit." The argument is that a careful application of the microeconomic theory on the sources of the positive discount rate shows that they were not always relevant and, using the anthropological record, were likely not present for most pre-contact Native American societies. Being free of the positive discount rate is much less feasible within current economies, but the theoretical and empirical case for the argument that most of human history shows a significantly different relationship with the environment offers some relief from conventional approaches to long-term resource management. An informal version and most of the proceedings are available on the Association's web-site for the "Crossing Boundaries" 7th Conference.
Anthony Bebbington and O. Sotomayor. "Agricultural Extension in Chile." Pages 106-124 in J. Beynon (ed.) Financing the Future: options for agricultural research and extension in sub-Saharan Africa. Oxford:Oxford Policy Management. This chapter discusses the political economic factors that have influenced changes in agricultural development strategies in Chile and, in particular, the forms taken by privatization of agricultural services under both dictatorship and the return to democracy.
Dennis Mileti consulted with the Ministry of Civil Defense, Wellington, New Zealand the week of July 15th to comment on New Zealand's draft national legislation to link natural hazards mitigation with sustainable development and natural resource management. He also visited with the Ministry of Geological and Nuclear Sciences to establish a role of social science research with that ministry to enhance the societal utility and applications of their physical science research products. Also in July, Mileti was appointed as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Multihazard Mitigation Council. The Council is housed with the National Institute of Building Sciences and is currently funded by the Federal Emergency Management Institute. Its purpose is to reduce the total losses associated with natural and other hazards by fostering and promoting consistent and improved multihazard risk mitigation strategies, guidelines, practices, and related efforts in the United States.
Sara Michaels, a former Graduate Research Assistant, has received a Gilbert F. White Postdoctoral Fellowship from Resources for the Future (RfF). While at RfF she plans to study the public's decisions to participate in policy making concerning watersheds in Massachusetts.
The Social Science Data Analysis Center (SSDAC) now has a recordable CD-ROM that can be used to archive and distribute large databases or files. For example, census files or statistical systems files developed from them can be made available to IBS researchers this way. Each CD can hold up to approximately 600 MB. Contact the SSDAC for more information.
See http://www.colorado.edu/IBS/DAC/news.html for computing and networking news and notes that should be of interest to IBS users. Selected items appear in the printed IBS Newsletter. If you have computing problems, questions, or comments send e-mail to SSDAC@Colorado.EDU.
Chuck Howe is an economist specializing in natural resource and environmental policy issues. He is a Professor of Economics and a Faculty Research Associate on the Professional Staff of the Environment and Behavior Program. Much of his research deals with the role of water resources in the development process and the human welfare implications of different management systems. During his 1997-98 sabbatical leave in the United Kingdom and France, he studied the effects of the privatization of public service industries, especially urban water services.
One of the major themes in the Environment and Behavior Program of IBS is the relationship between the globalization of financial and product markets and the sustainability of traditional means of livelihood and a healthy physical environment. Recently, the globalization of capital flows has developed a symbiotic relationship with the philosophical and political inclination to privatize not just state-owned industries but the basic public service sectors.
The World Bank and The International Monetary Fund have been pushing client countries toward privatization. In Latin America these organizations have been pushing the "Chilean Model" of radical and rapid privatization. In the Chilean case, the sudden privatization of water resources resulted in a high degree of monopolization of water supply by the national hydroelectric generating companies to the detriment of the agricultural sector and cities that must pay exorbitant prices for added water supplies.
The program of privatization of public services in the United Kingdom provides us with the most extensive record of privatization and its consequences. This program was pushed dogmatically by the Thatcher government, starting with British Telecom in 1983, British Gas in 1986, British Airways in 1987, the water and waste-water treatment sector in 1989, electri c production and distribution in 1990-91, and the railroads in 1994. The results have been quite mixed, from outstanding success in the gas, electricity, and telecom sector to chaos in the railroads, and great public dissatisfaction in the water sector.
The motivation for water sector privatization (besides the market philosophy held by the Tory government) was an estimated backlog of maintenance and repair estimated to be 24 billion pounds that the government didn't want to bear and the obvious need to raise water charges for which the government preferred not to take the blame. Prior to privatization in 1989, the water sector consisted of ten major river authorities that provided water supplies, waste water treatment, and ambient water quality management in the major river basins, supplemented by 25 historical water supply companies serving local areas. Ownership shares for these entities were created and "floated" at quite advantageous prices to be sure that buyers would be found. The offerings were heavily oversubscribed and the successful buyers were mostly the three large French water companies: Compagnie General des Eaux, Compagnie Lyonnaise des Eaux, and Societe d'Amenagement Urbain et Rural. Some of the companies remained under British control.
The water sector is the closest approximation to the ideal "natural monopoly" of economic texts. The required infrastructure is costly and specialized. Duplication by potential competitors would be prohibitive. Thus one cannot count on competition of the usual sort to maintain reasonable prices and levels of service. The British solution has been to establish (for each of the privatized public service sectors) a very strong regulatory office--OFWAT in the case of water. OFWAT exercises its control through "price cap" regulation, "yardstick competition," and public pressure through citizen advisory groups.
The major result has been a strong (and outspoken) public discontent with the private companies. Water charges have increased from 100% to 200%. The salaries of company directors have been very high in comparison with similar industries, while the prices of the company stocks (large numbers held by company officials) have increased tremendously in anticipation of continued high profits. (The average stock price for the 25 water supply companies has increased by a factor of ten!) The number of service shutoffs has increased dramatically--a social issue of great concern.
Evaluation of the companies' performances has been confounded by the occurrence of two severe droughts since privatization. The companies clearly have invested heavily in repairs and capacity expansion. A major issue has been reduction of water losses through leaks. Residential users typically are not metered because of the age of the systems and the earlier plenitude of raw water, so that isolating leaks has been difficult. Because of the severe control by OFWAT, the operations of the industry are more transparent and, to some extent, more accountable. Eventually, after the great backlogs of investment have been filled, there will be more effective control of water charges. What will be the ultimate equilibrium of the industry? Consolidation of companies is already underway.
What have we learned? Clearly, although privatization doesn't work magic in the public service area, it has been quite successful in those industries where the technology is more "flexible" in the sense of permitting multicompany use of facilities. In the water sector, a loosely regulated public service has been replaced by a heavily regulated private service. The natural monopoly problem has not been overcome. "Price cap regulation" and "yardstick competition" have proved more feeble instruments than anticipated. The new equilibrium of the industry will probably be superior to the situation prior to privatization, but the costs of the transition to equilibrium are quite significant and should not be ignored in weighing the privatization decision.
M.F. Myers and D.S. Mileti
Develop a framework for establishing disaster recovery assistance teams
PERI, 07/01/98 - 06/30/98, new, $110,440
Developmental processes in violence and problem behavior
NIDA, 06/01/98 - 05/31/99, cont, $522,182
K. Williams and D.S. Elliott
Violence against women prevention research curriculum
UC Riverside, 09/01/98 - 08/31/99, new, $250,000
Transitions over the lifespan: from child to young adult
NIH, 06/01/99 - 05/31/04, renew, B$3,327,664
J.V. O'Loughlin, J.A. Menken, L.A. Staeheli, E.S. Greenberg,
and R. Jessor
IGERT Pre-proposal - promoting effectivecommunities in a rapidly changing world
NSF, 01/01/99 - 12/31/03, new, $2,697,643
There is an online listing of upcoming and recent colloquia.