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Economics

Socio-Economic Indicators for Health of an Urban Watershed

Alan Fiedorek ('10); Bowman Cutter; Robert Vos*; Michael Antos**
*USC, Los Angeles, CA; **Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council

I sought to determine the best indicators for the social and economic sustainability of urban watersheds and water systems, with an emphasis on the Southern California context. To determine what measures should be included in a sustainability assessment of a watershed one must first determine how water-centric the measures should be in comparison to general urban sustainability measures. Additionally, when trying to measure the social sustainability of an urban watershed, one must define what features a socially sustainable society would have. The inherent difficulty in determining this means that while other areas of sustainability assessment—ecological, biotic, chemical, hydrological—have well-defined measures, the literature on socio-economic indicators of watershed health has not achieved a consensus regarding which indicators and metrics would be best. An emphasis on local issues in the literature demonstrates that sustainability assessments will require local participation to determine which issues are most important to the watershed’s community.
Funding provided by: The Aier Grant

Organizational Involvement in Earthquake Relief Efforts

Hammad Sheikh ('10); Tahir Andrabi; Jishnu Das*; Nick Eubank*; Ali Cheema**; Irfan Ahmad***
*The World Bank; **Lahore University of Management Sciences; ***RCons Consulting

Following the 2005 earthquake that shook much of Pakistan’s northern areas, a diverse set of relief organizations entered the region to conduct aid work. Over three years later, The World Bank and Pomona College facilitated a census of over 28,000 households in a sample of 126 villages. A key part of the census was the utilization of a village’s distance from the fault line as an exogenous variable. In total, households identified 203 separate aid organizations. The leading organization was the Pakistan Army – over 68% of households reported its presence. There was a significant foreign  response. At least one foreign organization came to about 60% of households in villages near the fault line. This exceeded the approximately 20% of households that reported that a Pakistani organization or group (except for the Army and ERRA) came to help. There was also little activity reported by banned militant and Pakistani.
Funding provided by: National Academy of Sciences Grant (TA)

Responding to the Financial Crisis: The Policy Debate

Nanako Yano ('11); Glenn Hueckel

The financial crisis that developed two years ago has highlighted regulatory and structural gaps that tolerated misaligned incentives, poor risk management, and opaque market operations. Coupled with such gaps was a system inadequately equipped to address systemic risk; thus, widespread failures of financial institutions quickly spread across the globe, causing frozen up credit markets, declines in production, and significant increases in unemployment. Through Congressional hearings, observations of both domestic and international regulatory dialogue, and assistance in preparation of reports in the Regulatory Affairs Department at the Institute of International Finance (IIF), the only global association of financial institutions, I was able to gain exposure to key debates centered on the issues of our current regulatory infrastructure and of necessary changes to prevent future crises. While the outcome remains uncertain, restoration of the role of markets and international coordination is of clear importance to prevent market inefficiencies and regulatory arbitrage.
Funding provided by: The Aier Grant

Research at Pomona