Rice Economics Fall 2020 Newsletter - Page 4

Spotlight on Our Faculty : Peter Hartley
Spotlight on Our Faculty : Peter Hartley
Peter Hartley , George A . Peterkin Professor of Economics Research Interests : Energy Economics ; Energy and Growth ; Money , Credit and Banking
Peter R . Hartley , Ph . D ., is the George A . Peterkin Professor of Economics at Rice University . He is also a Rice Scholar of Energy Economics at the Baker Institute . He has worked on energy economics issues for 35 years , focusing originally on electricity , but also including work on natural gas , oil , coal , nuclear and renewable energy . He has also published in other areas including theoretical and applied issues in money and banking , business cycles , and international finance . He received his PhD from the University of Chicago and was an Assistant Professor of Economics at Princeton University before coming to Rice . Originally from Australia , he has also held visiting appointments at Monash University , Melbourne University , the Australian National University and the University of Western Australia .
How did you first become interested in economics ?
My undergraduate major was in mathematics , with minors in statistics and applied mathematics . I started out doing a science degree ( physics and chemistry ) but found that I was not good at running experiments . I retained an interest in using mathematics and statistics to model and analyze real-world phenomena , however , and in my senior year took economics to see if I could combine that interest with a growing interest in politics . Upon graduation , my statistical training enabled me to find employment in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in the Australian Federal Government . I kept studying part-time and completed most of an undergraduate economics degree before being admitted to the Masters Degree in economics at the ANU . As I learned more economics , my official duties transitioned to a greater focus on economic policy .
Can you us give a brief summary of your field of research ?
I am interested in understanding the factors that influence energy prices , the production and trade of energy commodities , the evolution of energy technologies , the consequences of regulations and policies affecting energy markets , and the evolution of energy market institutions such as wholesale and futures markets , and spot and contract trades .
What are some of your favorite current research projects ?
I have recently been researching several issues related to the advent of US LNG exports . These include how such exports may affect global LNG markets and thereby markets for natural gas more generally . I have also been interested in the determinants of the profitability of LNG export projects and especially how they provide many opportunities to exploit temporary arbitrage and other trading opportunities . Another focus of my recent research has been the impact of wind and solar generating capacity on electricity markets .
You are a Director of the Master of Energy Economics program . Can you tell us about that program and is it something that Rice undergrads might be interested in ?
The Master of Energy Economics ( MEECON ) is a professional master ’ s program designed to prepare students for successful careers in the energy sector . The MEECON program normally lasts 12 months , during which students are required to complete 40 credit hours ( 10 courses ) in four sessions , including two sevenweek summer sessions . The program should be attractive to Rice undergraduates wanting to pursue a career in the energy sector . It may be especially valuable to students with an engineering or science degree who want to supplement their technical training with courses that will better equip them for management and strategic decision-making in the energy industry .
Are you involved in any professional associations ?
I have been involved with the International Association for Energy Economics ( IAEE ), and its US affiliate the United States Association for Energy Economics ( USAEE ), for many years . The IAEE is the main professional association for energy economists and has members from more than 120 countries . The IAEE also publishes The Energy Journal and Economics of Energy and Environment Policy , which are two leading field journals . Both the IAEE and USAEE also award prizes for research and contributions to the energy economics profession , some of which I have been fortunate to receive . I have served as President of both the USAEE and IAEE and am currently President-elect of the IAEE and will serve a second term as President in 2022 .
What do you enjoy most about being at Rice ?
Rice is an especially good university for an economist interested in energy markets . The Center for Energy Studies ( CES ) at the Baker Institute provides many colleagues , financial support and ideas for research , and support for graduate students . I also value having colleagues in the Economics Department specializing in applied microeconomics . Rice also attracts many bright students , who are a joy to teach . The campus is beautiful , and the facilities and support provided by the university are first rate .
What advice do you have for students as to how they might better cope with the many challenges of remote learning this year ?
Students who are remote from campus should attend the lectures in real time and ask more questions . It is all too easy to assume that one can look at the recording of the lectures later , but once you get behind it is difficult to catch up . Also , it is more difficult to contact a professor several days after the lecture has been given to ask for clarification of a point you do not understand .
What are your favorite hobbies ?
The two main things my wife and I enjoy doing in our leisure time are classical music performances ( attending symphony concerts , the opera and ballet ) and international travel . Sadly , both activities have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus …
For more information on Professor Hartley ’ s research projects , including his current working papers and his C . V ., see the Faculty Page on the Economics Department website .