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Presentation at 6th Massachusetts Green Career Conference

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  1. 1. H E I D I G A R R E T T - P E L T I E R A S S I S T A N T R E S E A R C H P R O F E S S O R P O L I T I C A L E C O N O M Y R E S E A R C H I N S T I T U T E U N I V E R S I T Y O F M A S S A C H U S E T T S , A M H E R S T 6 T H A N N U A L M A G R E E N C A R E E R S C O N F E R E N C E O C T 1 , 2 0 1 4 Research, Writing, and Strategy: Economics and Environmental Policy
  2. 2. Outline of Today’s Presentation —  Introduction to PERI —  Guiding principles of our research —  Examples of PERI’s work —  Who is our audience and how do we reach them? —  How does this differ from academic writing? —  How do we gauge the effectiveness of our work?
  3. 3. Introduction to PERI —  The Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) is affiliated with the Economics department at UMass Amherst —  Some PERI researchers are also Econ dept faculty, others are full-time researchers (all are Econ PhDs) —  PERI’s research is policy-oriented and academically rigorous: We bridge the gap from academia to workable policy proposals —  We strive to produce high-quality research that improves human and ecological well-being
  4. 4. Guiding principles of our research —  Producing high-quality research —  Researching/writing on topics of particular importance for human and ecological well-being —  Focus on advancing policies that improve living standards for working people and the poor —  Creating, as Robert Heilbroner put it, “a workable science of morality” within economics
  5. 5. Examples of PERI’s recent work —  Green Growth: A U.S. Program for Controlling Climate Change and Expanding Job Opportunities —  An Assessment of the Fiscal Impact of the Proposed Sonoma County Living Wage Ordinance —  Social Hierarchies and Public Distribution of Food in Rural India —  Finance and Growth: The Neglected Role of the Business Cycle
  6. 6. “Green Growth” —  Green Growth: A U.S. Program for Controlling Climate Change and Expanding Job Opportunities -  Published on Sept 18, 2014 along with the Center for American Progress (CAP) -  Proposes a workable program for private investment and public support for energy efficiency and renewable energy, to meet our 2030 emissions targets -  Written for audiences with minimal economics background, but contains technical details in appendices for those with economics expertise -  417 page study, with summary and introduction available for separate download
  7. 7. Reaching our audience —  Who is our audience? ¡  Policy-makers at local/regional/national/international levels ¡  Activists and advocacy organizations who use our research to support their work ¡  Professionals and other economists who conduct similar research ¡  Students, interns, others interested in either content and/or methods —  How do we reach them? ¡  Make publications freely available on our website ¡  Present at conferences and other public venues ¡  Press releases and other communications to the media ¡  Communications Director uses social media and other methods to get the word out ¡  Collaborating with organizations in DC and elsewhere helps us access policymakers and other networks
  8. 8. How does this differ from academic writing? —  Academic writing aims to advance the discipline, to improve/expand theory and methods, which may or may not have immediate practical applications —  Academic writing has a specific format, is generally peer- reviewed, and generally undergoes a long process from writing to publication —  Writing for a policy-oriented audience often means publishing “working papers” or reports, not necessarily peer-reviewed journal articles, can reach audiences sooner —  This writing is geared toward an audience with a wider variety of backgrounds (not nec. Economics) and prioritizes the content rather than the methods
  9. 9. Gauging the effectiveness of our work —  Academic effectiveness = # of citations —  Effectiveness in policy-oriented writing is harder to measure, but there are a few indicators: ¡  Establishment of policies that refer to the work ¡  Media (print, radio, tv) – references, interviews ¡  Social media (tweets, FB shares, etc) ¡  Word of mouth (e.g., an organization mentions usefulness of our work) ¡  Requests for use of the work, questions about methodology, other inquiries which show the relevance to our audience
  10. 10. Thank you for your attention! Visit PERI on the web: Contact information Heidi Garrett-Peltier