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Ida Beam Visiting Professor To Discuss Energy Deregulation Sept. 10

Vernon Smith, a professor of Economics and Law at George Mason University, will discuss deregulation in the California energy markets Sept. 10 as an Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor.

The Economics Department at the Henry B. Tippie College of Business will present Professor Smith's lecture, "California: Energy or Market Design Crisis" at 8 p.m. Sept. 10 in the Tippie Auditorium (Room W151) of the John Pappajohn Business Building (PBB).

California was plagued with brownouts, blackouts and threats of significantly higher prices for electricity during the summer of 2000. Smith will discuss whether the deregulation of California energy markets was a prime factor in precipitating the energy crisis and if it could have been avoided.

"Given plans by the state of Iowa to deregulate its wholesale electricity markets in the near future, as well the Iowa City Council's consideration of a proposal to create a publicly owned municipal electric utility, this lecture is quite timely," said April Franco, assistant professor of economics in the Tippie College of Business. She added that Smith is considered to be a likely candidate for a Nobel Prize in Economics as a result of his work in the field of experimental economics.

Smith, a leader in the area of experimental economics and market design, has served as a consultant on the privatization of electric power in Australia and New Zealand and participated in numerous private and public discussions of energy deregulation in the United States. In 1997 he served as a Blue Ribbon Panel Member, National Electric Reliability Council.

He has written over 200 articles and books on capital theory, finance, natural resource economics and experimental economics. He serves or has served on the board of editors of, among others, the American Economic Review, Science, Economic Theory, and Games and Economic Behavior. He has been a Ford Foundation Fellow, Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and a Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar at the California Institute of Technology. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

His visit is sponsored by the Economics Department of the Henry B. Tippie College of Business and the Ida Cordelia Beam Visiting Professor Program. Ida Beam, a native of Vinton, willed her family farm to the UI Foundation in 1977 despite the fact that her only university connection was a relative who graduated from the UI College of Medicine. With proceeds from the sale of the farm, the UI established a fund to bring a variety of top scholars to the university for lectures and discussions.

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