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Nov. 6: Systems Thinking for Macroeconomic Modeling: Energy, Debt, Dynamics, and Economic “Structure”

Systems Thinking for Macroeconomic Modeling: Energy, Debt, Dynamics, and Economic “Structure”

Carey W. King


Macroeconomic modeling needs to consider a wide range of economic factors (employment, wages, economic output, capital, debt, income distribution) and physical factors (population, rate of energy consumption, capital). Most economic models focus on the former factors much more than the latter.  The Long-term models also need to consider dynamics that have the ability to understand how the rate of change in the energy system interacts with the rest of the economy.  In this talk, Dr. King discusses data and analysis that provide insight into the long-term (100+ years) changes in size and structure of the world and U.S. economy in the context of the size of the energy system.  This topic has implications for modeling a transition to a low-carbon economy, a task for which many mainstream economic models (e.g., general equilibrium models) are ill-equipped.



Dr. Carey W King performs interdisciplinary research related to how energy systems interact within the economy and environment as well as how our policy and social systems can make decisions and tradeoffs among these often competing factors. The past performance of our energy systems is no guarantee of future returns, yet we must understand the development of past energy systems.  Carey’s research goals center on rigorous interpretations of the past to determine the most probable future energy pathways.

Carey is  Research Scientist at The University of Texas at Austin and Assistant Director at the Energy Institute. He also has appointments with the  Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy within the Jackson School of Geosciences and the McCombs School of Business. He has both a B.S. with high honors and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He has published technical articles in the academic journals Environmental Science and Technology, Environmental Research Letters, Nature Geoscience, Energy Policy, Sustainability, and Ecology and Society. He has also written commentary for American Scientist and Earthmagazines as well as major newspapers such as the Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, and Austin American-Statesman. Dr. King has several patents as former Director for Scientific Research of Uni-Pixel Displays, Inc.