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Porter Hypothesis

So I don’t remember learning about this at VLS (which is not to say I didn’t, it just didn’t stick) but I got to attend a Resources for the Future Lecture last night on the Porter Hypothesis, and what’s happened in the 20 years since the paper describing it was published. For those of you unfamiliar with it, basically it suggests that environmental regulation actually spurs innovation, a la the catalytic converter, and other examples where strict guidelines produced a pressure to re-design industry to conform to the guidelines.

The speaker was Michael Porter himself, and he described why he came up with the hypothesis, what has come from it in the past two decades, and where he thinks it’s going in the future. I enjoyed the talk because, as a Harvard professor, he had a very classroom lecture speaking style that felt comforting – like being back in school again. Despite the fact that he was speaking to a room full of economists and policy wonks, I didn’t feel like he got overly technical in his discussion – I was able to perfectly follow everything he talked about, which was great.

DC winter has been pretty mild, but given its my second winter away from California, and the novelty of cold and snow has worn off a bit with the whole daily commute thing, I’m getting pretty tired of it. How do people live on this coast for their entire lives?? I have friends in SoCal updating their Facebook statuses to “75 and sunny in January” which makes me insanely jealous. As much as I like DC, and as much as I’ve learned in this position, I will be glad when I get a job back on the best coast 😉

Oh! Irony of ironies – I was looking into a Ph.D program in a small town not too different from SoRo, and I discovered that they too have a Crossroads “cafe” in town. Twilight zone perhaps?? Could I really do a VLS part deux?


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