Corey D. HarperChris T. HendricksonConstantine Samaras:
The upper bound annual fleet-wide net benefit is about $202 billion or about $860 per light-duty vehicle per year.
Many light-duty vehicle crashes occur due to human error and distracted driving. Partially-automated crash avoidance features offer the potential to reduce the frequency and severity of vehicle crashes that occur due to distracted driving and/or human error by assisting in maintaining control of the vehicle or issuing alerts if a potentially dangerous situation is detected. This paper evaluates the benefits and costs of fleet-wide deployment of blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning crash avoidance systems within the US light-duty vehicle fleet. The three crash avoidance technologies could collectively prevent or reduce the severity of as many as 1.3 million U.S. crashes a year including 133,000 injury crashes and 10,100 fatal crashes. For this paper we made two estimates of potential benefits in the United States: (1) the upper bound fleet-wide technology diffusion benefits by assuming all relevant crashes are avoided and (2) the lower bound fleet-wide benefits of the three technologies based on observed insurance data. The latter represents a lower bound as technology is improved over time and cost reduced with scale economies and technology improvement. All three technologies could collectively provide a lower bound annual benefit of about $18 billion if equipped on all light-duty vehicles. With 2015 pricing of safety options, the total annual costs to equip all light-duty vehicles with the three technologies would be about $13 billion, resulting in an annual net benefit of about $4 billion or a $20 per vehicle net benefit. By assuming all relevant crashes are avoided, the total upper bound annual net benefit from all three technologies combined is about $202 billion or an $861 per vehicle net benefit, at current technology costs. The technologies we are exploring in this paper represent an early form of vehicle automation and a positive net benefit suggests the fleet-wide adoption of these technologies would be beneficial from an economic and social perspective.
by Andre Boik, Shane M. Greenstein, Jeffrey Prince:
In several markets, firms compete not for consumer expenditure but instead for consumer attention. We model and characterize how households allocate their scarce attention in arguably the largest market for attention: the Internet. Our characterization of household attention allocation operates along three dimensions: how much attention is allocated, where that attention is allocated, and how that attention is allocated. Using click-stream data for thousands of U.S. households, we assess if and how attention allocation on each dimension changed between 2008 and 2013, a time of large increases in online offerings. We identify vast and expected changes in where households allocate their attention (away from chat and news towards video and social media), and yet we simultaneously identify remarkable stability in how much attention is allocated and how it is allocated. Specifically, we identify (i) persistence in the elasticity of attention according to income and (ii) complete stability in the dispersion of attention across sites and in the intensity of attention within sites. We illustrate how this finding is difficult to reconcile with standard models of optimal attention allocation and suggest alternatives that may be more suitable. We conclude that increasingly valuable offerings change where households go online, but not their general online attention patterns. This conclusion has important implications for competition and welfare in other markets for attention.
Naki Shiraki and Naomi Tajitsu:
Japan’s Honda Motor Co has co-developed the world’s first hybrid car motor without using heavy rare earth metals, which it says will reduce its dependence on the expensive materials mainly supplied by China.
Hybrid vehicles combining a gasoline engine and electric motor have become increasingly popular in many developed countries, but sourcing a steady supply of rare earth elements such as dysprosium and terbium has been a challenge.
In 2010 China imposed a temporary ban on exports of rare earth minerals to Japan as the two nations engaged in territorial disputes.
Leonard Hyman and William Tilles:
Why do electric companies spend so much on new plants when consumers show so little inclination to buy more of the output?
From 2000 to the present, investor-owned utilities doubled their equity base while kilowatt-hour sales rose less than 10%. The more they invest, the more they can earn, so they have an incentive to invest when regulators allow them to earn more than the cost of capital.
If sales do not increase, how will they earn additional profits to cover the cost of the new investment? They can cut costs or raise prices, of course. They have cut costs for two decades. Now it looks as if they will have to raise prices, working through the slow state-regulatory process.
They might have to raise prices for a kilowatt-hour just as the introduction of disruptive technologies might give consumers an alternative to the legacy electricity provider. That’s the death spiral: Utilities raise prices, making an easier entry for competitive products, then utilities lose sales and must raise prices more to pay for all of the overhead they installed unnecessarily, and competitors take still more of the market.
That brings up the electric company’s peculiar relationship with its customers. Electricity consumers do not line up the night before to buy power. They have no thoughts about the electric company while the lights are on and only the worst thoughts when the lights go out. They may stick to the local utility’s electricity retailer—but largely out of inertia, or because they never heard of the competitors, or they don’t believe any action offers anything worth the effort of switching.