News

Dr Rebecca Taylor awarded Darwin C. Hall Best Paper Award

1 February, 2018

Congratulations to School of Economics lecturer, Dr Rebecca Taylor on her recent award at the 2018 WEAI conference. The Darwin C. Hall Award was awarded at the Early Career Researcher Workshop which is designed to help early career researchers refine their research and presentation skills.

Congratulations to Dr Rebecca Taylor on receiving the Darwin C. Hall Best Paper Award at the Western Economic Association (WEAI) conference. Dr Taylor’s paper, titled ‘Giving Plastic Bags the Sack: The Hidden Time Costs of Regulating Behavior’ examines how policy designed to encourage certain behaviors can fail to incorporate non-monetary costs such as time and effort. Using disposable carryout bag (DCB) policy changes in California as the primary study, the working paper observes that while taxing or banning plastic bags may encourage greater use of reusable and paper bags, it also results in slower check-out times and longer queues at supermarket retailers. The impact of increased transaction times led to consumers shopping less frequently at the affected stores and reduced sales for retailers.

Non-monetary costs, such as time spent waiting, have traditionally been difficult to calculate, and thus easily overlooked. However, the research by Dr Taylor suggests that they have a significant impact on consumers and supermarkets. These findings are important in ensuring welfare gains are not overstated and highlight that failure to account for these costs may limit the effectiveness of policy design. 

The WEAI annual conference held on 11 – 14 January 2018 was hosted by the Newcastle Business School in Newcastle, NSW. WEAI is a non-profit, educational organisation that aims to foster economic research and analysis primarily through their quarterly journals – Economic Enquiry and Contemporary Economic Policy – and hosting scholarly conferences.

Contact:Rebecca Taylor
Phone:+61 2 9351 7895
Email:r.taylor@sydney.edu.au