This week’s episode is the first in a three-part series that celebrates the 70th anniversary of Resources for the Future (RFF). Over that time span, RFF has had a significant impact on the fields of environmental economics and policy. In this episode, host Kristin Hayes talks with Ray Kopp, RFF’s recently retired vice president for research and policy engagement, and Kerry Smith, an RFF university fellow (who also happened to be Ray Kopp’s graduate school advisor). Kopp continues to lead the organization’s Comprehensive Climate Strategies Program. Kopp, Smith, and Hayes discuss the 70-year history and legacy of RFF, the real-world impacts of its research, and how the act of conducting research itself has changed through the decades. They take a trip down RFF memory lane to explore how the world of environmental economics has evolved over the past 70 years—and how RFF has helped shape that evolution.
Listen to the Podcast
70th Anniversary Podcast Series
Our special three-part series of Resources Radio celebrates the 70th anniversary of Resources for the Future this year. These episodes consider the organization through the respective lenses of the past, present, and future.
- RFF’s origins: “RFF was initiated after World War II because there was concern that the United States might be running out of raw materials and natural resources as a result of meeting the needs of the war effort. So, the first major effort—and indeed, a large reason for starting RFF—was to address that question.” —Kerry Smith (5:13)
- Economic understanding evolves: “Economists got the modeling of production wrong. They focused on the use of capital and labor, and not necessarily energy and materials. The reason that [Allen Kneese’s research] program was so pathbreaking was because it recognized that, until you included energy and materials, you didn’t recognize that there were things left over after production. So the question was, Where did the leftovers go? And that began the accounting system that led to recognizing CO₂, and the places where all other residuals went, and in turn what they did to the atmosphere, the rivers, the lakes, and the air above us.” —Kerry Smith (10:52)
- Retro RFF research: “Today, we have a lot of labor, but you don’t see anybody who would be called a secretary anymore. RFF had lots of them, because there were no word processors. There were IBM electric typewriters, and the idea of ‘cut and paste’ was exactly that … This stuff just took forever. The speed in which you do things today, I think, is dramatically different. And as a result, the productivity that you have is incredible … to me, it’s a little more satisfying than it was back in the day.” —Ray Kopp (15:45)
- RFF’s unique impact: “RFF has the capacity to create new knowledge. We can develop new understandings of policy problems, and we can develop entirely new policy solutions … There’s very few organizations that have all those components. There’s deep understanding, there’s ability to empirically investigate problems, and then the ability to create new knowledge and new policy solutions when there’s nothing on the shelf that’s going to fit. I hope that RFF continues in that vein going forward, but when I look at our impact, I attribute it to those particular characteristics of the organization.” —Ray Kopp (25:59)
Top of the Stack
- Scarcity and Growth: The Economics of Natural Resource Availability by Harold J. Barnett and Chandler Morse
- Air Pollution and Human Health by Lester B. Lave and Eugene P. Seskin
- Marchant calculator
- The Voltage Effect by John A. List
- Big Data for Twenty-First-Century Economic Statistics edited by Katharine G. Abraham, Ron S. Jarmin, Brian C. Moyer, and Matthew D. Shapiro
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
- The Food Lab by J. Kenji López-Alt
The Full Transcript
Kristin Hayes: Hello, and welcome to Resources Radio, a weekly podcast from Resources for the Future (RFF). I'm your host, Kristin Hayes. Today's episode is the first in a three-part series celebrating RFF’s 70th anniversary—which I learned just recently is our platinum anniversary, which is very exciting. And 70 years is quite a long time. Just ask Queen Elizabeth, who's been on the throne for 70 years this year. I think it's fair to say that over that time span, RFF has had a significant impact on the fields of environmental economics and policy.
Today, I'm very pleased to talk about RFF's legacy with two guests who know the institution very well: Doctors Kerry Smith and Ray Kopp. Kerry is an emeritus professor of environmental economics at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Before that, he was a university distinguished professor and the director of the Center for Environmental and Resource Economic Policy at North Carolina State University. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a longtime university fellow at RFF. Furthermore, he was Ray Kopp's graduate school advisor.
Ray Kopp came to RFF in 1977, after finishing his PhD in Economics, and has held a number of research leadership roles at the institution over the years. Ray's research historically focused on assigning value to environmental and natural resources that do not have market prices. More recently, he has spent considerable time on federal and international climate policy designs and frameworks. Last fall, Ray “retired” (I'm going to put that in air quotes) from his role as RFF's Vice President for Research and Policy Engagement, but he's continued to lead the organization's Comprehensive Climate Strategies Program.
So, these two gentlemen know RFF well, they know each other well, and I am really looking forward to a wonderful trip down RFF memory lane as we explore how the world of environmental economics research has evolved over the past 70 years and how RFF has helped shape that evolution. Stay with us.
Hi Kerry. Hi Ray. Welcome to Resources Radio. Thank you for joining me today.
Kerry Smith: Thank you for including me.
Ray Kopp: Thanks, Kristin.
Kristin Hayes: We're here to celebrate 70 years of RFF’s history. But before we talk too much more about RFF, I've told our listeners a little bit about you, but I really would like to offer you the opportunity to introduce yourselves more fully, as well. Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and when you ended up at RFF?
Kerry, let me start with you.
Kerry Smith: Thank you, Kristin. Well, over 50 years ago, John Krutilla gave me my first grant in 1970 to pursue some issues associated with his Natural Environments Program. He must have been happy with what I did, because in 1971, he invited me to come to RFF in what would now be called a postdoctoral position. In those days, it was called a two-year fixed-term appointment. So I worked in his Natural Environments Program with Charles Cicchetti and Anthony Fisher, and it changed my life.
Kristin Hayes: Fantastic. Ray, what about you?
Ray Kopp: Life-changing also. The only reason I went on to get a PhD was I had convinced myself I wanted to teach, and that's really all I wanted to do, and I needed a PhD to do that. I ended up at Binghamton University. Since I had a lot of teaching experience at that point, and I was not going to be a teaching assistant, they allowed me to be a research assistant, and I ended up after six months working with Kerry. That convinced me that I did not want to be a teacher—that I wanted to be a researcher—and so that, right off the bat, was a bit of a life-changing experience right there.
Then, when I was in the job market in 1977, Kerry had decided to go back to Resources for the Future and offered me an opportunity to join him there and work with him on a variety of what were going to become very fascinating and interesting research topics. I did that, and Kerry eventually left, and I remained—but still again, it was Kerry who changed my whole career path from wanting to be a teacher, which I still enjoy doing. But once I became enamored to research, that really was the end of that particular teaching path.
Kristin Hayes: Hmm, okay. Well you both ended up at RFF in the 1970s, it sounds like. Let me just reiterate that RFF was founded in 1952. So, let's talk about those first few decades. I don't want to ask you guys to reflect too much on a time before you were even there, but nonetheless, I am really curious what issues RFF worked on in those first few decades. What was really hot back in the day? Kerry, maybe I can turn that question to you.
Kerry Smith: Okay. Well, RFF was initiated after World War II because there was concern that the United States might be running out of raw materials and natural resources as a result of meeting the needs of the war effort. So, the first major effort—and indeed, a large reason for starting RFF—was to address that question, and the result of that project was a series of books, first, assembling the data necessary to address the question, and secondly, a very innovative and influential book by Harold Barnett and Chandler Morse called Scarcity and Growth. It was that book which addressed the question decisively and suggested, no, we were not running out of natural resources, but then, in an interesting closing chapter, said there was a nagging anxiety, and that nagging anxiety has become the focus of RFF that changed environmental economics. It was basically the components of the environment that did not exchange through markets, and they anticipated it all.
From there, at the time I joined RFF in 1971, it had already established a foothold in changing benefit-cost analysis—in developing models associated with integrating economic descriptions of activities that allowed the estimation of residuals and linking them to ecosystems. That was Allen Kneese's work. The benefit-cost analysis was John Krutilla's.
Lastly, we can't ignore the major contribution that RFF had in synthesizing through Myrick Freeman's work—all that we knew about how to measure willingness to pay and willingness to accept the major benefit concepts that were developed in economics, and not well-understood until Rick and RFF took the lead in developing them.
Kristin Hayes: Fascinating. Certainly, willingness to pay is a concept that I hear a lot about even now from Alan Krupnick and others at RFF, so some of these early concepts have obviously continued to percolate through the work that happens today.
Ray, I wanted to ask you in particular, because of course I've worked with you on climate change over the years: When did climate start to become part of the dialogue? Would you consider that RFF was kind of an early adopter in terms of climate research, as well? Or is that something where we were in the fold, but not necessarily as pioneering as Kerry was just describing?
Ray Kopp: Good question. Let's talk about the greenhouse effect, which is putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and raising the temperature of the Earth's surface. It was well known within RFF for a long time. (And Kerry can kind of go back even further.) But people realized that.
As a matter of fact, I think one of the first conferences I ever attended at RFF was around a series of economists who were looking at the ability to measure the Earth's temperature change due to the greenhouse effect, and that's going back to 1977. So, there was cognizance of the potential problem. There weren't any policies out there being talked about in any kind of really meaningful way, but there was a recognition of the scientific problem. That goes back quite a ways, but where I think the turning point is—for RFF to become really engaged in the policy design, analysis of policy instruments, and really doing a lot of analysis—began in 1996 with Mike Toman.
Mike Toman developed four or five pages, which laid out a Climate Economics and Policy Program. What that did is that brought together under one roof, in some sense, several disparate pieces of research and analysis that were ongoing at RFF. That was quickly followed (which I think is really important from a communications perspective) by the establishment of something called Weathervane.
Weathervane I think was the first digital platform out there, long before there were blogs. It looked like a blog, and it discussed climate policy to a very broad audience. That was around for many years—four or five years or so. And we brought people in from the outside to open discussion formats on that in different platforms, and it was quite influential.
But I trace everything back to Mike, really, in 1996, for pulling everything together. And then, of course, everything really accelerated with the Kyoto Protocol being adopted in Kyoto in 1997.
Kristin Hayes: And, of course, Mike has come back to RFF, as well, after many years away. I feel like we often have a running joke that RFF is a bit like the Hotel California: you can come, but you can't always leave. But it's great how many people have continued to stay a part of the RFF family.
And Kerry, I don't know if there's anything Ray mentioned that you might have even more insight into for those early climate discussions. Anything you'd want to add?
Kerry Smith: Well, I think not necessarily in the context of climate, but the key thing that came out of Allen Kneese's program was a recognition that economists got the modeling of production wrong. They focused on the use of capital and labor, and not necessarily energy and materials. The reason that his program was so pathbreaking was because it recognized that, until you included energy and materials, you didn't recognize that there were things left over after you produced—even services, you had to have energy to produce those services. So the question was, Where did the leftovers go? And that began the accounting system that led to recognizing CO₂, and the places where all other residuals went, and in turn what they did to the atmosphere, the rivers, the lakes, and the air above us.
Kristin Hayes: Very interesting. All right, I'm going to shift gears somewhat dramatically. I've asked Ray this question before, but it was too irresistible to ask when I have two great voices on this podcast. So, instead of this subject matter, I want to talk about the process of research for just a second and ask you both to share a little bit about what the research process looked like pre-Internet, and I'm going to go ahead and say even pre-computer or pre–widely available computer, because I find that fascinating.
You know, so much of what we do now at RFF is of course computer-based, Internet-based research, journals are accessible online, and I certainly find it fascinating to think about what that process looked like before that, and I'd be very curious to hear some of your insights on that.
So, Kerry, let me start with you again, and then I'll turn to Ray.
Kerry Smith: Okay, there's one advantage of being old: you experience things and watch them change over a long period of time. In my first econometrics class as an undergraduate, that is the application of statistics to economic problems. We didn't have access to a computer. So, running a statistical model called a regression involved sitting in front of a Marchant electrical calculator for 28 to 36 hours to get a two-independent-variable model. Later, when I went to Resources for the Future, we didn't have easy access to mainframe computers. (This is before Ray came.) So what we would do is carry boxes of IBM cards, usually between 2 and 3,000 of them, down to the GW computer room every other day—
Kristin Hayes: Wow.
Kerry Smith: —and hand them over carefully to the operators, hoping that, since we didn't drop them on the trek down, they didn't drop them as they were entering into the machine. And then wait a day or so to get the results back.
Kristin Hayes: Wow.
Kerry Smith: It was a different process that required, in effect, more thinking before you actually looked at data. Now, it's so easy to do something. Unfortunately, we're all tempted to do things before we think about them.
Kristin Hayes: Ray, what are either your reflections on that, or your own insights into how it worked in the early decades?
Ray Kopp: I was just thinking about this today when I was working. The process, the research process, and what Kerry's talking about, really is people who are doing empirical work. And I think that's where the change has been most dramatic.
Theorists maybe don't have the same kind of break in their timeline as people who do empirical work. But the whole process back in the day was much slower; it just took so much more time. Literature reviews took forever. You had to go to libraries and pull down [books]. Raw data collections took forever. You had to collect data out of books. You had to transcribe it into sheets. You then had to take those sheets and, as Kerry says, sit down with an IBM key punch and punch it into cards. Then, you had to take the cards to the computer center, and you had to wait for the data to come back and find out that you mistyped something in the card, and you had to do it all over again. But it was just so much slower.
Today, the speed at which you can do all that is, I suppose, stressful, but it's incredible how quickly things move today. The process then was also very labor intensive. I mean, RFF had … Today, we have a lot of labor, but you don't see anybody who would be called a secretary anymore. RFF had lots of them, because there were no word processors. There were IBM electric typewriters, and the idea of “cut and paste” was exactly that. You would type text that you wanted to overlay on something else and paste it over the old text, and then hand that back to the principal investigator who would be editing it again.
This stuff just took forever. The speed in which you do things today, I think, is dramatically different. And as a result, the productivity that you have is incredible. I do take Kerry's point as a good one, though, because if you had to spend a week running one particular regression, you'd be pretty careful about the variables you included in that regression. Whereas today, you do that in 30 seconds, so if you don't like it, you run another one. But that said, the whole process is much quicker today, and to me, it's a little more satisfying than it was back in the day.
Kristin Hayes: I guess I do want to ask, Is there anything that you miss? You know, Ray, you snuck the word “stressful” in there. It all sounds much more efficient and obviously much speedier, but I do wonder, Is there anything that you miss about that earlier research process?
Ray Kopp: Yeah, the fact that you didn't have email.
Kristin Hayes: Oh, okay.
Ray Kopp: There was no email. If somebody wanted to get in contact, they sent you a letter, or they called you on the phone. You know? As a result, your day could move along without being interrupted, and you didn't have the fear that you were missing something. If you didn't get a letter, you didn't get a letter—and that's all there was to it. But that, I think, is something that is long gone, and I do think many of us miss the ability to sit down and think uninterruptedly for a period of time, and that's where creation really takes place—in those particular hours. Right now, if you're not watching the chat on your Teams, or you're listening to your email, or if you’re on Slack or something else, I think that's a little bit overwhelming. And it does add to the pressure, I think, that people feel to be constantly connected. And that did not exist 40 years ago.
Kristin Hayes: Interesting. Kerry, what about you? Anything you miss?
Kerry Smith: Well, I think Ray hit the nail on the head. That time gave you the opportunity to think—both about the problems you were working on and about what you might miss.
The other thing that I think is important and connects me back to Ray: When I had left RFF after the first two-year stint, I went to Binghamton University, which is where Ray and I met. I had the good fortune to acquire a data set that Nobel Laureate Dan McFadden had put together after years of work with students on electric power plants, and were it not for Ray, everything would've been chaos. I mean, he had the organizational skill, the management skill, the clear knowledge of how structures should be organized. I was hopeless at those things, and so it was really important to me to keep him employed continuously with me and by my side, not only because of those skills, but because of his ideas.
Kristin Hayes: Yeah. Ray is probably the most organized person I know. I will also note that Ray has told me several times over the years that one of the best management strategies that he knows of is to hire people to work with you who have complementary skills. It sounds like maybe he learned that from you, Kerry, and you've paid it forward.
Okay. So again, I'm going to shift gears a little bit here, but one of the things that we talk about a lot at RFF these days—I'm going to make it sound like a buzzword, but it's much more than that, actually—but we talk about the way in which we're having impact, right? Not just in the classic sense of research that sits on a shelf or anything like that. We want to have impactful research.
I want to dive a little bit into the concept of impact and maybe how that's looked over the decades that RFF has been in existence. Kerry, I'm going to start with you again. In what areas do you see RFF’s research as having had the most impact over the years, and why? You referenced a few of these at the beginning, but I want to give you a chance to speak to that question more fully.
Kerry Smith: Sure. Thank you, Kristin. What the Environmental Protection Agency does now, in the evaluation of new rules or major changes to rules, called benefit-cost analysis, which I referred to earlier, would not have taken place without Resources for the Future. Resources for the Future codified it, showed how it could be used, and developed all of the key elements.
I mentioned the work that Myrick Freeman did. Another that I didn't mention and is equally important is when economists and epidemiologists were trying to understand the role of local conventional air pollutants, there was not extensive use of statistics. The analysis relied on laboratory experiments. Lester Lave and Eugene Seskin wrote a very influential book and a series of papers (Eugene was at RFF; Lester was at Carnegie Mellon) called Air Pollution and Human Health. If you look at the most influential work on criteria air pollutants, it traces its roots in the dose-response relationships to the pioneering work of Lave and Seskin.
In addition, I'll mention three other things. The first of these, again, traces to John Krutilla. We distinguish two sources of value. We derive value from visiting recreation sites and from using the environment in particular ways. John highlighted the notion that perhaps there are some people, and some dimensions of the environment, that we don't or would not use, but still feel would be important. In my own case, you would never catch me in a wilderness area, ever, but I want them available because my grandsons love that activity. That was called non-use value.
Second in the three that I'm going to talk about was the treatment of uncertainty. Economists had talked about it in some ways, but focused exclusively on insurance. Tony Fisher and Ken Arrow talked about option values and quasi-option values; namely, the notion that it is important to protect things, because we're not sure what will happen—particularly if those changes are irreversible.
Lastly, the third element is the element that I mentioned already, which is paramount in the literature today, but not recognized for a long time by economists. And that's Allen Kneese's argument that we had to integrate economic models within a broader setting that recognized the key role of the environment, and the two classes of models had to learn to work together, taking account of the feedbacks between the two.
Those are the three or four areas where I would say RFF changed the landscape, both for research and for policy analysis, in ways that no other institution has.
Kristin Hayes: Wow. That's fantastic. Ray, let me turn to you to build on that. If you want to reflect on any of the ones that Kerry just shared, or of course I'd love your reflections on what you've seen as most impactful over the years, too.
Ray Kopp: Thanks, Kristin. Almost as the outside observer looking at the products of RFF, you would pick out those as being quite impactful.
But on the inside, I look at this from a different direction. First of all, over the seven decades of RFF’s history, I think we've been impactful every single year. But I'm on the inside looking out, and from the inside looking out, I think what I focus on is, Why is RFF impactful? What is it about the organization that gives rise to this impact year after year after year? And it goes to the unique abilities of the organization to provide value to decisionmakers. That's what our mission is all about, but I think, at the core, it's these abilities. What are the abilities or capacities of the organization to do that?
One, just a deep understanding and expertise in the energy, environment, and natural resource subject areas. I mean, there's within the staff just a deep understanding of both the economics associated with those policies and the policies themselves.
The second has got to be the capacity to conduct detailed empirical investigations of policy questions—to really unravel very complicated policies and, using economics as a paradigm, evaluate the effectiveness of those particular policies.
Perhaps, though, one of the most important aspects that maybe is the most important is that RFF has the capacity to create new knowledge. We can develop new understandings of policy problems, and we can develop entirely new policy solutions, and Kerry had just pointed to many of those that have been developed in the past and continue to be developed. There's very few organizations that have all those components. There's deep understanding, there's ability to empirically investigate problems, and then the ability to create new knowledge and new policy solutions when there's nothing on the shelf that's going to fit. I hope that RFF continues in that vein going forward, but when I look at our impact, I attribute it to those particular characteristics of the organization.
Kristin Hayes: I have to say, I've worked at RFF for a number of years, myself, but I've not been affiliated with the organization as long as either of you. I find it very heartwarming, maybe is the word I'm looking for, how much pride I hear in both of your voices about just about the way that RFF has really helped shape the narrative. I think that does kind of seep through the organization—this sense of legacy and the sense of standing on the shoulders of giants, if you will, and really continuing that research over the years is really motivating. So, thank you for sharing your reflections on that.
Kerry, I'm going to ask you: We're nearing the end of our time here, but I want to ask you one more question, and it's actually about Ray. You've known Ray a very long time, and RFF, of course, has benefited from Ray's insights and his energy and his organizational skills for over 40 years now, so I think this is probably going to embarrass him a lot. I wanted to ask you, Kerry, if you could say just a few words about how you see Ray's legacy.
Kerry Smith: Thank you, Kristin. I'm really pleased to have that opportunity.
There are multiple parts of his legacy; I want to divide it into two components. The first is his research. I saw, from the earliest work he did as a graduate student completing his dissertation, that he transformed the way economists think about the connections between what we might call engineering, or technical definitions of efficiency and economic definitions of efficiency. Now, there were a number of theorists who'd worked on this, and several of them decided they wanted to work with Ray after they read his thesis, so he made a dramatic change in that.
Later, at RFF, he was really the first to recognize that the social costs of environmental regulations have two components: a direct component and an indirect component. The indirect arises through the price system; the direct arises through the costs that firms incur to meet environmental rules.
He demonstrated how these social costs could be measured and actually implemented with another person at RFF, Michael Hazilla (who's no longer with us) exactly how these could be integrated in a general equilibrium model. If we look at EPA's current and most recent report on social costs and their SAGE model, it's a direct offshoot of the Hazilla-Kopp work from 1990. So, the impact is enormous.
On a personal side, as you've noticed from this conversation, Ray always listens before he speaks. So, when he says something, it always reflects deep insights and is something that we all want to listen to.
But perhaps what's most important of all in his legacy is that he leads. But he leads without being first. He doesn't have to be first. I'm sure this essential quality of a great mentor is a part of his legacy at RFF.
Kristin Hayes: Well, thank you, Kerry. I just really wanted to have a few minutes to celebrate Ray's tenure with the organization, and it's no secret to Ray that I'm a huge Ray Kopp fan and—
Kerry Smith: So am I.
Kristin Hayes: Good. Okay. Well, maybe we'll have another podcast episode where we’ll just talk more about the joys of Ray Kopp. But yeah, this podcast episode certainly was always designed to be about RFF's legacy, but also as really a celebration of Ray and the service that he gave to the organization for many years, so thank you for helping me with that piece. Sorry if you're embarrassed over there, Ray. Hope you're okay.
Ray Kopp: I'll survive.
Kristin Hayes: All right. Well, yes, we have come to the end of our time chatting today. I do want to close with Top of the Stack, which I think you are both familiar with. Let me quickly ask you both what you'd want to recommend to our listening audience, either literally or figuratively: what's on the top of your stack?
Kerry, let me start with you, and then I'll turn to Ray.
Kerry Smith: Well, I would recommend John List's new book, called The Voltage Effect, as key reading, both from the lessons that he's identified in the market sector and the opportunities for the rest of us to find those lessons in the nonmarket sector. The basic idea is When do great ideas scale? RFF has learned that, as Ray suggested, in the way in which they work to identify problems and then communicate ways they can be addressed. That's one thing I would suggest is worth taking a look at.
The second on the top of my stack is, What do we do to make sense of big data in the twenty-first century? How can we be more sensible in thinking before we use it, and using it effectively? There's a recent NBER conference volume put out by a classic series in income and wealth that's really worth looking at, and I think a companion effort at RFF on how to learn from nonmarket data would be especially interesting.
Kristin Hayes: Okay. Well, I want to give a particular shout-out: coming up, we're actually going to have a podcast episode on that John List book, so our listeners can both read the book and then hopefully hear a little bit about it directly from the author. Those are great recommendations.
Ray, what about you? what's on the top of your stack?
Ray Kopp: Yeah, well, I endorse Kerry's John List book here, and we should note John List is an RFF university fellow. Let’s be sure we get that plug in.
I'm almost a little worried about recommending this book because, to me, it is quite thought provoking and discomforting—and that's Yuval Harari's Sapiens. It’s an extremely engaging history of the species, I’d say, but also a bit disturbing. We've become aware that sapiens are self-aware decisionmakers separating us from the rest of the natural world. They have the ability to make thoroughly bad decisions and destroy the species—again, separating them from the rest of the natural world. And you're left with a feeling that there's nothing about this particular species’ biology to prevent bad decisions, and we are in a pretty dubious part of the world now. I mean, climate change is one where you can make a lot of bad decisions, but, as we are experiencing in Ukraine, there's lots of bad decisions that sapiens can make. So, it is a bit of a sobering book, but I would recommend it. He's an excellent writer, and it reads exceptionally well. Even if you only care about the history that he provides, it's very entertaining. But it's worrisome. It leaves you a little worried about the species going forward.
Kristin Hayes: All right.
Ray Kopp: I can also list a lot of cookbooks, but—
Kristin Hayes: That's just what I was going to say, Ray. I would say I really thought you were going to recommend a cookbook there at the end!
Ray Kopp: Food Lab: An Engineer's Cookbook is fabulous.
Kristin Hayes: Brilliant. All right. Yes. Good. Well, let's end on that both sobering note and happy note there.
Thank you both, again. This has been a lot of fun. I really always enjoy talking to both of you and also hearing more about the great institution that is RFF, so thank you so much and talk to you again soon.
Ray Kopp: Thank you, Kristin.
Kerry Smith: Thank you, Kristin, very much, for including me.
Kristin Hayes: You've been listening to Resources Radio. Learn how to support Resources for the Future at rff.org/support. If you have a minute, we'd really appreciate you leaving us a rating or a comment on your podcast platform of choice. Also, feel free to send us your suggestions for future episodes.
Resources Radio is a podcast from Resources for the Future (RFF). RFF is an independent, nonprofit research institution in Washington, DC. Our mission is to improve environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement.
The views expressed on this podcast are solely those of the podcast guests and may differ from those of RFF's experts, its officers, or its directors. RFF does not take positions on specific legislative proposals. Resources Radio is produced by Elizabeth Wason, with music by Daniel Raimi. Join us next week for another episode.