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This course examines the choices and constraints regarding sources and uses of energy by households, firms, and governments through a number of frameworks to describe and explain behavior at various levels of aggregation. Examples include a wide range of countries, scope, settings, and analytical approaches.

This course is one of many OCW Energy Courses, and it is a core subject in MIT's undergraduate Energy Studies Minor. This Institute-wide program complements the deep expertise obtained in any major with a broad understanding of the interlinked realms of science, technology, and social sciences as they relate to energy and associated environmental challenges.

25 hours of lectures.

21 lectures.



Richard Schmalensee is the Howard W. Johnson Professor of Economics and Management, Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Co-Director of the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.  He served as the John C Head III Dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management from 1998 through 2007.  He was as a Member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers from 1989 through 1991.

Professor Schmalensee is the author or co-author of 11 books and more than 120 published articles, and he is co-editor of volumes 1 and 2 of the Handbook of Industrial Organization. His research has centered on industrial organization economics and its application to managerial and public policy issues, with particular emphasis on antitrust, regulatory, energy, and environmental policies.   

Professor Schmalensee is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research.  He has served as a member of the National Commission on Energy Policy and of the Executive Committee of the American Economic Association and as a director of the International Securities Exchange and other corporations.  He is currently a director of the International Data Group and of Resources for the Future, a member of the National Climate Assessment’s Development and Advisory Committee, Chairman of the editorial board of Competition Policy International, and an Overseer of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Creative Commons License
Energy Decisions, Markets, and Policies by Prof. Richard Schmalensee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at

Course content

  • This Course and The U.S. Energy System

  • Comparative Energy Systems

  • U.S. Energy Problems

  • The Market and The State

  • Path Dependence in Energy Systems

  • Climate Science and Policy

  • Economics of Energy Demand

  • Energy Use by Individuals and Households

  • Normative Frameworks for Business Decisions

  • Business Decisions in Reality: CHP at Hexion

  • Organizational Decision-Making: Biodiesel at MIT

  • Developing Profitable Strategies

  • Innovation and Energy Business Models

  • Non-Renewable Energy Resources

  • Shale: Opportunities & Challenges

  • (Yesterday’s &) Today's Electric Power System

  • Tomorrow’s Electric Power System

  • Making Public Policy

  • Social Movements

  • U.S. Environment Policy

  • Economic Development & Green Growth

  • Recitations

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