Morris Coats

Management, Marketing and Business Administration

Nicholls State University

R. Morris Coats, Professor of Economics at Nicholls State University, received his Ph.D. in Economics from Virginia Tech University in 1983, working in the interdisciplinary area of public choice, applying economic reasoning to political phenomena.  In his dissertation, he investigated the effect of the secret ballot on voter turnout in British Parliamentary Elections.   He has published 8 articles on electoral and legislative choice in journals such as from Public Choice, Public Finance Review, Kyklos, Southern Economic Journal, the Journal of Public Economics and Legislative Studies Quarterly.   He has published 4 articles dealing with sustainability, 3 of which were on the economics of the rise and collapse of Easter Island, with special attention to the roles of prices and property rights regimes.  He has also done work at preserving the wealth from mineral taxation through the use of permanent funds.   Besides his usual introductory courses, he also teaches public sector economics, health care economics and environmental economics. 

Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects


Exploring Easter Island Economics with Excel part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
Students learn far more from doing than from viewing. By seeing relationships that they have developed themselves, by diagraming those relationships themselves, students learn far more than merely reading over what someone else has done. It is argued that especially for the dynamic problems encountered in environmental and resource economics, Excel has a comparative advantage as a learning aid. We develop a simple, flexible Excel assignment to illustrate the Brander and Taylor (1998) model of the Easter Island economy. Brander and Taylor argue that on Easter Island a crucial natural resource, the island's palm forest, was an open-access (res nullius) resource, leading to over harvesting and eventual societal collapse. Brander and Taylor's simple model showing the interaction of human population with a renewable resource, a forest, mimics what is known about the human population and forest from archaeological evidence. The open access institutional protection of renewable resources is illustrated by a simple diagram of population and resource stock over centuries, a model much like ordinary predator-prey models in biology. Variations on the basic Brander and Taylor model, such as changes in propoerty rights institutions and/or changes in technology, based on published work in the literature, can be explored and compared to the original Brander and Taylor results of boom and eventual collapse. Brander, J.A. and M.S. Taylor (1998). The simple economics of Easter Island: A RicardoMalthus model of renewable resource use. American Economic Review


One economist's approach to interdisciplinary teaching and exploration of sustainability part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Essays
Morris Coats, Management, Marketing and Business Administration, Nicholls State University"The Theory of Economics does not furnish a body of settled conclusions immediately applicable to policy. It is a ...

Events and Communities

InTeGrate Sustainability Courses Workshop July 2012