At the time of the California energy supply crisis of 2001, a number of Western states were net exporters of electricity. They realized the Golden State would need much more electricity than it could supply itself. As a result, "a whole bunch of new power plants and extensions of old power plants were constructed elsewhere in Western states," says research economist Dawn McLaren of the W. P. Carey School of Business. "Everybody was planning to construct a power plant." But the new plants were built to utilize generators fired by then-cheap natural gas. Today, thanks to the ravages of hurricanes Rita and Katrina and other factors, the spiraling cost of natural gas has created a whole new set of energy worries for consumers in the West.

When Thomas Donohue scans the American health-care landscape, he sees an opportunity. Despite the critics, regardless of the estimated 45 million in the nation without health-care coverage, no matter the annual double-digit cost increases, Donohue believes that — with hard work and some common business sense — a broad-based coalition can put health care on the path to positive change. We should no longer spend time worrying about what government is going to do about health care, says Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in a recent address before the Transforming American Healthcare National Symposium sponsored by the W. P. Carey School of Business. "It is time for us to decide that there are lots of things we can do as institutions, as businesses, as universities, as communities, that will improve the system."

The allure of a star is nearly irresistible, and mutual fund investors are not immune. Investors are drawn to mutual fund families that boast a stellar performer, and the less luminous funds in the family benefit from a spillover effect resulting from their proximity to the headliner. This benefits fund managers, who are compensated based on assets under management, but the presence of a star in the portfolio does not necessarily mean that all of the funds in the family will do well for investors. Research by a W. P. Carey School of Business finance professor concludes that an investing strategy that consists simply of hitching onto stars is naive.

Tax amnesties, which have been offered in 35 states and the District of Columbia since the 1980s, are enjoying a wave of popularity. Data from the Federation of Tax Administrators show that since 2000, states have offered 35 tax amnesty programs. Under these programs, errant taxpayers face no penalty, no prosecution and, sometimes, no interest on delinquent taxes they pay. The state, on the other hand, gets its money and, possibly, some new taxpayers on the rolls. This may sound like a winning proposition for all, but some researchers at the W. P. Carey School of Business question the value versus the cost. Tax amnesty programs don't come without a price tag, they say mdash; and the downside of these deals actually may outweigh the minimal new revenue that amnesties usually bring in.

Since 1980, the proportion of overweight U.S. children ages 6 to 11 has more than doubled, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Childhood obesity doesn't stop at our nation's borders; it's a global trend. The usual suspects ­— poor eating habits, lack of exercise, parental obesity, genetics, and even demographics all play a role — but one controversial "x-factor" is emerging as a primary catalyst for the explosive growth of overweight children: television food advertising. Numerous studies at the W. P. Carey School of Business and around the world have found a link between the number of TV commercials children watch and the amount and type of food children consume.