I am planning on approaching some professors at UC Berkeley about research positions. I think I might want to try to sample different projects so that I can get more experience.
I think I am most interested in environmental finance, technology policy, and wealth inequality.
One thing I've been interested in for a while is the impact of cash flow constraints on environmental resource use in private industry. I think that we could use data from the 2008 financial crisis and look at changes in resource use. There has been a lot of focus on the impact on labor (unemployment) but not labor, energy, and resource use together. I am not sure what results I am expecting. We know that resource use went down, but the question would be whether all the decrease was due to lack of demand, lack of cash flow, relative surplus of labor, or shift in technological development.
Some more conventional lines of research in environmental finance would be evaluating asset and stock pricing according to environmental impacts, defining new financial instruments to fund sustainable business, and evaluating the impact of different accounting practices on environmental asset prices.
The kind of business I am most interested in financing are solar and wind power manufacturing, transportation projects, energy efficient appliance manufacturing, and building projects.