I saw some economists from consulting firms present papers about carbon mitigation at a recent conference. My impressions:
1) The biggest difference between private-sector economists and academics: the private people have prettier powerpoint slides.
2) How to build rapport with academics, a direct quote: “I apologize if these slides seem like they were made for very stupid people… they were after all made for our clients.”
3) I expected that private-sector people would do applied work using econometrics. Their work was indeed applied and used real data, but relied on macro models rather than econometrics. It turns out that private companies want to know what might happen in the actual U.S. economy and so a toy model of the U.S. economy is a good thing to have.
4) As to the actual subject matter, the most interesting part to me was the prediction that a reasonably high carbon tax of $50/ton would actually affect the transportation sector very little. It turns out that power generation would be affected the most.