• Primary Program Policy and Decision Science
  • Research Interests Behavioral modeling, geopolitics, defense and national security studies, human geography, and strategic communication

Biography

Dr. Brian Efird is the program director for Policy and Decision Science. He manages a multidisciplinary, multi-national team of researchers who work on quantitative models of collective decision-making processes (CDMP), geospatial information system applications to energy economics and energy policy, demography and energy, and energy policy studies of countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. Dr. Efird is co-editor-in-chief of a new journal from Springer Scientific called Energy Transitions. He was previously a senior research fellow at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.; a consultant on defense and international security matters in Washington; and a consultant applying quantitative models to support corporate, investment banking, and legal negotiations in New York.

Publications

See all Brian’s publications
  • Book/book chapter
  • Discussion papers
  • Methodology paper
  • Instant Insight
  • KAPSARC journal articles
  • External journal articles
Assessing the impact of political disruptions on crude oil trade

Assessing the impact of political disruptions on crude oil trade

Provides an empirical evaluation of energy trade flows, focusing on crude oil trade among the top 20 crude oil exporters and top 20 crude oil importers. We assess the potential impact of cross-national political disruptions (bilateral and regional) on energy trade between the six producing countries in the GCC and four consuming economies in Northeast Asia. We econometrically measure the impact of political disruptions on total crude oil trade for economies in these two regions to systematically address the question of how much political shocks threaten energy security and the flow of trade. We pay particular attention to how domestic, regional, and international political phenomena and irregular political crises might disrupt energy trade, and under what conditions such disruption might or might not occur. © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016.

January 1, 2016
Can Japanese Nuclear Power Be Restarted Sooner? A Simulation of Alternative Scenarios

Can Japanese Nuclear Power Be Restarted Sooner? A Simulation of Alternative Scenarios

This study assesses whether there are politically plausible paths to more quickly gain support for restarting Japanese nuclear power plants and considers alternative scenarios. It builds on the 2018 KAPSARC discussion paper, “The Policymaking Process to Restart Japanese Nuclear Power,” which detailed a baseline scenario for the political feasibility of restarting Japanese nuclear power plants.

October 27, 2019
Energy Governance in China: The Structures and Processes of Government Decision-Making

Energy Governance in China: The Structures and Processes of Government Decision-Making

This paper describes the current governance structure of China’s energy sector. The interplay between central government, the Communist Party, regional governments and key economic actors within the framework of China’s five-year planning processes are complex and constantly evolving. As such, the structure and processes for energy governance are similarly complex. The oversight and process for governing China’s energy sector will continue to change as the country transitions from an emerging to a mature economy. This paper provides an overview of how key decisions in the energy sector are currently made, implemented and monitored in China as the country is consolidating its policy and decision making processes. The paper’s aim is to provide insights for those outside China who wish to better understand Chinese energy governance, from policymakers, researchers and academics, to diplomats, or corporations wishing to invest in the country.

May 14, 2019
The Policymaking Process to Restart Japanese Nuclear Power Plants

The Policymaking Process to Restart Japanese Nuclear Power Plants

The Japanese government’s decision to continue restarting nuclear power is shaped by a combination of domestic political concerns, energy security challenges, and its ability to meet climate change commitments and targets. Nuclear power plants have started to come back online, but there is still a question regarding the scope and timing for restarting the remaining reactors. In this paper, we apply a model of collective decision-making processes (CDMPs) to assess the political will for restarting nuclear power plants in Japan. We find that: There is growing political will among Japanese stakeholders to restart nuclear reactors for power generation. Over the next several years, the current political trajectory indicates political acceptance of nuclear power among municipal and prefecture political leaders, who are currently the most significant and consequential opponents to nuclear power. Local governments have the ability to block the restart of nuclear power plants. The process of regaining national support for nuclear power in Japan is expected to take several years of domestic political debate. The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) appears to be a credible and effective voice in building political acceptance of restarting nuclear power plants, given enough time. However, it is important that the NRA maintains its role as an unbiased and fact-based entity, to maintain its credibility with opponents to nuclear power. Despite the turbulence in Japanese politics in 2017, the trend of slowly growing political will in favor of nuclear power appears to be largely unchanged.

December 31, 2018
Assessment of the Political Feasibility of Developing a GCC Power Market

Assessment of the Political Feasibility of Developing a GCC Power Market

Countries in the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, commonly known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), established a regional power grid to support member countries’ high voltage networks in 2001 but, to date, the system has remained underutilized. The intended purpose of the grid was to provide backup electricity during emergencies caused by power system outages, especially during the summer, and to share spinning reserves, optimize capital investments in electricity and reduce fuel costs. The grid has been fully operational since 2011 and has satisfied its intended purpose. However, GCC member states have largely failed to take advantage of options associated with the grid to trade electricity. This paper uses the KAPSARC Toolkit for Behavioral Analysis platform, a model of collective decision-making processes developed at KAPSARC, to examine the political feasibility of expanding the utilization of the GCC grid to include trading electricity.

October 4, 2018
The Political Feasibility of Policy Options for the UAE’s Energy Transition

The Political Feasibility of Policy Options for the UAE’s Energy Transition

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has said it wishes to transition toward a less carbon-intensive energy system, both as part of its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and as one of a number of investments in ‘green’ research and development, technology and power generation. However, given the complexity of the UAE political system, which requires consensus among seven relatively sovereign and independent emirates, as well as commercial and financial interests, it is not immediately clear which policy instruments that might drive the UAE energy transition will prove acceptable and politically plausible. Here, we apply the KAPSARC Toolkit for Behavioral Analysis (KTAB) platform, a model of collective decision-making processes (CDMPs), to assess the political will to agree to and to implement an array of different policy alternatives within the current UAE context.

October 10, 2017
Support for a Carbon Tax in China: A Collective Decision-Making Process Simulation Using the KAPSARC Toolkit for Behavioral Analysis

Support for a Carbon Tax in China: A Collective Decision-Making Process Simulation Using the KAPSARC Toolkit for Behavioral Analysis

China, the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, is taking steps to combat the effects of climate change on its environment. The path it takes to mitigate the effects of pollution will have a significant impact on the global carbon reduction agenda. In this study, we focus on the political feasibility of implementing a carbon tax in China within the next five years. We do this using the KAPSARC Toolkit for Behavioral Analysis (KTAB) platform, a model of collective decision-making processes (CDMPs) developed at KAPSARC to assess the expected support in China for, and reactions to, this potential policy choice.

May 1, 2017
Energy Relations and Policy Making in Asia

Energy Relations and Policy Making in Asia

Trade between the economies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and North East Asia (NEA) reached $471 billion in 2013, based almost entirely on oil and gas. The GCC sends 44 percent of its exports to NEA, which depends on the GCC region for a very high proportion of its oil imports. Trade relations are otherwise very limited: the GCC takes only 3 percent of NEA’s exports.

August 8, 2016
Multidimensional Bargaining Using KTAB

Multidimensional Bargaining Using KTAB

This paper (Multidimensional KTAB) is a technical discussion paper designed as a follow on to An Introduction to the KAPSARC Toolkit for Behavioral Analysis using one-dimensional spatial models (Unidimensional KTAB). It extends the original framework of KTAB to explain the analysis described in the recently released KAPSARC discussion paper Reforming the Role of State-Owned Enterprise in China’s Energy Sector: An Analysis of Collective DecisionMaking Processes Using the KAPSARC Toolkit for Behavioral Analysis (Chinese SOE Reform).

December 24, 2015
Reforming the Role of State-Owned Enterprise in China’s Energy Sector: An Analysis of Collective Decision-Making Processes Using the KAPSARC Toolkit for Behavioral Analysis (KTAB)

Reforming the Role of State-Owned Enterprise in China’s Energy Sector: An Analysis of Collective Decision-Making Processes Using the KAPSARC Toolkit for Behavioral Analysis (KTAB)

What are the prospects for reform of the Chinese energy sector? This question is the subject of much debate both inside and outside China. Since coming to power in November 2012, China’s new government has issued a series of statements on reform, clearly an important part of the country’s continuing ‘great revival’. Despite this, some experts have been unconvinced by the pace of economic reform. What reform means for the energy sector is even less clear. There are competing views on how, and to what extent, the energy sector and energy policy will be reformed, but they all share various potential biases resulting from incomplete data and “not knowing what we don’t know”.

July 6, 2015
An Introduction to the KAPSARC Toolkit for Behavioral Analysis (KTAB)

An Introduction to the KAPSARC Toolkit for Behavioral Analysis (KTAB)

The KAPSARC Toolkit for Behavioral Analysis (KTAB) is freely available, state-of-the-art software that has been designed to enable the rigorous and systematic analysis of collective decision-making processes (CDMPs). KTAB is being designed with three types of users in mind. The program code is available directly for computer programmers. Power users will be able to construct their own specific models based on the existing structure, and applied users will be able to access pre-built models through a simple graphical user interface. Collective decision-making processes are those in which a group of individual actors interact to arrive at a single decision. Common examples include the deliberations of corporate boards. These processes have usually been studied in a purely qualitative fashion, but there is a growing body of evidence which suggests that computer models can deliver additional insights. KTAB is being designed to unlock these additional insights for a broader range of analysts, but its release is also hoped to extend the awareness of computer models as a route to the investigation of CDMPs, and to prompt a wider acceptance and uptake of a quantitative approach to such analyses.

May 7, 2015
The KAPSARC Energy Policy Database: Introducing a Quantified Library of China’s Energy Policies

The KAPSARC Energy Policy Database: Introducing a Quantified Library of China’s Energy Policies

Government policy is a critical factor in the understanding of energy markets. Governments create constraints and incentives that drive behavior through policy. In turn, these behaviors have fundamental impacts on the functioning of markets. Despite the critical role of policy, it is rarely approached systematically from a research perspective. One of the first and most basic steps in a systematic approach is gaining a precise understanding of what policies exist, their intended outcomes, their geographical extent, duration, and expected evolution. A systematic understanding of policy, with this level of detail, would enable the research community to answer a variety of questions that, for now, are either over-simplified or ignored. Policy, on its surface, is also a very unstructured and qualitative undertaking. There may be quantitative components, but policies are usually framed in sentences requiring interpretation of their meaning. This makes it difficult to incorporate an understanding of policy into quantitative approaches, other than by making assumptions as to the effect of policy in framing a quantitative model. The KAPSARC Energy Policy Database (KEPD) is intended to address these two energy policy research limitations. The methodology described in this paper could be applied to any set of energy policies, though this becomes a large task very quickly.

January 6, 2015
Toward the Integration of Policymaking Models and Economic Models

Toward the Integration of Policymaking Models and Economic Models

The traditional economic approach to policy analysis is to utilize tools and methods developed within the field of economics and study the economic impact of one or more policies solely from an economic perspective. As a consequence, the “policies” are usually formulated and evaluated only by an assessment of the pure economic optimality of expected outcomes. Moreover, economic models typically treat policy choices as exogenously specified. Once policies are selected according to some exogenous process, then scenario analysis can be performed to simulate the economic impact of those policies.

May 31, 2017
Iran Sanctions: Implications for the Oil Market

Iran Sanctions: Implications for the Oil Market

United States (U.S.) Iran energy sanction waivers expired May 2, 2019. The waivers permitted eight economies (China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey) to temporarily continue buying oil from Iran. Based on KAPSARC modeling of the political decision-making process, this Instant Insight – the first such KAPSARC publication – finds that the international community, and indeed some of the waiver economies, will at best partially comply with reinstated sanctions. China, India and Turkey are particularly unlikely to comply with U.S. sanctions and will maintain much of their current oil trade with Iran, the modeling shows. The paper also simulates the likely impact on the global oil price of ending the waivers in four scenarios which show: i) no oil price rise if the sanctions don’t work at all, ii) an oil price rise of up to 12% by Q2 2020 if Iranian oil exports drop by an average 42%, iii) a 30%-plus price increase if the sanctions are 100% effective, and iv) no significant price change if Saudi Arabia offsets reduced Iranian crude oil exports by increasing its output and exports. The analysis in the paper is based on two in-house models: the KAPSARC Toolkit for Behavioral Analysis (KTAB) and the KAPSARC Global Energy Macroeconometric Model (KGEMM).

May 9, 2019
Preface

Preface

Energy Transitions

2017
Using DataCards for Socio-Cultural Data Discovery and Sharing

Using DataCards for Socio-Cultural Data Discovery and Sharing

Phalanx

2012
Competition Among the Giants: Implications for Regional Integration in Europe, 2010-2050

Competition Among the Giants: Implications for Regional Integration in Europe, 2010-2050

International Studies Review

2006
Senturion: A Predictive Simulation Model

Senturion: A Predictive Simulation Model

National Defense University Center for Technology and National Secuity Policy

2006
Integrating Theory and Policy: Global Implications of the War in Iraq

Integrating Theory and Policy: Global Implications of the War in Iraq

International Studies Review

2004
The Political Future of Afghanistan and its Implications for US Policy

The Political Future of Afghanistan and its Implications for US Policy

Conflict Management and Peace Science

2003
From War to Integration: Generalizing the Dynamic of Power Transitions

From War to Integration: Generalizing the Dynamic of Power Transitions

International Interactions

2003
Structural Conditions and the Propensity for Regional Integration

Structural Conditions and the Propensity for Regional Integration

European Union Politics

2002
“Political Power Transitions and Chinese Economic Policy,” in Baizhu Chen, Kim Dietrich, and Yi Feng, eds., Financial Market Reform in China: Progress, Problems, and Prospects

“Political Power Transitions and Chinese Economic Policy,” in Baizhu Chen, Kim Dietrich, and Yi Feng, eds., Financial Market Reform in China: Progress, Problems, and Prospects

Boulder, CO: Westview Press

2000
Power Transitions: Strategies for the 21st Century

Power Transitions: Strategies for the 21st Century

2000
Negotiating Peace in Kosovo

Negotiating Peace in Kosovo

International Interactions

2000

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