Blake Shaffer is an assistant professor in the department of economics and school of public policy at the University of Calgary. His work focusses on electricity markets, climate policy and energy transitions. He uses empirical methods to evaluate policy effectiveness and better understand consumer and firm behaviour.

Prior to returning to academia, Shaffer had a 15 year career in energy trading, specializing in electricity, natural gas and emissions markets. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Calgary, Master of Philosophy in economics from the University of Cambridge and a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from Queen’s University. He has recently held visiting scholar and Fulbright postdoctoral scholar positions at the Toulouse School of Economics and Stanford University.

His recent research has been published in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, Canadian Journal of Economics and the Energy Journal. His popular writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, Postmedia, CBC, and other media outlets. Shaffer has also served as policy advisor for the governments of Alberta, British Columbia and Canada on various energy and environmental policy matters.


  • Electricity markets
  • Climate policy
  • Energy transitions


  • PhD in Economics, 2018

    University of Calgary

  • MPhil in Economics, 2003

    Cambridge University

  • BSc (Honours) in Environmental Sciences, 2000

    Queen's University

Journal Articles

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Policy Blogs

Recent Posts

Canada’s aging population

Recently released data from Statistics Canada allows us to explore demographic trends in the age make-up of the Canadian population. The trend is clear: Canada is getting old. In this chart-blog, we will take a look at population by age group – both across regions and over time – and how median age has evolved.

Trucks! Trucks! Trucks!

Quick post to show how easy it is to do quick data exploration using R. This post walks us through making a (nice!) chart of new vehicle sales in Canada, breaking it down by vehicle type and region.

Making animated charts with gganimate

What’s better than making charts? Making them animated, of course! While animation isn’t always (ok, rarely) necessary, it can help tell a story static charts can’t. Recently there has been a lot of discussion in Canada related to equalization.

New Statscan data on victims of violent crime in Canada

Statistics Canada recently released new data on victims of violent crime across Canada from 2009 to 2017. In this post, I explore trends in this data by region, age and gender.

Gasoline demand: BC and the Rest of Canada

This post looks at gasoline demand across the Canadian provinces and territories. It was prompted by this tweet by @sjmuir, noting that gasoline demand per capita in BC is unchanged since 2008, the year of implementation of the BC carbon tax.



Assistant Professor

University of Calgary

Jan 2020 – Present Calgary, Alberta

Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar

Stanford University

Jan 2019 – Aug 2019 Stanford, California

Visiting Scholar

Toulouse School of Economics

Sep 2018 – Dec 2018 Toulouse, France

Policy Advisor (occasional)

Governments of Alberta, British Columbia and Canada

Jan 2016 – Present

Director of Western Trading and Senior Trader


Oct 2010 – Jul 2014 Calgary, Alberta

Senior Power Trader

Barclays Capital and Lehman Brothers

Jun 2006 – Sep 2010 New York, NY

Manager of Analytics and Power Trader

Powerex Corporation (BC Hydro)

May 1999 – May 2006 Vancouver, BC