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I graduated from Duke University in 2017 with a PhD in Environmental and Resource Economics. My supervisory committee was Alexander Pfaff, Brian Murray, Elizabeth Shapiro, Subhrendu Pattanayak and Ashwini Chhatre.
My research focuses on environmental, agricultural and natural resource policy in lower income countries. I work to improve our understanding of the relationships between poverty, agriculture and land use change such as deforestation, and our understanding of the institutions and incentives which mediate these relationships. In doing so I aim to inform policies which improve environmental outcomes – such as biodiversity conservation and water quality – while promoting economic development.
I also work on the design and evaluation of market-based instruments for improved environmental decision-making in other policy domains, such as in fisheries management and water management.
Questions that I’m trying to answer right now include:
- Are there conditions in which new road development could help prevent deforestation?
- Can we design better financial incentives to encourage communities to work together for forest conservation?
- Can markets for groundwater ease the transition towards sustainable irrigation?
- Does quota-based fisheries management end ‘the race to fish’?
- What contribution can better fisheries management make to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
Although the ideas and philosophies underlying environmental and resource economics are fascinating in themselves, I try to focus on those ideas which I believe have the best potential for improving environments or human welfare.
I completed an M.Sc (Agricultural and Resource Economics) at the University of Alberta, Canada, and a B.A (Economics) and B.Sc (Ecology, Environmental Geosciences) from the University of Adelaide, Australia.
I worked for 5 years, part and then full time, at the Policy and Economic Research Unit of the CSIRO (Australia’s National Research Agency), on land use, water and climate change topics. I subsequently taught undergraduate natural resource economics, and worked on projects for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce.
I have fieldwork and research experience in Tanzania (forest conservation program design), Mexico (community forest management), India (roads and forest transitions), West Africa (water-related poverty), the Solomon Islands (social and environmental impacts of the tourism industry) and Southern Australia (land use change and water management).