Research Overview

My work is empirical, with a microeconomic foundation and often an interdisciplinary influence (ideas from geography, psychology, and political science commonly feature, for instance). By theme, my projects focus on forests, fisheries, and water.

A cross-cutting theme common to most (although not all) of my work is the economics of development. There are at least three reasons why I believe environment and resource issues are relevant in lower income settings:

  • People who suffer extreme poverty are often highly reliant on natural resources, particularly in rural areas, and disproportionately vulnerable to resource depletion and ecosystem services failure;
  • These people often bear a disproportionate share of the costs associated with protecting globally important environmental assets, such as tropical forests, when use or access is restricted without compensation;
  • Rapid economic change in many low and middle income countries makes conflict between environmental and social goals particularly striking. Natural resources represent key inputs into sectors of comparative advantage for these countries, yet rapid change places pressure on these same resources and their dependents.

Essentially, economics is about trade-offs and choices, including trade-offs and choices regarding environmental protection and resource use. These trade-offs are most consequential for welfare in lower income settings.

In contrast, my work on fisheries catch-shares and water markets is situated in developed economy contexts (US, Australia). This reflects these mechanisms’ reliance on strong, formalized property rights. And, naturally, the availability of data for me as a researcher.

Click the links in the menu bar (or below) for descriptions of ongoing and past research by theme. These pages contain downloadable full-text PDF of articles.