Environmental and Resource Economics

Research in this area spans the broad field of environmental and natural resource economics, focusing on current policy challenges, and understanding the cost and impact of protecting some of our most valuable global assets.

In a time of increased understanding of the connections and tradeoffs between environment and development, we work on policy topics including energy markets, climate policy, and the environmental impacts of trade. Our faculty also work on non-market valuation, understanding how people use and value resources, and informing policies designed to protect them. Research also includes environmental justice issues, institutions and property rights, land trusts, conservation easements, and fisheries.

We are proud that two of the major journals in the field, the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists and Land Economics, are edited by AAE faculty.

Environmental and Resource Economics News

Do last name initials affect college major choices?

June 5, 2024

Guanming Shi examined if and how seemingly small experiences during our K-12 education shape the decisions we make at the transition from high school to college.

Do border carbon adjustments help reduce global emissions?

May 28, 2024

The EU is proposing carbon tariffs for certain imported goods. But Thomas Rutherford questions their ability to become a cost-effective tool for reducing global emissions.

How does land ownership affect wind farm installations?

February 28, 2024

Dominic Parker studied the link between rural landholdings and wind farms—and what it might mean for future wind energy development.

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Environmental and Resource Economics Courses

AAE 244: The Environment and the Global Economy The "economic way of thinking" about global and regional environmental issues. Topics include climate change, biodiversity preservation, ocean fisheries, environmental impacts of international trade, poverty and the environment, and sustainability.

AAE 246: Climate Change Economics and Policy Climate change and the role of applied economics in related policy analysis and research. Economics of mitigation, adaptation and geo-engineering; integrated assessment; environmental implications of energy use; climate change impacts on land use. Use of economic analysis and modeling for public policy design.

AAE 343: Environmental Economics Microeconomic principles underlying the use of natural resources such as air, water, forests, fisheries, minerals and energy. These principles are applied in the examination of pollution control, preservation vs. development, deforestation, and other environmental issues.

AAE 531: Natural Resource Economics Economic concepts and tools relating to management and use of natural resources, including pricing principles, cost-benefit analysis, equity, externalities, economic rent, renewable and nonrenewable resources, and resource policy issues

AAE 643: Foundations of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics Survey of historical topics and contemporary research questions in environmental and resource economics. Focus areas include foundational models of human/environment interaction, definition and evaluation of the suite of environmental policy instruments, measuring environmental costs and benefits, and examining natural resource use.

AAE 652: Decision Methods for Natural Resource Managers Applications of quantitative methods, including optimization and simulation, to the management of natural resources, especially forests.

AAE 671: Energy Economics The method, application, and limitations of traditional economic approaches to the study of energy problems. Topics include microeconomic foundations of energy demand and supply; optimal pricing and allocation of energy resources; energy market structure, conduct, and performance; macro linkages of energy and the economy; and the economics of regulatory and other public policy approaches to the social control of energy.

AAE 760: Frontiers in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics 1 Economic tools and principles pertaining to the optimal management of natural resources. Theoretical models characterize efficient resource use and predict management decisions under different institutional settings. Empirical applications relate to public and private management of forests, fish, wildlife, minerals, and energy resources. Examples highlight the importance of discount rates, property rights, and government policies.

AAE 881: Benefit-Cost Analysis This course will present the welfare economics underpinnings for evaluating the social benefits and costs of government activities. Issues such as uncertainty, the social discount rate, and welfare weights will be discussed; case studies from the environmental, social policy, and agricultural areas will be studied.

Environmental and Resource Economics Faculty

Corbett Grainger



(608) 262-3651

412 Taylor hall

Jeff Hadachek

Assistant Professor


(608) 262-2696

329 Taylor Hall

Rhiannon Jerch

Assistant Professor


(608) 262-1441

402 Taylor Hall

Sarah Johnston

Assistant Professor


(608) 262-9493

416 Taylor Hall

Dominic Parker



(608) 262-8916

413 Taylor Hall

Daniel Phaneuf

Henry C. Taylor Professor


405 Taylor Hall

Jennifer Raynor

AAE Faculty Affiliate


(608) 515-8220

A231 Russell Laboratories

Thomas Rutherford



(608) 316-4362

202 Taylor Hall
4243B Wisconsin Institute of Discovery

Guanming Shi

Renk Agribusiness Chair, Professor and Department Chair


(608) 262-8966

433 Taylor Hall

Christopher Timmins

AAE Affiliate Faculty


(919) 357-0473

4291 Grainger Hall

Jing Yi

Faculty Associate


(608) 262-4718

218 Taylor Hall