Economics Workshop

November 3-4, 2006

Economics and the Environment

Bren School hosts major conference on environmental and natural-resource economics


Santa Barbara, CA — More than 90 economics professors, professionals, and PhD students from around the nation convened at the Bren School November 3 and 4 for the 9th Occasional California Workshop on Environmental and Natural Resource Economics.

“This is the largest and oldest regional workshop of its kind in the nation,” said Bren professor Charlie Kolstad. “It started with 20 participants in 1993 and now has more than one hundred and has spawned similar conferences around the country. It is intellectually stimulating and also gives our students a chance to showcase their abilities before an important group of scholars from around the West.”

Kolstad worked with Bren faculty colleagues Christopher Costello and Matthew Kotchen, and Ph.D. student Laura Grant to organize the event, which was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and with support from the Environmental Economics Group at the Bren School.

The format had authors presenting long and short papers, then answering questions afterward. The presentations fell into several broad subject areas: Markets and Pollution, Spatial Dimensions of Resource Use, Economics of Climate Change, Environmental Policy, Institutions and Political Economy, Households and Environmental Policy, and Pollution Policy. The program also included a panel discussion titled “The Future of Environmental Economics.”

Original research presented within those categories comprised a broad range of environmental and resource economics topics, from the spatial dimensions of water management in agriculture to how gas prices affect traffic speeding and the health impacts of climate change. The 25 presenters were chosen from more than 80 submissions submitted in a competitive peer-review selection process. UCSB PhD students Nick Burger, Dan Kaffine, John Lynham, Allison Huang, and Nick Parker all presented original papers

“It felt like a great opportunity to engage with people at multiple levels of research,” says Laura Grant, who also designed the website for the event. “The bar was set really high by students and junior and senior faculty. I think it would have been hard for an outsider to tell which presenters were students and which were faculty.”

The keynote speaker was Jay Shogren, professor of natural resource conservation & management at the University of Wyoming, who challenged participants to pursue research that proposes alternative hypotheses to those of classical models and provoked questions about the type of research that "makes a difference."  

The 10th Occasional Workshop will be held in 2008. For a complete program of the 2006 conference, including a list of speakers and their topics, with links to their papers, go to