setecq asked: Are you familiar with the environmental economist Robert O. Mendelsohn? Do you think that field of study has use, or are externalities abundantly apparent without study?
Mendelsohn is a respected economist at Yale School of Forestry:
The focus of his research has been the valuation of the environment. He has developed methods to value natural ecosystems including coral reefs, old-growth forests, non-timber forest products, ecotourism, and outdoor recreation. He has also developed methods to value pollution including emissions of criteria pollutants (such as particulates and sulfur dioxide) and hazardous waste sites. His most recent work values the impacts of greenhouse gases, including the effects of climate change on agriculture, forests, water resources, energy, and coasts.
To the first part of your question, the field of environmental economics is not only useful, it’s necessary to the functioning of world economies. Industries from Shell Oil to Monsanto to Starbucks etc., depend on economists’ projections for the evaluation of natural resources. So, (put simply) the price of your gas, burger, or coffee depends (in part, not whole!) on environmental economics.
I once toured Copenhagen with a wonderfully eccentric French environmental economist, Jacques le Cacheux, who was an adviser to former French president Chirac. He was working with PERI at UMass to discuss his environmental evaluation methods back in 2009. He also evaluates climate change mitigation policies for governments around the world.
Anyway, the career boards and PhD program sites are filled with enviro-economist jobs. So, yep, plenty useful…
Sorry, I don’t understand the second part of your question.
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- pauliorra said: He basically means is it obvious that the price of certain goods don’t include all the costs. I would say yes, but I am biased as I am a natural resource economist.
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