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Robert N. Stavins

Professor Robert Stavins '80
Robert Stavins '80

Robert N. Stavins ’80
Full visit: October 28-November 1, 2024

  • A.J. Meyer Professor of Energy & Economic Development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • Director of Harvard Environmental Economics Program
  • Co-Chair of the Harvard Business School-John F. Kennedy School Joint Degrees Program
  • ADW-PAL term: 2023-29
  • Subject Area: Social Sciences
  • Faculty host: C.Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell (Associate Professor; Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management; Chair, Charles H. Dyson School Awards Committee)
  • Faculty co-host: Bradley J. Rickard (Professor, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management)

Robert N. Stavins is the A. J. Meyer Professor of Energy & Economic Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, Director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, Director of Graduate Studies for the Doctoral Program in Public Policy and the Doctoral Program in Political Economy and Government, Co‑Chair of the Harvard Business School‑Kennedy School Joint Degree Programs, and Director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements.  He is a University Fellow of Resources for the Future, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, an Associate Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (London, UK), a Member and Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Resources for the Future; and a Member of:  the Board of Academic Advisors of the AEI‑Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies, the Editorial Boards of Resource and Energy Economics, Climate Change Economics, Environmental Economics Abstracts, B.E. Journals of Economic Analysis & Policy, Economic Issues, and Environmental Economics and Policy Studies.  He is also a Vice-President of the American Association of Wine Economists, co-editor of the Journal of Wine Economics, and is the Chair of the Expert Advisory Board of the Harvard Alumni Alliance for the Environment.

He was elected a Fellow of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in 2009, was named the 2016 recipient of the Edmund G. Pat Brown Award, and in 2023, he was elected to a six-year term as Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large, Cornell University.  He was formerly a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, the Editorial Board of Land Economics, The Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, the Board of Directors of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, a member and Chairman of the Environmental Economics Advisory Committee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Science Advisory Board, a member of the Executive Board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Science Advisory Board, the Editor of the Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, a member of the Executive Committee of the Harvard University Center for the Environment, a Lead Author of the Second and Third Assessment Reports and a Coordinating Leading Author of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and a contributing editor of Environment.  He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Northwestern University, an M.S. in agricultural economics from Cornell, and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard.

Professor Stavins’ research has focused on diverse areas of environmental economics and policy, including examinations of:  market‑based policy instruments; regulatory impact analysis; innovation and diffusion of pollution‑control technologies; environmental benefit valuation; policy instrument choice under uncertainty; competitiveness effects of regulation; depletion of forested wetlands; political economy of policy instrument choice; and costs of carbon sequestration.  His research has appeared in the American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Economic Literature, Science, Nature, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Ecology Law Quarterly, Journal of Regulatory Economics, Journal of Urban Economics, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Resource and Energy Economics, The Energy Journal, Energy Policy, Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, Explorations in Economic History, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, other scholarly and popular periodicals, and several books.  In 2017, he received the Publication of Enduring Quality Award from the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, together with Richard Newell and Adam Jaffe for their 1999 article, “The Induced Innovation Hypothesis and Energy-Saving Technological Change,” published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics.

He is the co-editor of Post-Kyoto International Climate Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2009), Architectures for Agreement: Addressing Global Climate Change in the Post-Kyoto World (Cambridge University Press, 2007), editor of the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh editions of Economics of the Environment (W. W. Norton, 2000, 2005, 2012; Edward Elgar, 2019), co‑editor of Environmental Protection and the Social Responsibility of Firms (Resources for the Future, 2005), editor of The Political Economy of Environmental Regulation (Edward Elgar, 2004), co‑editor of the second edition of Public Policies for Environmental Protection (Resources for the Future, 2000), and the author of Environmental Economics and Public Policy: Selected Papers of Robert N. Stavins, 1988‑1999 (Edward Elgar, 2000) and Economics of Climate Change and Environmental Policy: Selected Papers for Robert N. Stavins, 2000-2011 (Edward Elgar, 2013).

Professor Stavins directed Project 88, a bi‑partisan effort co‑chaired by former Senator Timothy Wirth and the late Senator John Heinz, to develop innovative approaches to environmental and resource problems.  He continues to work closely with public officials on matters of national and international environmental policy.  He has been a consultant to the National Academy of Sciences, several Administrations, Members of Congress, environmental advocacy groups, the World Bank, the United Nations, the U.S. Agency for International Development, state and national governments, and private foundations and firms.

Prior to coming to Harvard, Stavins was a staff economist at the Environmental Defense Fund; and before that, he managed irrigation development in the Middle East, and spent four years working in agricultural extension in West Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer.