The Society, Environment and Economics Lab works on the economics of a wide range of environmental, energy and resource issues. Some of the topics we work on are: (1) the costs and benefits of climate policy, (2) the development of integrated assessment models, (3) integration of distributional equity principles into a cost-benefit framework, (4) numerical methods to solve stochastic dynamic programming problems and (5) the design of environmental policies.
Our work draws from a large range of methods. Some of our more conceptual work is of an applied theoretical nature, where we have, for example, derived new ways to incorporate distributional equity considerations into standard cost-benefit calculations. The lab maintains and develops a number of numerical models that can be used to quantify the effects of environmental policies. These models include simple climate models, dynamic general equilibrium models and integrated assessment models. We use empirical methods both in the construction and calibration of our numerical models, as well as to answer standalone questions where appropriate.
While the focus of the lab is on academic research, we also engage in policy outreach. One of the models co-maintained by the lab (the FUND model) is currently used by the US federal government to estimate the official US Social Cost of Carbon figure, a key input into estimating the net benefits of regulations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We also regularly participate in events and discussions in various policy forums.
The Society, Environment and Economics Lab is led by ERG assistant professor David Anthoff and includes graduate students and postdocs from a range of disciplinary backgrounds. We regularly have academic visitors from other institutions (and continents). The lab meets once a week and provides a forum for mutual support and feedback on our ongoing work.