High Meadows Post-Doctoral Fellow
With world attention focused on both the environment and the economy, Envrionmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. This leading green group, with programs from Boston to Beijing, has tripled in size over the past decade by focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches. You can be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, with a focus on results.
The Office of the Chief Economist seeks one recent Ph.D. recipient with expertise in environmental economics — for a one-year High Meadows Post-Doctoral Fellowship beginning summer or fall 2014. The Fellow will work collaboratively with other EDF economists, scientists, and program experts to help develop and advocate science-based, economically sound environmental policies. The Fellow will work in a focus area, suited to his or her background and interests, from the range of EDF program work: climate, energy, oceans, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems, and human health (http://edf.org).
Specific possibilities may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Climate Change. EDF is committed to minimizing the magnitude and impact of global climate change. We work at the state, federal, and international levels to design, implement, and defend legislation and treaties that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase resilience to climate change. Doing so requires that we stay up-to-date on the latest climate science and economic policy tools to address the problem, anticipate important scientific and economic issues, and evaluate various climate mitigation and adaptation strategies from a host of perspectives. Particular research areas could range from studies focused on the cost of inaction to instrument policy choice.
- Markets for ecosystem services. The long-term health of our working lands requires that we incorporate the true value of ecosystem services into the calculus of landowners. A sustainable agricultural system will reward farmers for using agricultural practices that sequester carbon, reduce fertilizer runoff, maintain riparian habitat, and so on — with the incentives commensurate with the underlying value of those ecosystem services. However, despite a wealth of academic and popular writing touting the true economic value of our ecosystems, very few such markets have been successfully established due to the public-goods nature of ecosystem services. EDF seeks to advance the creation of ecosystem markets through well-designed regulatory frameworks including carbon offset programs, water markets, wetland banks, and other mechanisms. The foundation for this advocacy will be rigorous analysis of the social and economic drivers of land management, along with creative application of economic principles to design new policy mechanisms.
- Incorporating experimental design and behavioral economics into environmental advocacy. EDF’s advocacy in a number of program areas increasingly takes the form of policy interventions that depend on the involvement and participation of specific communities. Examples include fishermen embracing catch shares, farmers in developing countries undertaking agricultural practices that sequester carbon, landowners in Brazil signing up to reduce deforestation rates, and U.S. homeowners adopting energy efficiency measures. In each case, economic incentives are crucial but are often not sufficient in the face of cultural factors, transactions costs, or behavioral inertia. EDF seeks to draw lessons from behavioral and experimental economics in order to amplify the effectiveness of economic incentives and learn about the effective design of interventions.
- Regulatory structure and emerging technologies in electricity generation. EDF’s Climate and Energy Program seeks to transform incentives in electricity markets to reduce the environmental impacts of electric power generation by encouraging greater energy efficiency, promoting smart grid technologies, and expanding renewable generation. Economic and scientific analysis will be at the core of this initiative: developing new models for electricity regulation that create incentives for energy efficiency and low-carbon generation; understanding the environmental implications of new technologies for extracting energy, generating and storing electricity, and managing electricity demand; and proposing policy frameworks to provide incentives for the development and deployment of new technologies.
- Environmental engineering, industrial ecology, and/or life cycle assessment. EDF understands that forging partnerships with business is key to achieving environmental results on a broad range of environmental challenges across industries. For example, in our work with Walmart, we seek to reduce the company’s greenhouse gas pollution, minimize its waste stream and maximize its energy efficiency. Identifying and evaluating opportunities to change corporate practices in ways that minimize environmental and health impacts (including but not limited to energy, fuel, water and materials use, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and toxic chemical exposure) requires systems-level thinking and engineering expertise.
- To conduct analysis that will lead to the development or refinement of EDF’s position in the area of interest, and make recommendations on approaches for outreach and influencing policy.
- To engage fully in EDF’s advocacy in the Fellow’s area(s) of focus, primarily through rigorous scientific/economic analysis but also by participating in the development of strategy and in outreach to policy makers, other stakeholders, and the interested public.
- To become familiar with and keep up-to-date on the scientific, economic and/or policy literature relevant to their focus areas, and to synthesize and disseminate that information for EDF economists, scientists, lawyers and policy specialists.
- To conduct original research for publication in her/his own areas of interest.
- A recent Ph.D. in economics, public policy, or a related field. (Princeton degree preferred.)
- A passion for environmental protection, a commitment to rigorous analysis, creativity (and a dose of pragmatism) in the real-world application of scientific theory to practice, and knowledge of relevant environmental policy issues.
- The ability to communicate complex ideas to a general audience in writing and orally.
- On-the-job training will be provided to familiarize the successful candidate with specific issues, media and policy work.
The Fellowship term is 12 to 18 months.
This position will be located in Boston or New York.
Specific questions regarding the fellowship can be directed to Dr. Gernot Wagner, Senior Economist in the Office of Economic Policy and Analysis, at email@example.com.
Due to the volume of employment applications and queries received, EDF is unable to respond to each application individually. Applicants will be contacted directly if selected as a candidate.
Environmental Defense Fund is an Equal Opportunity Employer