Economist, Ecosystems

Economist, Ecosystems
San Francisco, CA or Sacramento, CA

With world attention focused on both the environment and the economy, Environmental 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, where innovation and a focus on results are a way of life.

Overall Function 

The Economist will conduct and direct economic analysis to help shape the Ecosystem’s program policy positions and support its advocacy and provide strategic input and content to guide planning and execution of Ecosystem program efforts. While focusing on the Ecosystems program work, the Economist will report to the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) and participate in the broader ecosystem of economics that surrounds EDF’s global work. The Ecosystems work is centered on four main programs – western water, habitats, agriculture sustainability, and coastal protection. Initially, the Economist will focus especially on economic elements related to the practice and policy of western water and habitat programs. Analysis products will include original publishable research, “in-house” analyses to guide staff and partners, as well as white papers aimed at policy makers, journalists, and the public at large.

The Economist will be based in San Francisco or Sacramento, California. S/he will report to the Chief Economist, and will work with other economists, natural scientists, Ecosystems staff, and policy specialists throughout EDF. S/he may also have managerial responsibilities for more junior staff, consultants, and project budgets.

Key Responsibilities

  • Working with the Chief Economist and Senior Leadership of Ecosystems program to identify analysis and research needed to inform and support the program’s strategies and advocac
  • Working with junior staff on analyses of issues related to water, lands, wildlife, and agriculture polic
  • Overseeing research projects conducted by other organizations for EDF (e.g. universities and outside contractors) and tracking research and analysis by others that aligns with EDF’s work.
  • Conducting original economic research on topics relevant to the work of the Ecosystems program.
  • Interpreting, translating, and summarizing relevant economic information for EDF and partner staff and broader audiences, perhaps including public communications congressional testimony, Op-Eds, articles, and blog post
  • Participating in the development of public positions taken by Environmental Defense Fund.
  • Representing Environmental Defense Fund at public meetings including policy makers, academic conferences and workshops, gatherings of advocacy organizations, and the general public.


  • PhD. in Economics or equivalent combination of education and experience, including experience in economics related to western U.S. water practice and policy.
  • Proven ability to conduct cutting-edge research and relate that research to resource management practice; Familiarity with the empirical and theoretical literature on environmental economics, in particular the design of regulatory policy (e.g. instrument choice).
  • Demonstrated ability to convey economic concepts to non-economist
  • Ability to deploy a diversity of analytical approaches from highly complex theoretical and/or econometric studies to back-of-the- envelope anal
  • Interest in relating economic research to real-world policy and in bridging the worlds of advocacy and academia.

Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant’s qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.

Hiring Range

We offer a strong total rewards package encompassing competitive salary, robust benefits, and professional development opportunities consistent with a modern global organization.