High Meadows Post-Doc Fellow Environmental Economist

With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 630 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and results are a way of life.


EDF has a proud record of helping achieve environmental outcomes that are economically efficient, environmentally effective, and fair. Our advocacy is informed by the best science and economics, we typically engage in partnerships (academia, business, communities, government, other environmental non-governmental organizations) and we are pragmatic in finding the ways that work to make progress. As regards the application of economics, our tradition and practice is to favor market led approaches where feasible, and in general to ensure that our advocacy advances both economic outcomes and environmental ambition, or achieves environmental outcomes at minimum cost, while enabling continuing innovation and enterprise development.  


The EDF Portfolio in Air Quality and Control of Toxics          


EDF has a distinguished record in helping achieve effective air quality policy in the US:


  • We were the leader of the successful advocacy of the use of a trading scheme to control SO2 emissions (acid rain) from power stations in the US (Title IV of the 1990 Clean Air Act).


We are currently active in a number of air and related areas. These include:


  • the leading advocate for the successful enactment of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (2016) - securing its implementation continues to be an ongoing challenge.

  • In 2017, we pioneered the use of mobile monitoring units to provide very granular monitoring of air quality in West Oakland, and we provided the only air quality monitoring of emissions from the chemical plants in Houston after Hurricane Harvey

  • We initiated a Defending Clean Air: Local Health and Economic Impacts project which combines talents in economics, epidemiology and spatial analytics

  • We are about to embark on a new program - assisting China align its domestic priority to control air pollution with global climate goals - which inter alia will apply economics that builds on our long standing climate work there, anchored in our promotion of emissions trading

  • We are likely to engage in India, with the initial focus on supporting action on air quality.  


Our Need

We need an economist dedicated to deepening the economics underpinning of our advocacy in some of the above areas in ways that are evidence based, effective and stand up to peer review. Support is needed in the following areas:  understanding and critically interrogating the literature to distil insights; doing ex post analysis so that policy for the future is fully formed by the experience of the past; assessing policy instruments for their environmental effectiveness, economic efficiency, and feasibility (technical, administrative and political); assessing options for the future and their implications, including benefit cost analysis; monitoring performance of policy as it is implemented; deepening our understanding of economic impacts of air pollution to include impacts on productivity, crop yields, infrastructure, health costs etc. We see the rapid evolution of monitoring technologies as a key enabler of policy innovation and improved outcomes.


The Appointment


The appointee will be based in the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE), but will work closely with the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) and the program(s) that have core responsibility of our advocacy.


  • To perform original research, for publication in the Fellow’s area(s) of focus, which will lead directly to the development or refinement of EDF’s policy positions, and to contribute to EDF’s advocacy based on the findings of that research.

  • To contribute rigorous economic analysis in support of EDF’s advocacy, and participate in the development of strategy and in outreach to policymakers, stakeholders, and the public.

  • To monitor and synthesize the peer-reviewed literature relevant to the Fellow’s area(s) of focus, and to synthesize and disseminate that information for EDF economists, scientists, lawyers and policy specialists.


Qualifications and Experience

The ideal candidate will have a combination of the following:

  • Hold a recent Ph.D. in resource and environmental economics, or a related area. It is preferable, but not essential, that the Fellow’s degree is from Princeton University.

  • Completed research on the economics of air quality and/or toxins that is evidence based and policy focused.

  • Have empirical research skills on knowledge of related statistical software (e.g., Stata, R, ArcGIS) and coding languages (e.g., Python).

  • Enthusiasm for applying rigorous economics to advance environmental and economic policy.

  • Enjoy working with multidisciplinary teams that have a shared objective.

  • Have exhibited creativity (with a dose of pragmatism) in advocating for sound policy.  Engage with emerging developments in monitoring and control technologies, and understand their potential to shape policy design and implementation. 

Term, Compensation and Location

The Fellowship term is 15 months. The Fellow will receive a highly competitive annual salary with a generous benefits package, and will have the option of working from EDF’s Boston, New York City, or Washington D.C. office.


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.