About David McLaughlin

David McLaughlin

Senior Economist


Areas of expertise:

Agricultural and Resource Economics, Environmental Economics, Public Economics, Econometrics, Causal Inference, Data Science


David joined EDF in July 2020. He has started working on projects examining ways to improve crop insurance offerings to promote conservation agriculture, the benefits of groundwater management, and how to incorporate equity into cost-benefit analysis for flood protection infrastructure. David is also heading the 2020-2021 EDF Economics Seminar Series.


David has over 13 years of experience in the field of environmental economics and was awarded his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the Department of Agricultural Resource Economics at UC Berkeley in May 2020. His dissertation studied groundwater property rights in California to benchmark their effectiveness in managing groundwater overdraft and to estimate the water rights supply elasticity for agricultural users, an important parameter in understanding welfare gains from the creation of a market for groundwater. David received his B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Maryland and earned a Masters in Public Policy from George Washington University.


  • PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Berkeley


“Blue Carbon: Coastal Ecosystems, Their Carbon Storage, and Potential for Reducing Emissions”, 2013 (With Juha Siikamaki, James Sanchirico, Sunny Jardine, and Daniel Morris), Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 55(6): 14-29. See also RFF Report November 2012.

“For the Benefit of California Electricity Ratepayers: Electricity Sector Options for the Use of Allowance Value Created under California’s Cap-and-Trade Program”, 2012 (with Dallas Burtraw and Sarah Jo Szambelan). RFF Discussion Paper 12-23.

“California’s New Gold: A Primer on the Use of Allowance Value Created Under the CO2 Cap-and-Trade Program,” 2012, (with Dallas Burtraw and Sarah Jo Szambelan). RFF Discussion Paper 12-23.