Most environmental experts would argue that any discussion of economic strategy is incomplete without consideration of its environmental impact; less often publicized, however, is the effect that environmental legislation has on a country's economic productivity. But according to Dr. Lint Barrage, economist and soon-to-be IBES Fellow, a thorough understanding of the economic ramifications of environmental policies (e.g., fossil fuel taxes) is vital to both the country's fiscal and ecological health.
Barrage's research measures the feedback between financial systems and environmental processes such as climate change. For instance, she says, "the economy grows and burns more fossil fuels [and] that changes the climate, which, in turn, affects the economy through effects ranging from agricultural productivity changes to lower labor productivity in countries affected by higher malaria incidence." With a sound understanding of these feedback mechanisms, she explains, policies can ultimately be optimized for efficiency and productivity.
Formerly Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland, College Park, Barrage earned a Ph.D. in Economics with Distinction from Yale University in May 2013. Her interest in economics has environmental roots; as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, she was fascinated by the role of economic rationale in the process of environmental policy-making.
Barrage is looking forward to advancing her work through collaboration with other disciplinary experts at IBES. "In order to study the channels through which the environment affects economic productivity, you have to understand the natural science and human health side of things," she says. "I really could not be more excited to be joining this community of scholars!"
Barrage will join Brown University and IBES as Assistant Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies in July.