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My research focuses on human behavior and the role of governance institutions in solving collective action problems and facilitating cooperation. The collective action problems associated with environmental policy provide a laboratory for my research. My current projects include watershed management, environmental activism, agricultural best management practices, and institutional change in local governments. I also dabble in experimental economics and simulation techniques to further explore collective action theory. See a recent talk at Yale here:

I am co-director of the CEPB. Much of my work investigates the conditions under which scientific knowledge is integrated into the public policy process. I examine how decision-makers obtain, interpret, and apply scientific knowledge to real-world environmental policy problems. I pay particular attention to the decisions of ground-level government officials whose day-to-day work shapes policy, analyzing how their institutional contexts affect their information and choice opportunities. Much of my current work focuses on the regulation of hydraulic fracturing (fracking); I am also interested in wetland and water policy. I use a variety of methods in my work, including surveys, interviews, social network analysis, and statistical analysis.

Associated Faculty

Jim Quinn is a Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of California, Davis, Director of the Information Center for the Environment (ICE), and leader of the California Information Node (CAIN) of the National Biological Information Infrastructure. Current research interests include environmental applications of Semantic Web technologies, the use of geospatial information systems to assess biodiversity, land use, and water quality, international databases and information sharing on invasive species and species in protected areas, watershed and floodplain analysis, and applications of geographic data and models to land use and conservation planning in California.

Research Interests: Evolution of ecologically important behaviors (predator-prey, mating, and social behaviors), life history traits, and how these influence population and community ecological patterns. Most projects examine freshwater organisms - e.g., fish, amphibian larvae, crayfish, insects and other freshwater invertebrates. Current applied ecological interests include studying effects of pesticides on predator-prey interactions, and behavioral mechanisms underlying species invasions.

Jim's research applies quantitative empirical and theoretical methods to study the conservation of natural resources. Topics include marine reserves, land-use and biodiversity conservation, invasive species management, provision of ecosystem services, rebuilding marine populations, resilience of coral reef ecosystems, household energy use, land use and non-point source pollution, open space referendum, design of market based policies, New Zealand’s individual fishing quota system, and U.S. fishery policy.

Dr. Lin received her Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 2006. She is an economist with a background in both the natural sciences and the social sciences, and is interested in issues related to energy, the environment and natural resources. She enjoys working on projects that are technically sound, innovative, challenging, and that are of interest to academics, business practitioners and policy-makers alike.

Dr. Susan Handy is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy and the Director of the Sustainable Transportation Center at the University of California Davis. Her research interests focus on the relationships between transportation and land use, particularly the impact of land development patterns on travel behavior. She is internationally known for her research on the connection between neighborhood design and walking behavior. Her current work focuses on improving understanding the choice to bicycle as a mode of transportation. She is a member of the Committee on Women’s Issues in Transportation of the Transportation Research Board and has served on committees of the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council.

I am interested in the interactions between people and agricultural and semi-natural systems which they attempt to manage. In particular, I am interested in the role of plant disease in these interactions as both a target for action and a stimulus for the adoption of particular courses of action. My research group is located in the Plant Pathology Department at UC Davis. We study a range of applied and theoretical issues concerning plant diseases, usually in collaboration with other researchers and typically with some broadly economic angle to the work.

Mike works in the areas of resource and environmental economics on problems involving decision-making under uncertainty, learning, adaptive management and environmental risk. His methods include econometrics with Bayesian inference, Bayesian learning processes, dynamic control and general equilibrium models. Recent and current projects include: combined bioeconomic and quantitative genetic models for salmon biodiversity management; estimating and mitigating invasive species risk from international trade; adaptive management of environmental risk; econometrics for decision-making applied to screening of potentially hazardous imports; and analysis of greenhouse gas control policies under uncertainty.

Ryan is a behavioural economist with CSIRO's Ecosystem Sciences, Australia. He studies social behaviours that are shaped by key environmental processes, with a particular interest in institutions for managing variability and uncertainty. He spent many years exploring the mechanisms for coping with variability in arid and semi-arid Australia. More recently he has examined the distribution of the economic winners and losers from climate adaptations, how this impedes action, and the institutions that help overcome inaction. Ryan's main approaches include game and network theory. For publications see

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