Environmental Economist

Calculate the cost of going green.
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Quick Stats


Salary Range
$48,000 – $155,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Environmental Economists do?

Environmental Economists study the way government policies about natural resources impact local, national, and world financial systems. In other words, you marry environmentalism with economic sustainability. This job of an Environmental Economist is an especially good fit for you, an avid reader of National Geographic and Forbes, if you’re also an early adopter (or, the first one on your block to have Apple’s latest gadget). It is on the cutting edge of environmental policy and economics.

Green initiatives are increasingly getting to the forefront of public consciousness. But can the economy support new proposals that increase public funding for green projects? Just about everyone is concerned with shrinking his or her carbon footprint. But is it affordable?

And what about the rest of the world? If we spend millions on conservation projects while other countries continue to pollute, does it make economic sense? You answer these questions as an Environmental Economist.

Armed with an Economist ’s toolkit of data collection methods, you conduct surveys and employ mathematical modeling techniques to create a forecast. This forecast compares numerous variables about the real-world costs of saving the planet.

Take, for instance, a company that produces cars in an environmentally sound way. If it cannot compete in the market with a car company that does not practice sound environmental procedures because high equipment costs drive up prices, no other car company will go green. Going green means going out of business. So you develop ways to circumvent these market failures by adding value to green business practices (carbon capping is just one example), which encourages environmental protection and economic success.

Should I be an Environmental Economist?

You should have a master's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.

  • Also known as: Environmental Protection Economist

    How to become an Environmental Economist

    We recommend at least a Master's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's. Check out these schools offering Environmental Economist-related education!
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