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Ian Parry Named to New Endowed Chair Honoring Allen V. Kneese

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 18, 2007
CONTACT: RFF Office of Communications, 202-328-5026

WASHINGTON - Ian W.H. Parry, a senior fellow at Resources for the Future, is the first appointment to the Allen V. Kneese Chair in Environmental Economics, which was recently established to commemorate a long-time RFF scholar and visionary thinker. Parry, who has been at RFF since 1995, focuses on environmental regulation, transportation, tax policy, and public-health issues.

The academic chair honors Allen Kneese's 40 years of pathbreaking research at the institution. Kneese, who died in 2001 at the age of 70, played a central role in developing the economic principles that have become crucial to environmental policy worldwide over the past half-century.

"By creating an appropriate tribute to extend the work of Allen Kneese--and pay homage to one of RFF's pioneering scholars--we will secure senior academic talent within our research staff and will recall the legacy of Allen's work for generations to come," said RFF President Phil Sharp. "Ian Parry has demonstrated a deep commitment to our research mission, and is clearly an appropriate choice to occupy this position."

The Allen Kneese Chair in Environmental Economics will be a permanent senior research position. Contributions from Kneese's friends and colleagues, plus support from Kneese himself, provided endowment funding for the chair.

When Kneese joined RFF in 1961, economists were beginning to conclude that shortages of natural resources would not stop economic growth--and that the greater threat was the rising pollution that growth was creating. People had started "to raise the idea that you have all these waste materials coming along and maybe that's where the more important problems lie--in those quality problems rather than the quantity problems," Kneese said in a 1999 interview.

Kneese was the first to recognize and model the relations of air, water, and other forms of pollution. Many economic historians believe he single-handedly kept alive the idea of using economic incentives to encourage environmental improvements. In 1990, he and John V. Krutilla won the first Volvo Environment Prize. The citation said that they "founded resource and environmental economics as a research discipline" and that they "lead the field in combining the sciences of economics and ecology."

In addition, Kneese was the first president of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, and was a founding editor of the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

The Kneese Chair is the most recent chair to be endowed at RFF since the institution's 50th anniversary in 2002. Others include the Darius Gaskins Chair and the Chauncey Starr Chair in Risk Analysis. A fourth chair, established by Thomas Klutznick to focus on urban issues, will be filled at a future date.

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