Reconsidering "Conservation Reconsidered": A 40-Year Legacy


Oct. 3, 2007


Charles Cicchetti, Ellen Hanak, Raymond J. Kopp, Fred Norbury, Richard Rice, Roger A. Sedjo, Phil Sharp, Juha V. Siikamäki, and V. Kerry Smith

Event Series


"Putting economics to work on environmental issues is not so hard, once you see that it can be done, and how to get started. That was John Krutilla's key insight and great achievement."
Robert M. Solow, Nobel Laureate in Economics

On October 3rd, RFF honored the legacy of John V. Krutilla, one of RFF's founding fathers. The impact of his theories on environmental preservation and economics can hardly be overstated. With the publication of his landmark research paper, "Conservation Reconsidered," Krutilla laid the intellectual cornerstone of what today is an international discipline central to the assessment and protection of the environment. Over the course of his career, he fundamentally altered the global debate regarding comparisons and choices--both private and public--about the varied uses for undisturbed wild rivers, species, and other natural resources.


Phil Sharp, President, RFF


Paul Portney, Dean, Eller College of Management, The University of Arizona, and former RFF President

Panel 1: Innovations in Academic Thought

V. Kerry Smith, W. P. Carey Professor of Economics, Arizona State University, and RFF University Fellow

Charles J. Cicchetti, University of Southern California

Raymond J. Kopp, Senior Fellow, RFF

Juha Siikamäki, Fellow, RFF

Panel 2: Revolutionizing Public Policy

Roger Sedjo, Senior Fellow, RFF

Richard Rice, Senior Director, Resource Economics, Conservation International

Ellen Hanak, Associate Director and Senior Fellow, Public Policy Institute of California

Fred Norbury, Associate Deputy Chief, U.S. National Forest System

The John V. Krutilla Research Stipend honors the late John V. Krutilla, a renowned environmental economist who served as a senior fellow at RFF for most of his career.

A central figure at RFF from 1955 through 1988, Krutilla was the first to identify undisturbed natural environments - wild rivers, wilderness, and other scenic resources - as natural assets. Krutilla's theories transformed environmental policy analysis. They not only provided a sound economic basis for including preservation benefits as legitimate components of the policy calculus, they also defined the research agenda for a generation of environmental economists. That people not only value a clear view over the Grand Canyon, even when they may never visit it, but that these values can and should be counted; that legislation and policy now recognize people experience economic losses when fragile ecosystems are damaged; that the irreversible loss of any unique natural environment or species is acknowledged as a distinct and important type of public choice; that collectively we all think of resource conservation differently; all these are the results of work completed in the 1960's and 1970's by John Krutilla.

The Krutilla research stipend was established with the generous support of the Krutilla family, Industrial Economics, Inc., and a number of John's colleagues, friends, and former "students." The grant is intended for young scholars who have a recently awarded doctoral degree (that is, no more than 5 years beyond receipt of the Ph.D.). The focus of the award is for research related to environmental and resource economics. Special attention will be given to applicants who seek to pursue research into one or more of the areas pioneered by John Krutilla. The awardee may be invited to present the results of the research activities at RFF in the year after completion of the work.

Special Guests

Jennifer Alix-Garcia, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of San Francisco, received the first annual Award in 2006. She is using her stipend to study the mechanisms behind the observed negative effect of inequality on deforestation in Mexico.

Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarek, Assistant Professor of Economics, Yale School of Management, received the annual Award in 2007. He is using his stipend to study the interaction between institutional mechanisms for decentralized water resource management and water pollution in Brazil.


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