Allen Victor Kneese, a pioneer in environmental economics, died in 2001 at the age of 70. A senior fellow at RFF, Kneese played a crucial role in developing the economic principles that have become increasingly influential in environmental policy worldwide over the past half-century.
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.
Read more about Allen Kneese's legacy: In Appreciation: Allen V. Kneese