Brian C. Prest

Fellow; Director, Social Cost of Carbon Initiative

Brian Prest is an economist and Fellow at Resources for the Future specializing in climate change, oil and gas, and energy economics. Prest uses economic theory and econometric models to improve energy and environmental policies by assessing their impacts on markets and pollution outcomes. His recent work includes economic modeling of federal oil and gas leasing policies, including implementing carbon pricing into federal oil and gas royalties. He is also working to improve the scientific basis of the social cost of carbon by establish an empirical basis for determining discount rates and developing probabilistic Bayesian projections of country-level energy intensity. He also uses machine learning techniques to improve understanding of household electricity demand and time-varying pricing. His past work includes econometric modeling of the US oil and gas industry, evaluating the effects of coal subsidies on emissions, understanding the economic effects of rising temperatures, modeling the market dynamics of climate change policy under policy uncertainty. His work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Energy Economics, and The Energy Journal.

Prior to joining RFF, Prest earned his PhD at Duke University and previously worked in both the public and private sectors. At the Congressional Budget Office, he developed economic models of various energy sectors to analyze the effects of proposed legislation, including the 2009 Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill and related Clean Electricity Standards. At NERA Economic Consulting, he conducted electricity market modeling, project valuation, and discounted cash flow analysis of various infrastructure investments in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia, with a focus on the power sector.


  • PhD in environmental and resource economics, Duke University, 2018
  • BA in economics, Williams College, 2009

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