Virginia McConnell is a Senior Fellow at Resources for the Future. She has worked on research related to the economic effects of pricing and regulatory policies to improve social and environmental outcomes, with a focus on transportation and urban land use. A recent focus of her work addresses policies to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from light duty vehicles. She and colleagues at RFF have evaluated a range of issues associated with current vehicle regulations, including analyses of the costs and benefits of fuel economy regulations, the efficiency of credits markets for lowering costs, efficient policies for alternative vehicles and fuels, and the interaction between state and federal policies. Her research is relevant for a number of current policy debates, including the stringency and assessment of federal fuel economy regulations, and the role of different policies for promoting electric vehicles. Earlier work related to the transportation sector included analyses of alternative policies for reducing both greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants that contribute to ambient ozone and particulates.
McConnell has also studied the role of economic incentives to achieve more efficient land use, both in urban areas, and in the management of coastal regions. One focus has been the evaluation of the use of market-based tools for attaining housing density and environmental goals in urban areas, such as the use of transferable development rights. Another area of interest is in modeling household location decisions in order to evaluate effective land use policies. She and colleagues at RFF developed a dynamic land use model and used it examine the effect of housing density regulations and externalities from open space preservation. More recently they have looked at the effect of climate related hazards on coastal regions,
McConnell has served on a number of National Research Council panels, including most recently a committee that reviewed recent fuel economy regulations, and another that addressed the long-term feasibility of a transition to alternative vehicles and fuels.
McConnell came to RFF many years ago as a Gilbert White Fellow, working on issues related to transportation and the environment. She continues to highly value the unique role RFF plays in bringing academic analysis to important environmental policy debates. In addition to her work with RFF, McConnell was a full professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) for many years, retiring from that position in 2014. She now spends part of the year at her family home in Ojai, California. She is an avid tennis player in her spare time.
- PhD in economics, University of Maryland, 1978
- BA in economics, Smith College, 1969