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Dr. Spencer Banzhaf will conduct a research seminar on "The Political Economy of Environmental Justice".
Banzhaf is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Economics at Georgia State's Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. He also is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and a Senior Research Fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC).
His primarily field of study is environmental policy analysis, especially related to the urban environment and to issues related to air pollution and energy. One common theme in his work is the interactions among local environmental amenities, local real estate markets, and the demographic composition of cities. For example, he has studied the way these social mechanisms interact to drive the correlations between pollution and poor households, as described by the "Environmental Justice" movement.
He also uses tools from these models to gain insights into people's values for the natural environment and for other public goods that are not traded in markets. Whenever people pay more for a house because it is in a cleaner, safer community with good schools, they reveal something about their values for a clean environment, safety, and education. He applies such insights to benefit-cost analysis and to the design of environmental policies. In other work, he has similarly applied such tools to "green accounting" (that is, to reforming GDP and similar statistics so they account for the environment). In related work, he has suggested ways to measure and construct indexes of ecosystem services.
Finally, he conducts research into the history of applied welfare economics and other applied economics, primarily focusing on the early to mid 20th century. He finds this history fascinating in itself, but also a complementary tool for policy analysis. For example, lessons from earlier struggles with creating an architecture for measuring income (GDP), inflation (CPI), and for project benefits (benefit-cost analysis) provide valuable lessons for public policy today. His
research has been published in such journals as the American Economic Review, International Economic Review, Journal of Applied Econometrics, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Journal of Urban Economics, and History of Political Economy. It has been funded by such agencies as the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.