My research is primarily focussed on mechanism design in the context of the environment. I use a variety of methods; developing simple models to capture the essence of the problem, and then typically combining these with data, either from the lab or the real world (be that RCTs or quasi-experimental evidence).
I came to economics from the natural sciences. Motivated by a passion for the natural world, I first pursued an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Oxford. Hence my first publications are very much biology focussed. While I found my degree fascinating, it was apparent that issues of overexploitation were problems which science could largely not address; rather, solutions would be found through a better understanding of human behaviour and incentives.
During my PhD at the University of Exeter, where I was primarily supervised by Brett Day, my research moved into understanding how institutions can be developed to better facilitate efficient use of the natural environment. In so doing, I researched how delegating monitoring decisions to individual agents can achieve efficient effort with minimal monitroing costs, and in both the lab and the field, how procurement (aka reverse) auctions can be used to select participants, and determine how much they are paid, in payment for ecosystem service schemes. I have continued to pursue similar lines of research during my postdoc. Including expanding the research agenda to look at how best to facilitate environmental markets involving multiple buyers and ecosystem services. Additionally, I have started work on two further projects. The first looks at the drivers of forest regrowth, and the second considers what aspects of biodiversity people value.
I very much see this research agenda as being motivated by an aim to improve real-world outcomes, and as can be seen in the Policy and Impact page, relish the work I do with external stakeholders such as governmental departments and water companies.