UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Karen Fisher-Vanden, professor of environmental and resource economics and public policy in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, has been elected president of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
The association, referred to as AERE, was founded in 1979 to exchange ideas, stimulate research and promote graduate training in environmental and resource economics. Its approximately 1,000 members from 30 nations represent academic institutions, the public sector and private industry.
AERE oversees two flagship journals — the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists and the Review of Environmental Economics and Policy — and offers members a variety of opportunities to present their research at meetings and workshops.
Fisher-Vanden served on the association’s board of directors from 2017 to 2019. As president, she will be responsible for the overall welfare of the association, working with its board of directors and providing leadership at association meetings. She will serve as president-elect during 2022, followed by a two-year tenure as president, after which she will serve as past president for one year.
“I enjoy developing new initiatives to support researchers in the field of environmental and resource economics, especially early-career researchers and graduate students,” Fisher-Vanden said. “I was honored to be nominated for this position and thrilled to be elected. I look forward to continuing the great work of the board and outstanding members to further AERE’s mission.”
Fisher-Vanden holds bachelor’s degrees in computer science, mathematics and economics from the University of California, Davis, a master’s degree in management science from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a doctorate in public policy from Harvard University.
Before joining Penn State in 2008, she was an associate professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College and a research fellow in the Center for Business and Government, John F. Kennedy School of Government, at Harvard University. She also served as a senior research Scientist, Global Climate Change Group, Battelle, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, Washington, D.C.
Her research areas include economic and integrated assessment modeling for climate change impact and policy analysis, economic instruments for pollution control, technology development in developing countries, and implications for energy use and carbon emissions.
Fisher-Vanden conducted research in China involving international collaborations with colleagues at the National Bureau of Statistics in China and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Her research has been published in journals such as the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, the Journal of Development Economics, and the Journal of Economic Perspectives.
She has led several large, externally funded research programs. Currently, she serves as co-director and principal investigator of the Program on Coupled Human and Earth Systems, a large cooperative research agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.
Fisher-Vanden was a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report Working Group III, a previous member of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program Product Development Advisory Committee and lead author of a congressionally mandated Climate Change Science Program report on global change scenarios.
She was a member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s science advisory board on economywide modeling. She currently serves on the editorial boards of Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Energy Economics, and the Journal of Global Economic Analysis.
In addition to her teaching and research responsibilities at Penn State, Fisher-Vanden serves as director of the Institute for Sustainable Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Science (SAFES). Housed in the College of Agricultural Sciences, SAFES focuses on interdisciplinary research that tackles the complex challenges of predicting vulnerabilities in systems, feeding a growing population, environmental resilience and economic sustainability.
László J. Kulcsár, head of the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education, noted that Fisher-Vanden has an outstanding track record at Penn State as a nationally and internationally recognized expert of environmental and energy economics within the coupled human-earth systems.
“Dr. Fisher-Vanden has brought exceptional energy, motivation and high-quality scholarship as director of SAFES,” he said. “I have no doubt she will bring the same enthusiasm to her role as president of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.”