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Richard T. Carson

Richard T. Carson is one of the world’s leading environmental and resource economists. His research has helped to bring stated preference methods and environmental valuation into the mainstream of economics.

His most prominent empirical contributions include the damage assessment for the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the benefit assessment for the U.S. Clean Water Act. On the theoretical side, Carson is best known for his work looking at the incentive and informational structure of stated preference questions. His recent work on forecasting Chinese carbon dioxide emissions received extensive media attention.

In 1989, Carson and sociologist Robert Cameron Mitchell co-authored an RFF book titled "Using Surveys to Value Public Goods: The Contingent Valuation Method" which developed a comprehensive view of contingent valuation ranging from its ties to welfare economics to guidance on how to deal with survey design and statistical analysis issues. The book helped to lay out the relationship between existence values and contingent valuation. It played a major role in making contingent valuation the most used valuation technique by environmental economists.

Carson has not only made contributions to many areas of environmental and resource economics, but he also has furthered the use of contingent valuation across other fields of economics and other disciplines. Carson has published widely in econometrics, health, marketing, political science, survey research, as well as urban and regional economics.

Carson has served as the president of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, the program chair of the 2nd World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists, and on the editorial boards of Environmental and Resource Economics and the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. He also has served as a member of two National Academy of Science's Committees, one on oil spill prevention and one assessing water projects, and, as an advisor to a number of government agencies, state agencies, international organizations and foreign governments.