Environment Research Programme

Authors: Seán Lyons , Edgar Morgenroth , Reginald (John) Grindle , Pete Lunn , Anne Nolan , Petr Spodniak

Research Areas: Energy and Environment

The ESRI has established a new Environment Research Programme in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency. The goal of the programme is to provide robust evidence for environmental policy, focusing on the interface between social and economic processes and the environment.

The economy has profound effects on the environment, for example when firms and households emit pollutants or land use patterns change. The behaviour of individuals and firms towards the environment is complex and not fully understood. Taxes, subsidies, information provision and regulatory policies may influence these effects, so it is important that policymakers be well informed about existing influences and options for the future.

Effects flow in the opposite direction as well: the environment affects the health and well-being of individuals in important ways. Where data on individuals’ health outcomes and socioeconomic conditions can be combined with local environmental factors, it should be possible to explore the causal links between the environment and public health more fully than before.

We will draw on existing data as well as conducting experiments and collecting evidence in the field across a wide range of topics. Here are the areas for study planned for the initial two years of the programme:

Identifying and estimating the environmental effects of selected fiscal instruments
Use of behavioural economics lab experiments to examine environmental influences on consumer behaviour
Behavioural and experimental tests of the long-term benefits of the Green Schools programme
Health and well-being benefits of a clean and healthy environment and environmental amenities in Ireland
Environmental market failures - spatial and land use planning

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