Spencer Banzhaf

H. Spencer Banzhaf

Dept. of Economics

Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

Georgia State University

hsbanzhaf [at] gsu.edu



I am a Professor in the Dept. of Economics at Georgia State's Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. I am also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and a Senior Fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC).

My primarily field of study is environmental policy analysis, especially related to the urban environment (such as sprawl and land use) and to issues related to energy and air pollution (including effects on ecosystems as well as urban environments). One common theme in my work is the interactions among local environmental amenities, local real estate markets, and the demographic composition of cities. For example, I have studied the way these social mechanisms interact to drive the correlations between pollution and poor households, as described by the "Environmental Justice" movement.

I also use 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. I apply such insights to the design of environmental policies. In other work, I have similarly applied such tools to "green accounting" (that is, to reforming GDP and similar statistics so they account for the environment). In related work, I have suggested ways to measure and construct indexes of ecosystem services.

Finally, I conduct research into the history of applied welfare economics and the historical relationship between economics and the environmental movement. I find this history fascinating in itself, but also a complementary tool for policy analysis.

My research has been published in such journals as the American Economic Review, 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.

I teach Microeconomic Theory, Environmental Economics, and the History of Economic Thought to PhD students and an Introduction to Microeconomics to undergraduate students.