About Lori Bennear
I am the Juli Plant Grainger Associate Professor of Energy Economics and Policy at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University. I am also the Associate Director for Educational Programs at the Duke University Energy Initiative. I also hold secondary appointments with the Sanford School of Public Policy and the Department of Economics at Duke. I received my Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard University in 2004, an M.A. in Economics from Yale in 1996 and an A.B. in Economics and Environmental Studies from Occidental College in 1995.
My research focuses on evaluating environmental policies and improving methods and techniques for incorporating evaluation into the regulatory process. While the field of policy evaluation is a broad one, my specific niche is in bringing rigorous quantitative methods to evaluate environmental policy innovations along four dimensions. (1) Evaluating the effectiveness of environmental and energy policies and programs. This line of research uses statistical analysis to estimate the extent to which environmental and energy policies such as information disclosure, management-based regulations, and demand-side management programs actually improve corporate environmental/energy performance, change household behavior, or improve individual environmental health indicators. (2) Evaluating strategic behavioral responses to non-traditional regulatory regimes. Environmental policies create incentives and in responding to these incentives, regulated entities sometimes behave strategically in ways that undermine program effectiveness. This line of research seeks to illuminate these strategic behavioral responses and quantify the magnitude of their impact. (3) Assessing the distributional impacts of these new regulatory regimes. My research in this area evaluates whether innovations in regulatory policy result in uneven distribution of environmental impacts on lower income or minority communities. (4) Designing policies to learn and adapt over time. Many environmental and energy issues are highly dynamic–the risk profile may be uncertain and the benefits profile from regulation may also be uncertain. Moreover, changing technologies and ongoing research may reveal more information about risks and benefits over time. This line of research examines the ways in which regulatory systems can be designed to be more adaptive.
My research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.