Ted’s wife, Virginia (Ginny) McConnell, as most of you know, is a superb environmental economist in her own right. She is here today to share the accolades we have for Ted, as are two of their three children. Ginny, John, and Maggie, please stand to be recognized for your important roles in what we celebrate today.
The letters supporting Ted’s nomination itemized many reasons why Ted richly deserves to be an AERE Fellow, including his central role in defining the modern theory of revealed preference methods for non-market valuation and his fundamental contributions to the modern microeconomic theory of recreation choice.
Many aspects of our discipline have been transformed by Ted’s ability to penetrate complex questions, isolate the important features relevant to economic analysis, and then propose consistent and practical ways to address them. He has fundamentally influenced the ways we think about
- the role of congestion, and the opportunity cost of time
- anomalies in WTP, the evaluation of recreation site quality and substitutes
- interactions between travel cost and hedonic models for valuing amenities
- soil conservation
- the importance of skill and habits for recreation choices
- interactions between bio-economic models and economic models for recreation
- how properly to apply hedonic models for resource valuation
- …as well as almost every other important aspect of using economic models for benefit measurement.
With AERE Fellow Nancy Bockstael, Ted showed us
(a.) how the household production model applies to recreation , and
(b.) how the work of AERE Fellow Karl-Goran Maler, on changes in the areas under demand curves, can be extended to measure utility-theoretic values for changes in environmental quality when the purchase of a market good is related in some way to the enjoyment of that change in environmental quality.
Ted also clarified for us the definition of existence value, a crucial concept that was introduced by Krutilla but was not (at first) defined precisely in utility-theoretic terms. Ted’s thinking laid the groundwork for subsequent estimation of non-use values. His early efforts to help us understand the economic benefits of preserving natural resources changed the paradigm of valuation from “option values under uncertainty” to “measurement of nonuse values.” It is the seminal paper in the area.
Along with Nancy Bockstael and Ivan Strand, Ted was also at the core of the group of faculty that built Maryland’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics into “the” serious competitor to Berkeley for training Ph.D. students in our area. Certainly, many of their students are today the young leaders of our field.
As one of the original associate editors of JEEM, Ted helped Ron Cummings rescue the journal from a crisis of long review lags and uneven evaluations of manuscripts. Today JEEM is a high-quality and well-respected top field journal in economics. As President of AERE, Ted also helped secure our strong professional position in relationship to both the AAEA and the AEA.
Ted has also worked extensively with national and regional Fisheries agencies, and he has also made huge contributions to improving the quality of non-market valuation research at the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.
For his fundamental and influential contributions to so many different facets of rigorous micro theory and empirical demand measurement in environmental economics, for his service to AERE, his expert advice to policy-makers both here and abroad, and his part in building the University of Maryland’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics into one of the top environmental and resource economics Ph.D. programs in the country, we today induct Kenneth E. McConnell as a 2007 Fellow of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. Congratulations, Ted!