Kathy’s is one of the first names that comes to mind when we are asked to think about our profession’s leading researchers at the intersection of “law and economics” and “environmental economics.” One of her nominating letters explains that she “has the analytical ability to capture the essence of a problem in this field with a relatively simple, yet revealing model [as well as] an uncanny ability to draw out less-than-obvious, but nonetheless important, policy implications” from the work.
One of Kathy’s most significant contributions has been the development of policies to control non-point sources of pollution from agriculture. Her pioneering work on the “Segerson mechanism” has given rise to a substantial theoretical literature on the use of ambient-based approaches to control agricultural pollution, and has also led to a recent surge in experimental work.
Kathy was also among the first to provide an economic analysis of voluntary approaches to environmental protection, identifying the key role played by a background regulatory threat in inducing firms to undertake voluntary pollution abatement. A growing literature has addressed the use of voluntary approaches, and NOAA Fisheries has commissioned Kathy to address related issues in marine economics and on commons problems.
Significant contributions concerning the use of legal rules such as liability to address environmental externalities can also be credited to Kathy. She was among the first researchers to study how different liability rules would affect firm behavior in a variety of environmental contexts. She developed models to evaluate the liability provisions of Superfund, and also the liability exemptions granted to farmers whose pesticides led to groundwater contamination.
Kathy’s work on regulatory issues provided the basis for adaptations to the regulation of fishing in a whole series of papers emanating from European researchers. Her work on capacity utilization in multiproduct industries, published in the Journal of Econometrics, has been characterized by some as an “instant classic” in the area.
In terms of service to our profession, Kathy also has an impressive record—far too many roles to be enumerated here. She has served as an Associate Editor for JEEM and AJAE as well as serving as co-editor of the latter. She has been a member of the Editorial Board of Contemporary Policy Issues since 1996 and for the International Yearbook in our field since 1999. She was a co-editor of the Ashgate series in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics from 2000-2005.
For AERE, Kathy has served on the Board of Directors, on the Program and Nominating Committees, as Vice-President in 1994-95, and has now stepped up again as President-Elect.
Kathy has served on two National Academy Committees, and on the EPA Science Advisory Board’s Environmental Economics Advisory Committee and the Executive Committee for the SAB, as well as numerous other review panels. It is truly exhausting to read her detailed vita.
We cannot fail to mention that Kathy has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors for her teaching and mentorship efforts at U Conn.
For her transformational insights about nonpoint pollution control and voluntary environmental agreements, and for her many insights concerning law-and-economics issues within environmental economics; for her dedication to her students and advisees despite there being no large program in environmental economics at her institution; for her extensive service in a federal or national advising capacity; and in recognition of her longstanding and generous service to AERE and to our profession, we today induct Kathleen Segerson as a 2007 Fellow of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. Congratulations, Kathy!