Associate Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies
Unlike many of her undergraduate students, Rebecca discovered economics late in life. After majoring in biology and music at Smith College, she went on to get a masters of science in ecology from the University of Minnesota as she pursued a career as an environmental advocate. Increasingly frustrated by the polarized nature of questions involving the environment and the economy, Rebecca resolved to learn "a little" economics, so that she could better characterize and address problems affecting the two overlapping spheres of human life.
Rebecca received a Ph.D. in economics from Duke University.
She remains interested in ways economics can inform environmental decision-making, and how environmental constraints might inform economics. She has published research and presented papers on the economics of endangered species preservation, municipal recycling programs, and willingness-to-pay for environmental amenities. Additionally, Rebecca's research interests have expanded to include other areas of the economy where a free, unfettered market might fail to bring about the most efficient or desirable result. She has worked with the (former) governor of the state of Minnesota as part of a task force examining equity in educational opportunity for Minnesota public school students She presently serves on the national task force charged with writing the Lutheran social statement on economic justice for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She serves as an economic advisor to JOBS NOW, a non-partisan research and educational organization concerned with entry-level job availability and compensation.