The Harvard Environmental Economics Program has, for the seventh consecutive year, awarded three prizes to Harvard University students for the best research papers addressing a topic in environmental, energy, or natural-resource economics—one prize each for an undergraduate paper or senior thesis, master’s student paper, and doctoral student paper. Each prize was accompanied by a monetary award. The Harvard Environmental Economics Program (HEEP) is a University-wide initiative based in the Harvard Kennedy School’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government that seeks to develop innovative answers to today’s complex environmental challenges.

The papers were judged by Joseph Aldy, Associate Professor of Public Policy; William Hogan, Raymond Plank Professor of Global Energy Policy; and Robert Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government and HEEP Director. All three reviewers are Faculty Fellows of HEEP at the Harvard Kennedy School. The prizes were supported by the Enel Endowment for Environmental Economics at Harvard University.

Robert Stavins noted, “This year we received a record number of submissions in each of the three categories. The papers exhibited an impressive understanding of environmental, energy, and natural-resource policy—and of approaches to understanding these issues from the discipline of economics. We are delighted that the HEEP paper competition has engaged students across the University, and we hope it serves to encourage further research on this set of issues in the future.”

The Winners are:

The Enel Endowment Prize for the Best Paper by a Doctoral Student

There are two co-recipients of the Enel Endowment Prize this year:

Samuel Stolper, “Who Bears the Burden of Energy Taxes? The Critical Role of Pass-Through.” Ph.D. candidate in Public Policy. Committee Chair: Joseph Aldy, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School.

Daniel Sullivan, “The True Cost of Air Pollution: Evidence from House Prices and Migration.” Ph.D. Candidate in Economics. Committee Chair: David Cutler, Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics, Department of Economics.

The Mossavar-Rahmani Center Prize for the Best Paper by a Master’s Student

Samuel Etter and Jared Westheim, “Exploring New Financing Mechanisms for Forest Restoration: Environmental Pay-for-Success and Its Alternatives.” Second Year Policy Analysis Exercise (or “PAE,” Master in Public Policy capstone project). Advisor: Jeffrey Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School. PAE Seminar Leader: Philip Hanser, Senior Associate, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, Harvard Kennedy School.

The HEEP Prize for the Best Senior Thesis or Undergraduate Paper

Jacob Bradt, “‘A Room with a View’: Examining Changes in the Marginal Implicit Price of Flood Risk in Coastal Housing Markets Using the Hedonic Price Function.” Senior Thesis submitted for the concentration in Environmental Science and Public Policy. Thesis Advisor: James Stock, Harold Hitchings Burbank Professor of Political Economy, Department of Economics.

Honorable Mention for the HEEP Prize for the Best Senior Thesis or Undergraduate Paper

Sierra Fan, “A Breath of Fresh Air: A CGE Approach to Carbon and Pollutant Taxes in China.” Senior Thesis submitted for the concentration in Economics. Thesis Advisor: Dale Jorgenson, Samuel W. Morris University Professor, Department of Economics.


Further information about the prize-winners:

Jacob Bradt will receive his Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science and Public Policy, with Economics as a Secondary Field, in May 2016. Jacob was an intern in the White House Council on Environmental Quality (summer 2015), where he Assisted the National Environmental Policy Act Team. He has also served as an intern in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (summer 2014).

Samuel Etter will receive his Master in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School in May 2016, where he has focused on international trade and finance. Samuel was an intern with McKinsey & Company (summer 2015), serving on consulting teams to various companies. He was an intelligence analyst with the U.S. Navy (2008-2015), including in Afghanistan. Samuel graduated summa cum laude from Bentley College, with a major in international affairs and business.

Sierra Fan will receive her Bachelor of Arts in Economics, with Energy and the Environment as a secondary field, in May 2016. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a senior. Sierra is a Founding Member of Energy Access Finance, a startup company building a project-finance platform for solar-powered commercial diesel offset and rural microgrid projects in developing countries (summer 2014). She has also worked as an analyst for Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong (summer 2015).

Samuel Stolper will receive his Ph.D. in Public Policy in May 2016. Sam received his bachelor’s degree, with honors, in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University. Sam will be a Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT beginning summer 2016, affiliated with the MIT Energy Initiative and other programs. Beginning fall 2017, he will be Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment.

Daniel Sullivan will receive his Ph.D. in Economics in May 2016. As a doctoral student, his principal fields have been environmental economics, public economics, and real estate. Daniel received his bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in Economics and Mathematics from Brigham Young University. He will be a Research Fellow at Resources for the Future beginning summer 2016.

Jared Westheim will receive his Master in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School in May 2016. He worked in the office of the Governor of California (summer 2015), where he helped draft policy for water, forests, and agriculture. He is a Co-Founder of Tomato Jos—a for-profit social enterprise that grows and processes tomatoes near Jos, Nigeria. Jared graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College, with a major in philosophy.


Further information about sponsors:

The Enel Endowment for Environmental Economics at Harvard University was established in February 2007 through a generous capital gift from Enel SpA, a progressive Italian corporation involved in energy production worldwide.

HEEP is based in the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard Kennedy School. The Center’s mission is to advance the state of knowledge and policy analysis concerning some of society’s most challenging problems at the interface of the public and private sectors.


Bryan Galcik
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