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Resource Economics

About the Department

The Department of Resource Economics has 14 faculty and about 20 graduate students (one-third Ph.D.). We place special emphases on faculty-student interaction and cooperation among faculty. We share a fundamental commitment to teach and attract a diverse student body. The University is part of the 5-College Consortium in the beautiful Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, with excellent social, cultural, and recreational amenities in a town and rural setting. We are 2 hours from Boston and 3 hours from New York City.

What is Resource Economics?

Life is full of choices, and choices force us to make decisions among alternatives. For example, as individuals we choose whether to use our money to take a vacation or to buy a new computer.

As members of a community, our choices become much more complex. Do we place limits on new housing developments (which provide the town's tax income) in order to preserve open space and protect the water supply? Are we more willing to watch our own taxes rise, watch our town services get cut, or watch the fields we adore disappear?

Most choices involve tradeoffs as we debate just what is the best option, but sometimes we can find creative solutions that allow us to achieve one good without sacrificing the other.

Resource economists are trained in decision making and crafting policies designed to address the entire micro-macro spectrum of issues ranging from tools to run firms well to writing policies to confront problems when markets alone fail to deliver optimal outcomes.

They carefully weigh the options about how resources are developed, allocated, and used. And they have skills to formulate creative solutions when no easy answers are apparent. Their research, analyses, and recommendations affect all of us as members of society or as citizens of planet Earth.

And you thought “Paper or Plastic?” was an easy question.

Life is full of choices logo


starting new green businesses to address past problems?

looking at our food supply system and its environmental impact?

advising how to use our land and water?

improving food policies?

improving environmental policies?

making decisions in small, medium and big companies?

addressing health issues often arising from changes in our environment?

helping consumers make sense of a complex barrage of goods and services?

helping households manage their finances in tough times as well as in the good times?

We Are!