Karen Fisher-Vanden, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics
Karen Fisher-Vanden, Ph.D.
113 Armsby Building
University Park, PA 16802
Work Phone: 814-867-2752

Areas of Expertise

  • Computable general equilibrium modeling
  • Climate change impacts and adaptation
  • Integrated assessment


  1. Ph.D., Harvard University, 1999


Research Interests

My areas of research include economic and integrated assessment modeling for climate change impact and policy analysis; economic instruments for pollution control; and technology development in developing countries (in particular, China) and implications for energy use and carbon emissions. I am currently co-PI and co-director of two large externally-funded research projects: (1) Program on Coupled Human and Earth Systems (PCHES) and (2) Research in Integrated Assessment, Inter-Model Development, Testing and Diagnostics (PIAMDDI), both funded by the US Department of Energy.

Outreach/Extension Interests

I was a Lead Author of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report Working Group III, and a previous member of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) Product Development Advisory Committee and lead author of a congressionally-mandated CCSP report on global change scenarios. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERE) and was a member of the EPA Science Advisory Board on Economy-wide modeling.  My research in China involved international research collaborations with colleagues at the National Bureau of Statistics in China and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Current/Recent Courses

  • ERRE 497A: Environmental Economics, Policy, and Management
  • EEFE 532: Applied Computational Economics
  • AEREC/RSOC 590: Graduate Colloquium
  • CED 432: Economic Analysis of Environmental and Resource Policies

Recent Selected Publications

Fan, Q., K. Fisher-Vanden, and A. Klaiber, 2018, “Climate Change, Migration, and Regional Economic Impacts in the US,” Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, 5(3): 643-671.

Davlasheridze, M., K. Fisher-Vanden, A. Klaiber, 2017, “The Effects of Adaptation Measures on Hurricane Induced Property Losses,” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 81:93-114.

Fisher-Vanden, K., E. Mansur, Q. Wang, 2015, "Electricity Shortages and Firm Productivity: Evidence from China's Industrial Firms," Journal of Development Economics, 114: 172-188.

Fisher-Vanden, K. and S. Olmstead, 2013, “Moving Pollution Trading from Air to Water:  Potential, Problems, and Prognosis,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 27(1): 147-172.

Fisher-Vanden, K. and K. Thorburn, 2011, “Voluntary Corporate Environmental Initiatives and Shareholder Wealth,” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 62: 430-445.

Fisher-Vanden, K. and M.S. Ho, 2010, "Technology, Development, and the Environment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management , 59: 94-108.

Fisher-Vanden, K., and G. Jefferson, 2008, “Technology Diversity and Development: Evidence from China’s Industrial Enterprises.”  Journal of Comparative Economics, 36(4):658-672.

Breetz, H. and K. Fisher-Vanden.  2007.  "Does Cost-Share Replicate Water Quality Trading Projects? Implications for a Partnership Between Cost-share and Water Quality Trading."  Review of Agricultural Economics , 29(2), 201-215.

Fisher-Vanden, K., and M.S. Ho. 2007.  “How Do Market Reforms Affect China’s Responsiveness to Environmental Policy?” Journal of Development Economics , 82, 200-233.

Breetz, H., Fisher-Vanden, K., Jacobs, H. and C. Schary, 2005, “Trust and Communication: Mechanisms for Increasing Farmers’ Participation in Water Quality Trading.” Land Economics, 81(2), 170-190.

Fisher-Vanden, K., G. Jefferson,  H. Liu, and Q. Tao, 2004 “What is Driving China’s Decline in Energy Intensity?”  Resource and Energy Economics , 26(1), 77-97.