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Joel Landry

Joel Landry

Office Address: 
124 Hosler Building
Assistant Professor of Environmental and Energy Economics
PDF icon Curriculum Vitae (103.61 KB)
  • Environmental economics
  • Energy economics
  • Public Finance
  • Political Economy
  • Ph.D. (Economics and Computer Science minor) Cornell University, 2014.
  • M.S. (Public Policy) University of Maryland at College Park, 2007.
  • B.A. (Economics) Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (magna cum laude) December 2003.
  • B.A. (Political Science and Philosophy minor) Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (magna cum laude) December 2003
John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering


Many governments seek to advance public policies that aim to improve the welfare of their citizens.  Often these efforts are inadequate, and in some instances, may even make things worse. This is especially true for two of society’s most pressing environmental and energy challenges: addressing anthropogenic climate change and ensuring access to affordable, clean energy for all citizens.

My research focuses on the welfare evaluation of imperfect or ‘second-best’ public policies.  Thematically, my research examines large-scale public policies that target significant market failures, with a particular focus on public policies related to climate change, energy and transportation systems, and the urban sector. Methodologically, my research explores these themes using and advancing theoretical and empirical models grounded in the fields of environmental and energy economics, public finance, and political economy, such as computational general equilibrium models, optimal power flow models, models of strategic regulatory decision-making, and models of political economy.

The imperfections I examine through my research span two interrelated areas:

1.  The welfare evaluation of current and proposed policies given the presence of pre-existing policy distortions and multiple market failures, and,

2.  The evaluation of the incentives, institutions, and decision-making processes that explain why imperfect policies often emerge. 

In short, the when and why, public policies succeed or fail. For additional details, please see my past and current research

As large-scale environmental and energy problems demand complex interdisciplinary answers, I am interested in developing quality interactions with both economists and non-economists that seek to integrate economic models with models of political economy, physical, engineering, chemical, electrical, and ecological systems. To this end, an ideal collaboration is one which fosters and extends our knowledge of and the tools of economics at the same time that it extends your primary field of knowledge. My educational background and current research demonstrate both this commitment as well as its promise to deepen our knowledge in profound ways. Please feel free to contact me, should you be interested in such a collaboration. 

 Prior to joining Penn State in 2014, I completed my PhD at Cornell University where I studied environmental and energy economics and was a member of Dr. Antonio M. Bento's research group.  I also hold a M.S. in Public Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park, where I studied environmental and development policy, and two B.A.s in economic and political science from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Primary Fields: Environmental Economics, Energy Economics

Secondary Fields: Public Finance, Political Economy

Topics: Climate Change, Energy Systems, Welfare Evaluation of Public Policy, Optimal Design of Public Policy, Estimation and Validation of Structural Models

  • "Are there Carbon Savings from US Biofuel Policies? The Critical Importance of Accounting for Leakage in Land and Fuel Markets" (with Antonio M. Bento and Richard Klotz).  2015. The Energy Journal, 36(3): 75-109.  Supplementary Appendix.  Executive Summary.
  • "Does Titling Matter? Evidence from Housing Markets in India" (with Antonio M. Bento and Somik Lall). The Review of Regional Studies, forthcoming November 2018.  Supplementary Appendix.
  • "On the Trade-Offs of Regulating Multiple Unpriced Externalities with a Single Instrument: Evidence from Biofuel Policies" (with Antonio M. Bento).  Supplementary Appendix.  Revisions requested. This version November 2016.

Papers Under Review

  • "Marginal Emissions from Expansions in Clean Technology are Non-constant and Policy Dependent—Implications for Mitigation Pledges" (with Richard Klotz and Antonio M. Bento). Supplementary Appendix. Last updated January 2017.
  • "Think Globally, Cap Locally, and Trade Often: The Critical Importance of Virtual Markets for Efficient Decentralized Policymaking in the Presence of Spillovers".  Supplementary Appendix. Last updated September 2018.

Working Papers

  • "How Disagreement Regarding Climate Change Affects Federal and State Efforts to Address It" Supplementary Appendix.
  • "Understanding the Relative Importance of Damage Internalization, Spillback, and Terms of Trade Distortions in Decentralized Efforts to Address Climate Change".
  • "Who’s Ready to Trade? The Welfare Implications of Voluntary Emissions Trading Within Regional Electricity Markets" (with An Pham).
  • "Should We Tax or Subsidize E-Cigarettes? Identifying the Optimal Price Instrument In the Presence of Dynamic Health Trade-offs" (with Kyle Rozema)

Works in Progress

  • "Linking Housing and Automobile Purchase Decisions: Do Housing Supply Regulations Promote Green Cities?" (with Antonio M. Bento, Sanket Roy, and Edson Severnini).
  • "A Political Economy Analysis of the Best System of Emissions Reductions Under the Clean Power Plan" (with Joseph Perla).
  • "The Unintended Congestion Cost Impacts of Solar Subsidies in California" (with Andrew R. Waxman and An Pham)