Behavioral and experimental economics – Behavioural economics seeks to take into account various elements of human behavior that are absent in the standard economics framework. For example, people have cognitive limitations, are not solely motivated by economic gains, and their decisions are often influenced by the social context in which they find themselves. Behavioural economics is a field that blends economics with psychology and sociology.

 

Valuation – Similar to other Southeast Asian countries, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Thailand are facing conservation-development dilemmas and are beginning to turn to conservation financing mechanisms such as payments for ecosystem services (PES). Based on our belief that improved understanding of the economic values of ecosystems services is essential to sound policy design, one of the focal area of interests of the EEI-LMS is therefore valuing the protection of biodiversity, endangered species, ecological functions, and natural ecosystems in terms of cultural and recreational values. Also an area where valuation work can contribute is in the assessment of the economic value of the damages to natural resources. The EEI-LMS will continue the work initiated by EEPSEA making valuation methodology and results accessible to those who are involved in natural resources damage assessment, particularly members of the justices who preside over environmental conflict cases.

 

Cost-Benefit analysis (CBA) – Cost-Benefit analysis is an important tool for evaluating the economic aspects of various policies, programs, and initiatives in environmental and natural resource management. Our research contribution in this area will be mainly to present evidence on environmental values that should be captured in cost-benefit calculations.

 

Natural resources economics – Natural resources economics deals with allocation of natural resources over time for both renewable natural resources and non-renewable resources. Because of public good nature of these natural resources and their service flows, competitive market cannot be relied on to use these resources efficiently. Natural Resource Economics suggests policy intervention in situations where markets fail to maximize social welfare over time. Our research focuses on how natural resources are allocated under alternative economic institutions with the goal of developing a sustainable and efficient economy.

 

Economics of pollution – Economics of pollution investigates an optimum level of pollution where society’s wellbeing is maximized with respect to environmental quality. Optimal pollution level occurs where net benefit is maximized. Lack of environmental property rights is fundamental reason for too much pollution. Economics of pollution suggests policy intervention in form of command and control measure and economic instrument to maximize social welfare. The EEI-LMS research will be mainly provide evidence to answer these kind of questions, for example, how much pollution should be allowed or is optimal and how should the optimal level be achieved.