Christopher Costello

Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics




Research Interests:

I am a professor of Environmental and Resource Economics at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, UC Santa Barbara. My research concerns natural resource management and property rights under uncertainty, with a particular emphasis on information, its value, and its effect on management decisions. My work combines theoretical work from economics with empirical analysis, often to inform policy.  My topical interests include fisheries management, biological diversity, introduced species, regulation of polluting industries, and marine policy, and I frequently collaborate with researchers outside of economics such as statistics, ecology, biogeography, and mathematics.

I recently returned from sabbatical at LAMETA in Montpellier, France.

Christopher Costello's CV      

Prospective Students: Feel free to contact me.  Please note:



Mailing Address:
Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
4410 Bren Hall
UC Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA  93106-5131

Office Location: 4410 Bren Hall
Office Hours: By appointment

Phone: (805) 893-5802
Fax: (805) 893-7612



Graduate Student Advisees

Dan Kaffine (2007)
Danís research is in spatial modeling and the economic and ecological consequences of incomplete spatial property rights. Dan earned his PhD in 2007 and is an Associate Professor at University of Colorado.



Antonio Lloret (2007)
Antonio is interested in informal international environmental agreements. Antonio earned his PhD in 2007 and is an Assistant Professor in the Business School at ITAM in Mexico City.



Mike Springborn (2008)
Mikeís research is in environmental decision making under uncertainty with learning. He earned his PhD in 2008 and is an Assistant Professor at UC Davis.



John Lynham (2008)
John works at the intersection of environmental economics and behavioral economics, with a mix of theory and empirical analysis, often focused on natural resources. He earned his PhD in Economics and his Masters in Ecology in 2008 and is an Assistant Professor at University of Hawaii.



Marc Conte (2008)
Marcís research is in the valuation and management of ecosystem services, using a mix of empirics and theory. Marc is an Assistant Professor at Fordham University.



Chris Guo (2012)
Chris works on learning and adaptation in energy and environmental economics.  He is researcher at the RAND Corporation.





Current Professional Involvement

  • Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)


  • Board Member: Seafood Watch Science Advisory Committee (Monterey Bay Aquarium). 2012-Present.

Major Research Areas

Sustainable Fisheries Group:
As the lead economist, Costello and colleagues take science to solutions involving property rights and fisheries conservation and management.

Uncertainty and Learning:
Much of Costello's research concerns decision making under uncertainty.

Environmental Markets:
How to design and evaluate the performance of markets for environmental goods.


Courses Taught




Natural Resource Economics Policy


Environmental Modeling


Economics of Environmental Management


Statistics & Data Analysis For Environmental Problem Solving


5 Selected Journal Articles

Reforming fisheries: lessons from a self-selected cooperative(with R. Deacon and D. Parker). Journal of Law and Economics. 56: 83-125 (2013)

The value of adaptation: climate change and timberland management.(with C. Guo). Journal of Environmental Economics & Management. In Press. (2013)

Status and solutions for the world's unassessed fisheries (with D. Ovando, S. Lester, S. Gaines, O. Deschenes, R. Hilborn)Science. (2012)

A market approach to save the whales. (with L. Gerber and S. Gaines). Nature, 481:139-140. (2012)

Can catch shares prevent fisheries collapse? (with S. Gaines and J. Lynham). Science. 321: 1678-1681. (2008).