Mr Ben Balmford
PhD Candidate in Economics
+44 (0) 1392 72
Xfi Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4ST, UK
Ben completed an undergraduate degree in Biological Science at the Univeristy of Oxford. It was there that he became increasingly interested in how we manage use of our natural environment. He completed a research year exploring various questions at the intersection of environmental science and economics before being awarded a PhD studentship at the Univeristy of Exeter, which started in 2017.
His research is primarily focussed on mechanism design in the context of the environment. Ben uses a variety of methods; developing simple models to capture the essence of the problem, and then typically combining these with data, either from the lab or the real world (be that RCTs or quasi-experimental evidence).
B.A. Biological Sciences, University of Oxford, 2016 (1st Class Honours)
My research has focusses on understanding how institutions can be developed to better facilitate efficient use of the natural environment. I very much see this research agenda as being motivated by an aim to improve real-world outcomes, and hence relish the work I do with external stakeholders such as governmental departments and water companies. My first chapter aims to understand how mechanisms can be developed which minimise monitoring costs while achieving efficient group-level effort with a least-cost distribution. The later chapters then focus on the design of reverse auctions, explicitly accounting for the multitude of ways in which auctions for the purchase of environmental goods differ from the standard model of single units, fixed number of bidders, no outside option, and one-off auctions.
Alongside my PhD, I have enjoyed pursuing projects exploring how estimates of the Value for a Statistical Life are caclulated, as well as understanding the role of government intervention in limiting the death-toll of Covid-19. I also had previous experience researching the impact of imperfections in land-sparing on outcomes for biodiversity. A full list of my publications is given below:
6. B. Balmford, J.D. Annan, J.C. Hargreaves, M. Altoé, I.J. Bateman (2020). Cross-Country Comparisons
of Covid-19: Policy, Politics and the Price of Life. Environmental and Resource Economics.
5. A. Balmford, B. Fisher, G.M. Mace, D.S. Wilcove, B. Balmford (2020) COVID-19: Analogues and
lessons for tackling the extinction and climate crises. Current Biology.
4. B. Balmford, I.J. Bateman, K. Bolt, B.H. Day, S. Ferrini (2019) The Value of Statistical Life for
Adults and Children: Comparisons of the contingent valuation and chained approaches. Resource and
Energy Economics (SI in honour of Greg Poe).
3. B. Balmford, R.E. Green, M. Onial, B. Phalan, A. Balmford (2019) How imperfect can land sparing be
before land sharing is more favourable for wild species? Journal of Applied Ecology, 56, 1, 73-84.
2. I.J. Bateman, B. Balmford (2018) Public funding for public goods: A post-Brexit perspective on
principles for agricultural policy. Land Use Policy, 79, 293-300.
1. B. Balmford, J. Balmford, A. Balmford, S. Blakeman, A. Manica, R.M. Cowling (2006) Diurnal versus
nocturnal pollination of Brunsvigia gregaria R.A. Dyer (Amaryllidaceae) at a coastal site. South African
Journal of Botany, 72, 2, 291-294.
Publications by category
Publications by year
I have acted as a small group tutor since starting my PhD at the University of Exeter. In my first year, I taught on the first year undergraduate microeconomics course. In years two and three I was a tutor for second year micro as well as the environmental economics course (second and third years).