Mr Ben Balmford
+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 use our natural capital, and in the regulation of the natural environment. He completed a research year exploring various questions at the intersection of conservation and economics. Ben was then awarded a PhD studentship at the Univeristy of Exeter, starting in Septmeber 2017, to investigate how natural capital in the South West of the UK could be better managed.
B.A. Biological Sciences, University of Oxford, 2016 (1st Class Honours)
My research focusses on how we regulate the use of the natural environment to achieve better outcomes.
In my first year, using insights from game theory, I developed a framework of incentives to elicit optimal levels, and allocation, of pollution in a group of emitting firms, where the regulator has imperfect (group level) information on pollution. The result was a set of incentives which could achieve first-best levels of pollution, and even out perform a Pigouvian tax under particular conditions. We developed a lab experiment to test these insights, and found robust evidence that the mechansim would work in practice.
More recently, I have been exploring the possibility of using auctions to contract for environmental services. In the UK, auctions have seldom been used in the procurment of environmental services, despite the efficiency gains they may offer. I am looking at how auctions may be best designed to optimise these efficiecy gains, and understanding whether such insights translate into real world improvements for PES schemes. This work which is done in partnership with various water companies, and I am very grateful for their support.
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I thoroughly enjoy teaching, and have acted as a postgraduate teaching assitant for microeconomics and environmental economics courses.