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Associate Professor and Program Chair, International Environmental Policy; Director, Center for the Blue Economy

Jason Scorse
Craig Building K22
(831) 647-3548

Jason Scorse completed his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics at UC-Berkley in 2005 with a focus on environmental economics and policy, international development, and behavioral economics. Upon graduation, he became a full-time faculty member of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He teaches courses in environmental and natural resource economics, ocean and coastal economics, behavioral economics, and sustainable development. In 2009 he was promoted to the Chair of the International Environmental Policy Program, and in 2011 Professor Scorse became the Director of the new Center for the Blue Economy, which provides “leadership in research, education, and analytics to promote a sustainable Blue Economy.” Professor Scorse has consulted for major environmental organizations, and in 2010 his book What Environmentalists Need to Know About Economics was published by Palgrave Macmillan. Dr. Scorse holds a position on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Research Activities Panel and is the MIIS faculty liaison for Stanford’s MARINE program. In his spare time he longboards, cooks gourmet vegan food and promotes the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, and writes fiction for when he starts his new career after we’ve solved all of the world’s great environmental challenges.

Courses Taught

Courses offered in the past four years.

  • Current term
  • Upcoming term(s)

The purpose of this course is to develop advanced economic skills applied to development and resource issues in the world’s oceans and coasts. The course will focus heavily on analytical and data-driven techniques that can help illuminate the costs and benefits of various policies in the ocean and coastal zones, using a variety of metrics, and incorporating environmental and social values. The course will be divided into two parts: Market economics and coastal planning with Prof. DePaolis and non-market economics with Prof. Scorse.

Student participation in both of these sections will be high, involving many in-class assignments, lab sessions, and extended discussions. Students will be expected to engage in original data collection, analysis, and research. This is an intensive course geared for people who want to pursue careers in marine-related fields, although the topics are more broadly applicable to a range of conservation and development-related careers.

GIS is recommended.

Spring 2017 - MIIS, Spring 2018 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

Food choices have huge social and environmental impacts, and yet they are very difficult to modify due to the strong inertia of habit, culture, and taste, not to mention the tremendous power of food marketing and lobbying. But these choices are malleable, and change in the direction of healthier foods that require fewer resources to produce can lead to profound improvements in overall human well-being. This course will engage students in the theories of behavior design applied to food choices. Students will run experiments to test different approaches, with an emphasis on multiple events during Earth Week in late April. The course is open to all MIIS students with no prerequisites.

Spring 2018 - MIIS, MIIS Second Half of Term

View in Course Catalog

The purpose of this course is to develop competency in economic theory as it relates to environmental issues, and the analytical skills necessary to evaluate, as well as craft, effective, efficient, and just environmental policies. We will highlight policies that influence (both directly and indirectly) the environment and natural resource use, and analyze their implications. The emphasis will be on identifying and assessing the appropriate economic tools for addressing current environmental issues. Students will learn how to “think like an economist,” which may not make for great party conversation, but is essential for conversing intelligently about the world’s major environmental problems and developing solutions.

Fall 2016 - MIIS, Fall 2017 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

The primary purpose of this speaker series is to introduce incoming IEP students who are pursuing the “Ocean and Coastal Resource Management” concentration to a wide range of cutting-edge interdisciplinary topics. (In order to be eligible for the CBE Summer Fellows Program students must enroll in this course—auditing is acceptable—in addition to committing to the 16 units of advanced coursework in their second year.)

The series will include topics from the local to international levels, with a focus on the policy and economic implications. Students are encouraged to use these talks as networking opportunities, catalysts for future research, and most importantly, to help focus their career goals.

The series is open to all IEP and IPM students interested in ocean and coastal issues, as well as members of the MARINE network and the larger Monterey community.

Fall 2016 - MIIS, Fall 2017 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

Areas of Interest

Dr. Scorse believes strongly that the innovation in public policy is in the implementation since we already have the basic theories worked out about what we need to do; the difficult part is the how. To that end, he believes a greater understanding of psychology, sociological, communication, and political economy are needed, because there is a lot of power and inertia behind the status quo. Dr. Scorse also believes strongly that along with shifting our energy systems away from fossil fuels to renewable sources, just as important for sustainability is a shift away from animal foods to a plant-based lifestyle.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Berkeley, 2005

Dr. Scorse has been teaching at the Institute since 2004.


  • Scorse, Jason. What Environmentalists Need to Know about Economics. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2010.
  • Scorse, Jason (2010). Freeing the Market to Address Climate Change. The Solutions Journal, 1(6):29-32.
  • Harrison, Ann, and Scorse, Jason. (2010). Multinationals and Anti-sweatshop Activism, American Economic Review, 100(1): 247–273.
  • Scorse, Jason. (2009) Non-Market Valuation of Ocean Resources in the National Ocean Economics Report (Judy Kildow ed.), National Ocean Economics Program, Moss Landing, CA.
  • Harrison, Ann & Scorse, Jason. (2009). Do Foreign Firms Pay More? Evidence from the Indonesian Manufacturing Sector in Labour Markets and Economic Development, (Ravi Kanbur and Jan Svejnar eds.), Routledge Press, New York.
  • Scorse, Jason. (2009). Making Matters Worse. The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Response, 1(1):1-6 PDF Icon中文
  • Harrison, Ann & Jason Scorse. (2006). Improving the Conditions of Workers? Minimum Wage Legislation and Anti-Sweatshop Activism. California Management Review, 2 (48):144-160. (Also issued as a Harvard Business School case study) Harrison, Ann & Scorse, Jason. 2004.
  • Harrison, Ann & Jason Scorse. (2004). The Impact of Globalization on Compliance with Labor Standards: A Plant- Level Study in Brookings Trade Forum 2003 (Susan Collins and Dani Rodrik eds.), Brookings Institution Press, Washington D.C.
  • Scorse, Jason. (2001). Reflections on the Free Trade Debate. Economia Rural, 1 (12):8-11.

Working Papers

  • Does Being a "Top 10" Worst Polluter Affect Facility Environmental Releases? Evidence from the U.S. Toxic Release Inventory (coauthored with Wolfram Schlenker), 2012.
  • Environmental Policy and the Social Contract, 2012.
  • The WTO's Environmental Mandate, 2011.
  • The Capitalist Conundrum, 2010.
  • Moving Beyond the Stale "Environment vs. Economy" Debate, 2010
  • Book review of Economic Thought and U.S. Climate Change Policy. Edited by David M. Driesen. Cambridge, MA. MIT Press, 2010.
  • Strong-Cvetich, Nikolas and Scorse, Jason. (2008). Ecotourism in Post-Conflict Peace-Building Ecoclub: International Ecotourism Magazine, 8 (96):10-17.
  • Why Environmentalists Should Embrace Economics, 2006.
  • Do Foreign Firms Pay More? Evidence from the Indonesian Manufacturing Sector 1990-1999. International Labor Organization, Working Paper No. 98, 2005 (coauthored with Ann Harrison and submitted).
  • Is There Acquiescence in Yes-No Questions? (coauthored with Michael Hanemann & Jon Krosnick), 2005.
  • Harrison, Ann & Jason Scorse. 2004. Moving Up or Moving Out? Anti-Sweatshop Activists and Labor Market Outcomes, National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. w10492.