Nicholas Burger

Senior Economist; Director, Center for Research and Policy in International Development (RAPID); Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Washington Office


Ph.D. in economics, University of California, Santa Barbara; B.A. in economics and philosophy, University of Southern California

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Nicholas Burger is a senior economist at the RAND Corporation, the director of the Center for Research and Policy in International Development (RAPID), and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His work focuses on environmental economics and international development, including energy and climate change. He was a lead author on the Fourth Assessment Report produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. At RAND, Burger has co-authored a report on designing viable climate change policies and estimated the costs of renewable energy. He recently completed a three-year randomized control trial to evaluate a farmer training program in China that is designed to reduce negative environmental impacts of farming. He was part of a team that contributed analysis to the first Quadrennial Energy Review through the Department of Energy.

Burger's other international development work includes studying constraints to growth of the private health sector in sub-Saharan Africa and evaluating one of Indonesia's major community-driven development anti-poverty programs. He led a team that assessed ways to relax constraints to growth for small and medium sized enterprises in Indonesia, and he recently completed an analysis of innovative affordable housing models in India.

Burger received his Ph.D. in economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Pardee RAND Graduate School Courses

Recent Projects

  • Poverty-reduction program evaluation in Indonesia
  • Program evaluation of an agricultural training program in China
  • Reforming Policies for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises In Indonesia
  • Economic costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions under a U.S. national renewable electricity mandate
  • The Socioeconomic Effects of the Working Poor Moving to Permanent Dwellings

Selected Publications

Burger, Nicholas, Daniel Kopf, Connor P. Spreng, Joanne Yoong, and Neeraj Sood, "Healthy Firms: Constraints to Growth Among Private Health Sector Facilities in Ghana and Kenya," PLoS ONE, 7(2):e27885, 2012

Crane, Keith, Nicholas Burger, and Martin Wachs, "Putting a Tax on Oil," Public Works Management Policy, 17(3):256–282, 2012

Burger, Nicholas, Gary Charness, and John Lynhamc, "Field and Online Experiments on Self-Control," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 77:393–404, 2011

Sood, Neeraj, Nicholas Burger, Joanne Yoong, Dan Kopf, and Connor Spreng, "Firm-Level Perspectives on Public Sector Engagement with Private Healthcare Providers: Survey Evidence from Ghana and Kenya," PLoS ONE, 6(11):e27194, 2011

Crane, Keith, Aimee E. Curtright, David S. Ortiz, Constantine Samaras, Nicholas Burger, "The Economic Costs of Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions under a U.S. National Renewable Electricity Mandate," Energy Policy, 39:2730–2739, 2011

Burger, Nicholas, and John Lynham, "Betting on Weight Loss... and Losing: Personal Gambles as Commitment Mechanisms," Applied Economics Letters, 17(2):1161–1166, 2010

Burger, Nicholas, and Daniel T. Kaffine, "Gas Prices, Traffic, and Freeway Speeds in Los Angeles," The Review of Economics and Statistics, 91(3):652–657, 2009

Kotchen, Matthew J., and Nicholas Burger, "Should We Drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? An Economic Perspective," Energy Policy, 35:4720–4729, 2007

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: KPCC-FM Online; WalletHub