Nicholas Burger

Photo of Nicholas Burger
Economist; Associate Research Department Director, Economics, Sociology, and Statistics Department; 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 an economist at the RAND Corporation and the associate research department director of the Economics, Sociology, and Statistics Department. His work focuses on environmental economics and international development, including energy and climate change. His environmental economics research focuses on domestic and international energy, environmental, and climate policy. He was a lead author on the Fourth Assessment Report produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. At RAND Burger has assessed Abu Dhabi's environmental health risks, 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.

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. Recent work in Indonesia focuses on relaxing constraints to growth for small and medium sized enterprises.

Burger is also a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He received his Ph.D. in economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2008.

Pardee RAND Graduate School Courses

Recent Projects

  • Poverty-reduction program evaluation in Indonesia
  • Program evaluation of an agricultural training program in China
  • Agricultural biomass in cofired power plants
  • Economic costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions under a U.S. national renewable electricity mandate
  • Oil taxes to fund transportation and infrastructure

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