Nicholas Burger

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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 conducting research in the areas of environmental economics and international development. He is also associate research department director of the Economics, Sociology, and Statistics Department and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. 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, and he participated in the development process for California's cap and trade program to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets. At RAND Burger assessed Abu Dhabi's environmental health risks, co-authored a report on designing viable climate change policies, and estimated the costs of renewable energy sources, especially biomass energy. He is also part of a team that is implementing a three-year randomized control trial to evaluate a farmer training program in China that is designed reduce negative environmental impacts of farming.

Burger's 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. His research also focuses on governance and corruption issues, including an assessment of corruption in the police in Mexico and, through work with the World Bank, analyzing the construction and effectiveness of governance indicators.

Burger received his Ph.D. in economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2008.

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