Keith Crane

Photo of Keith Crane
Senior Economist
Washington Office


Ph.D. and M.A. in economics, Indiana University; B.A. in international studies, University of Minnesota

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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Keith Crane is a senior economist at the RAND Corporation. His primary interest is developing and evaluating policy options for addressing climate change. He is also engaged in issues pertaining to U.S. energy production and consumption, China, the Middle East, Afghanistan, the transition economies of Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, and post-conflict nation building. In 2003, he served as an economic policy advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad.

Prior to rejoining RAND in February 2002, Crane was chief operating officer and director of research at PlanEcon, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based research and consulting firm focusing on Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics. During his tenure at PlanEcon, Crane provided analysis and economic forecasts used in over 100 major investments in the region. He writes extensively on transition issues in policy and academic journals and briefs high-level decisionmakers. Crane received his Ph.D. in economics from Indiana University.

Recent Projects

  • Assessing the effectiveness of China's industrial policies in commercial aviation manufacturing
  • Assessing the implications of imposing a tax on oil to finance transportation infrastructure
  • Assessing U.S. counternarcotics policies in Afghanistan
  • Assessing the costs of reducing coal consumption in China
  • Assessing the Potential for U.S. Exports of Fossil Fuels

Selected Publications

Keith Crane, Liisa Ecola, Shanthi Nataraj, and Scott Hassel, Energy Service Analysis: An Alternative Approach for Identifying Opportunities to Reduce Emissions of Greenhouse Gases, RAND (TR-1170-NREL), 2012

Keith Crane, Future Challenges for the Arab World: The Implications of Demographic and Economic Trends, RAND (TR-912-AF), 2011

Keith Crane, Aimee E. Curtright, David S. Ortiz, Constantine Samaras and Nicholas Burger, "The economic costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions under a U.S. national renewable electricity mandate," Energy Policy, 39(5):2730-2739, 2011

Keith Crane, Nicholas Burger, and Martin Wachs, The Option of an Oil Tax to Fund Transportation and Infrastructure, RAND (OP-320), 2011

Keith Crane, James Dobbins, Laurel E. Miller, Charles P. Ries, Christopher S. Chivvis, Marla C. Haims, Marco Overhaus, Heather Lee Schwartz, Elizabeth Wilke, Building a More Resilient Haitian State, RAND (MG-1039), 2010

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Agence France Presse; Associated Press; Bloomberg News; C-SPAN; Chicago Tribune; CNN; CQ Weekly; Harper's Magazine; Houston Business Journal; International Oil Daily; Los Angeles Times; Marketplace Radio; National Iranian American Council; National Journal; National Public Radio; New York Times; PBS; Reuters; South China Morning Post; Voice of America

Commentary: Christian Science Monitor; CNN; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; U.S. News & World Report; Wall Street Journal


  • Pumpjack and oil refinery plant in West Texas

    What Will Happen After the Oil Export Ban Is Repealed?

    Without the crude oil export ban, producers could sell their product abroad without discounting it, and the Gulf Coast refineries could specialize in the heavier oil for which they are optimized. On the whole, the global refining industry would likely enjoy efficiency gains.

    Dec 22, 2015 The RAND Blog

  • Rigging equipment is pictured in a field outside of Sweetwater, Texas, June 4, 2015

    Why Selling Oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Is a Bad Idea

    Some lawmakers are proposing a sell-off of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to finance highway and bridge work. This is a shortsighted strategy.

    Sep 15, 2015 Wall Street Journal

  • Forbidden City on a foggy day in Beijing, China

    China Can Fix Its Severe Pollution Problem

    China's economic transformation over the last three decades has produced potentially deadly air pollution its people inhale every day. But an investment of $215 billion annually could substantially reduce pollution, lessen its drag on productivity, spare the lungs of countless people, and save lives.

    Jan 19, 2015 U.S. News & World Report

  • People walk along the street soon after, what locals say, was recent shelling by Ukrainian forces, in Donetsk on August 20, 2014

    Make Russia an Offer on Ukraine It Can't Refuse

    An international initiative that does not appear to emanate from NATO or the EU could help bring Russia to the table, in part by accepting that Moscow, too, has a role. An international peacekeeping force could open the way for a negotiated end to the conflict.

    Aug 20, 2014 CNN

  • Aerial photo of highway

    Consider Taxing Miles Traveled

    Mileage-fee rates could be structured to reduce congestion, harmful emissions and excessive road wear, and the enabling technology could support a range of value-added services offering greater convenience and safety for motorists, writes Keith Crane.

    Apr 19, 2013 Wall Street Journal Online

  • coal and dollars

    A Gradually Escalating Carbon Tax Would Allow Businesses and Consumers Time to Prepare

    A conservative, cost-efficient response to climate change involves sending price signals to people and businesses now so that they take steps to reduce emissions, writes Keith Crane.

    Mar 29, 2013 Wall Street Journal Online

  • An array of solar panels

    Why China's Suntech Might Not Be Alone in Heading Toward Bankruptcy

    Demand for photovoltaic solar panels still primarily depends on government subsidies, as in most parts of the world solar power remains more expensive than conventional sources of electricity, says Keith Crane.

    Mar 29, 2013 The RAND Blog

  • paying for gas at pump

    Prices Will Still Be Dictated by World Markets and the Middle East Will Continue to Bedevil Policymakers

    Even if the United States no longer imports oil from the Middle East, the United States will still be vulnerable to oil price shocks driven by developments in the Middle East, writes Keith Crane.

    Mar 28, 2013 Wall Street Journal Online

  • Gas prices - 10/18/12 - Santa Monica, CA

    Two Unspoken Issues in the Presidential Energy Debate

    Both candidates glossed over two issues: the myth that independence from imported oil will reduce gasoline prices and the policies that will be needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and temper climate change, writes Keith Crane. 

    Nov 6, 2012 The Orange County Register

  • Assessing the Iranian Sanctions

    The sanctions have imposed economic costs and have effectively signaled that not only the United States, but much of the rest of the world, see Iran's policies on nuclear enrichment as a serious potential threat to the region and the world, writes Keith Crane.

    Jul 9, 2012 National Journal

  • DoD Renewable Fuels Investment Premature

    Technological development challenges suggest that it is highly unlikely that advanced approaches for producing hydrotreated renewable oils suitable for military applications will constitute an important fraction of the commercial fuel market until well beyond the next decade, writes Keith Crane.

    May 24, 2012 National Journal

  • On Carbon Dioxide, a Better Alternative

    A carbon dioxide tax with refund is fair because the people responsible for the most emissions would pay the most. The tax would also be progressive. Many Americans with lower incomes would find the refund would more than defray the higher costs of gasoline and electric power, write Keith Crane and James Bartis.

    Nov 29, 2007

  • Iraq's Jobs-for-Peace Mirage

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Iraq's Jobs-for-Peace Mirage', in Project Syndicate--an association that distributes commentaries to 291 newspapers in 115 countries.

    Feb 11, 2007 Project Syndicate

  • Put Iraqi Insurgents Out of Business

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Put Iraqi Insurgents Out of Business, in Christian Science Monitor.

    Jan 29, 2007 Christian Science Monitor

  • The Falling Dollar: A Silver Lining for Pittsburgh

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    May 8, 2005 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette