Aaron Strong

Photo of Aaron Strong
Economist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in economics, University of Colorado; M.A. in economics, University of Colorado; M.S. in applied mathematics, University of Colorado; B.A. in mathematics, Luther College


Aaron Strong is an economist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at Pardee RAND Graduate School. As an applied microeconomist who specializes in environmental and natural resource economics, his recent work has focused on developing a framework for estimating the value of the resilience dividend, a landscape survey of decision support tools for flood risk mitigation, estimating the impact of oil and natural gas prices on development and extraction, and estimating the value of natural capital in a western rangeland. He has used his work on computable general equilibrium models to help Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands estimate future prices stemming from recovery efforts. In addition to the environmental work, he has estimated the macroeconomic impact of a variety of different policies and programs including: land loss in Louisiana, changes to workers' compensation in California, Medicaid expansion, and changes to regulations for oil and gas refineries in California. Currently, his interest is centered on better understanding the financial landscape for resilience and sustainability investments and how to crowd in private sector investments.  Strong earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Previously, he held faculty positions at the University of Iowa and the University of Wyoming. In addition, he had post-docs with the G8 Legacy Chair in Wildlife Ecology at the University of Calgary and the Center for Environmental Economics and Sustainability Policy at Arizona State University.

Selected Publications

Aaron Strong, Tedeja Gracner, Peggy Chen and Kandice Kapinos, "On the Value of the Umbilical Cord Blood Supply", Value in Health (forthcoming)

Craig Bond, Aaron Strong, Nicholas Burger, Sarah Weilant, Uzaib Saya, and Anita Chandra, Resilience Dividend Valuation Model: Framework Development and Initial Case Studies, RAND (RR-2129-RF), 2017

Barnes, Stephen R.; Bond, Craig; Burger, Nicholas; Anania, Kate; Strong, Aaron; Weilant, Sarah; and Virgets, Stephanie, "Economic Evaluation of Coastal Land Loss in Louisiana," Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economcis, 4(1), 2017

Eric Tate, Aaron Strong, Travis Kraus, and Haoyi Xiong, "Flood Recovery and Property Acquisition in Cedar Rapids, Iowa," Natural Hazards, 80(3), 2016

Aaron Strong and Christopher Goemans, "The Impact of Real-time Quantity Information on Residential Water Demand," Water Resources and Economics, 10, 2015

H. Allen Klaiber, V. Kerry Smith, Michael Kaminsky and Aaron Strong, "Measuring Price Elasticities for Residential Water Demand with Limited Information," Land Economics, 90(1), 2014

Aaron Strong and Christopher Goemans, "Quantity Uncertainty and Demand: The Case of Water Smart Reader Ownership,," B.E. Journal of Policy Analysis and Economcis, 14(3), 2014

Honors & Awards

  • Bronze Medal (2016), RAND
  • Bronze Medeal (2020), RAND


  • A man receives the first of two Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 shots, at Guy's Hospital in London, UK, December 8, 2020, photo by Victoria Jones/Pool/Reuters

    A Case for Vaccinating Teachers First

    Most agree that America's 18 million health care workers should top the list for COVID-19 vaccination. The 3.3 million teachers should come next. Vaccinating teachers could make it possible to open schools permanently and get parents back to work. That would help the economy recover.

    Dec 19, 2020 The Wall Street Journal

  • Cloud service icon with options and devices, photo by artisteer/Getty Images

    Too Interconnected to Fail

    The 2007–08 financial crisis made regulators and lawmakers acutely aware that some financial institutions had become too big to fail. The next big economic crisis may arise outside the financial sector, in highly networked companies that are too interconnected to fail.

    Aug 22, 2020 Wall Street Journal

  • Crowds gather at Buffalo Bayou Park as social distancing guidelines to curb the spread of COVID-19 are relaxed in Houston, Texas, May 4, 2020, photo by Callaghan O'Hare/Reuters

    Relaxing COVID-19 Restrictions Presents Stark Health and Economic Choices

    RAND's new COVID-19 interventions impact tool uses epidemiological and economic models and continually refreshed data to estimate what could happen as restrictions are eased. The tool won't make the choices confronting state leaders less painful. But it can provide clear, evidence-based estimates of the health and economic trade-offs.

    May 18, 2020 The RAND Blog

  • A woman waits in front of a closed and shuttered storefront amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Lynn, Massachusetts, May 4, 2020, photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Reopening America—The Health and Economic Trade-Offs: Q&A with RAND Experts

    Local and state officials are thinking through whether, when, and how to lift social-distancing restrictions. We asked three RAND researchers about the complex problem of reopening.

    May 4, 2020

  • Commercial trucks cross over the Ambassador Bridge at the international border crossing during the COVID-19 outbreak, in Detroit, Michigan, March 18, 2020, photo by Rebecca Cook/Reuters

    Supply Chain Disruptions Due to COVID-19 and Social Distancing

    There are significant epidemiological and economic risks and uncertainties with physical distancing policies put into effect in the United States to reduce the growth of COVID-19. We have estimated the economy-wide impacts of a set of these policies to provide a sense of their likely economic toll.

    Apr 28, 2020 The RAND Blog

  • Communities are seen surrounded by water and wetlands in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, August 25, 2015

    Environmental Impact Bonds May Not Bear Fruit for Green Investors

    Investors may be willing to accept a lower return for socially responsible investments. But environmental impact bonds may not be the best way to leverage these investment possibilities.

    Nov 26, 2017 Zilient