Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Jason Scorse

Director, Center for the Blue Economy; Program Chair, International Environmental Policy; Associate Professor

I am passionate about: Living sustainably, not just preaching/teaching it.

What excites me about being a professor at MIIS: Seeing the amazing things our students are doing around the world. It is truly inspiring. I am always happy to talk with prospective, current, and former students by phone, skype, or in person. Please email me to set up an appointment.

Jason Scorse completed his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics at UC-Berkeley in 2005 with a focus on environmental economics and policy, international development, and behavioral economics. Upon graduation, he joined the faculty of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. He teaches courses in environmental and natural resource economics, ocean and coastal economics, and sustainable development. In 2009 he was promoted to the Chair of the International Environmental Policy (IEP) program, and as of 2011 Professor Scorse is also the Director of the new Center for the Blue Economy, whose mission is "to promote ocean and coastal sustainability." Professor Scorse has consulted for major environmental organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Sierra Club.

Dr. Scorse has published articles in American Economic Review, California Management Review, The Solutions Journal, and for books published by the Brookings Institution and Routledge Press. He is also the lead non-market economist for the National Ocean Economics Program (NOEP), for which he contributes to major national reports. In 2010 his book, What Environmentalists Need to Know About Economics, was published by Palgrave Macmillan. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, Fortune, and The Washington Post.

Dr. Scorse also sits on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Research Activities Panel and on the board of Save Our Shores. In his spare time he surfs, cooks gourmet vegan food, and writes fiction for when he starts his new career after we've solved all of the world's great environmental challenges.


Environmental & Natural Resource Economics, Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, Behavioral Economics, International Economics & Development

Recent Accomplishments

Professor Scorse's major accomplishment over the past year was to help launch the Center for the Blue Economy's (CBE) new research initiatives in coastal climate change adaption, and to hire the Center's first Research Director, Charles Colgan. The CBE also just launched the new Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics (JOCE), which is set to be the leader in this growing field.

Dr. Scorse is currently spending almost all of his time building the new Center, and increasing its partnerships across the world. The CBE recently entered into a cooperative agreement with The Nature Conservancy to pursue joint research projects over the next few years, and our partnerships with the Chinese National Marine Data Center and the Korean Maritime Institute continue to grow. The CBE is on strong financial footing and poised to grow in the coming years.


Ph.D. UC-Berkeley, M.S. UC-Berkeley; M.S. UC-Santa Cruz; B.A. UC-Santa Cruz

In the News

Scorse, Jason. "Cheap Gas Hurts the Middle Class." Fortune 6 December 2012.

Scorse, Jason (and Judy Kildow). “End Federal Flood Insurance.” The New York Times 28 November 2012.

Thomas, Gregory. "Surfonomics quantifies the worth of waves." The Washington Post 24 August 2012.

Scorse, Jason. "My Word: Must never take coast's economic value for granted." Oakland Tribune 10 July 2012.


Scorse, Jason. What Environmentalists Need to Know about Economics. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2010.

Scorse, Jason (2010). PDF IconFreeing the Market to Address Climate Change. The Solutions Journal,1(6):29-32.

Harrison, Ann, and Scorse, Jason. (2010). PDF IconMultinationals and Anti-sweatshop Activism, American Economic Review, 100(1): 247–273.

Scorse, Jason. (2009) PDF IconNon-Market Valuation of Ocean Resources in the National Ocean Economics Report (Judy Kildow ed.), National Ocean Economics Program, Moss Landing, CA.

Harrison, Ann & Scorse, Jason. (2009). PDF IconDo Foreign Firms Pay More? Evidence from the Indonesian Manufacturing Sector in Labour Markets and Economic Development, (Ravi Kanbur and Jan Svejnar eds.), Routledge Press, New York.

Scorse, Jason. (2009). PDF IconMaking Matters Worse. The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Response, 1(1):1-6 PDF Icon中文

Harrison, Ann & Jason Scorse. (2006). PDF IconImproving the Conditions of Workers? Minimum Wage Legislation and Anti-Sweatshop Activism. California Management Review, 2 (48):144-160. (Also issued as a Harvard Business School case study) Harrison, Ann & Scorse, Jason. 2004.

Harrison, Ann & Jason Scorse. (2004). PDF IconThe Impact of Globalization on Compliance with Labor Standards: A Plant- Level Study in Brookings Trade Forum 2003 (Susan Collins and Dani Rodrik eds.), Brookings Institution Press, Washington D.C.

Scorse, Jason. (2001). Reflections on the Free Trade Debate. Economia Rural, 1 (12):8-11.

Working Papers

PDF IconDoes Being a "Top 10" Worst Polluter Affect Facility Environmental Releases? Evidence from the U.S. Toxic Release Inventory (coauthored with Wolfram Schlenker), 2012.

PDF IconEnvironmental Policy and the Social Contract, 2012.

PDF IconThe WTO's Environmental Mandate, 2011.

PDF IconThe Capitalist Conundrum, 2010.

Moving Beyond the Stale "Environment vs. Economy" Debate, 2010

PDF IconBook review of Economic Thought and U.S. Climate Change Policy. Edited by David M. Driesen. Cambridge, MA. MIT Press, 2010.

Strong-Cvetich, Nikolas and Scorse, Jason. (2008). PDF IconEcotourism in Post-Conflict Peace-Building Ecoclub: International Ecotourism Magazine, 8 (96):10-17.

PDF IconWhy Environmentalists Should Embrace Economics, 2006.

PDF IconDo Foreign Firms Pay More? Evidence from the Indonesian Manufacturing Sector 1990-1999. International Labor Organization, Working Paper No. 98, 2005 (coauthored with Ann Harrison and submitted).

Is There Acquiescence in Yes-No Questions? (coauthored with Michael Hanemann & Jon Krosnick), 2005.

Harrison, Ann & Jason Scorse. 2004. Moving Up or Moving Out? Anti-Sweatshop Activists and Labor Market Outcomes, National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. w10492.

Course List

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

IEPG 8542 - Envirn & Natural Resource Econ      

The purpose of this course is to develop competency in economic theory as it relates to environmental issues, and the analytical skills necessary to evaluate, as well as craft, effective, efficient, and just environmental policies. We will highlight policies that influence (both directly and indirectly) the environment and natural resource use, and analyze their implications. The emphasis will be on identifying and assessing the appropriate economic tools for addressing current environmental issues. Students will learn how to “think like an economist,” which may not make for great party conversation, but is essential for conversing intelligently about the world’s major environmental problems and developing solutions.

Fall 2016 - MIIS, Fall 2017 - MIIS

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IEPG 8648 - Food Choice & Behavior Design      

Food choices have huge social and environmental impacts, and yet they are very difficult to modify due to the strong inertia of habit, culture, and taste, not to mention the tremendous power of food marketing and lobbying. But these choices are malleable, and change in the direction of healthier foods that require fewer resources to produce can lead to profound improvements in overall human well-being. This course will engage students in the theories of behavior design applied to food choices. Students will run experiments to test different approaches, with an emphasis on multiple events during Earth Week in late April. The course is open to all MIIS students with no prerequisites.

Spring 2018 - MIIS, MIIS Second Half of Term

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IEPG 8663 / DPPG 9663 - Ocean & Coastal Economics      

The purpose of this course is to develop advanced economic skills applied to development and resource issues in the world’s oceans and coasts. The course will focus heavily on analytical and data-driven techniques that can help illuminate the costs and benefits of various policies in the ocean and coastal zones, using a variety of metrics, and incorporating environmental and social values. The course will be divided into two parts: Market economics and coastal planning with Prof. DePaolis and non-market economics with Prof. Scorse.

Student participation in both of these sections will be high, involving many in-class assignments, lab sessions, and extended discussions. Students will be expected to engage in original data collection, analysis, and research. This is an intensive course geared for people who want to pursue careers in marine-related fields, although the topics are more broadly applicable to a range of conservation and development-related careers.

GIS is recommended.

Spring 2017 - MIIS, Spring 2018 - MIIS

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IEPG 8666 - OCRM Speaker Series      

The primary purpose of this speaker series is to introduce incoming IEP students who are pursuing the “Ocean and Coastal Resource Management” concentration to a wide range of cutting-edge interdisciplinary topics. (In order to be eligible for the CBE Summer Fellows Program students must enroll in this course—auditing is acceptable—in addition to committing to the 16 units of advanced coursework in their second year.)

The series will include topics from the local to international levels, with a focus on the policy and economic implications. Students are encouraged to use these talks as networking opportunities, catalysts for future research, and most importantly, to help focus their career goals.

The series is open to all IEP and IPM students interested in ocean and coastal issues, as well as members of the MARINE network and the larger Monterey community.

Fall 2016 - MIIS, Fall 2017 - MIIS

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