Christopher is the Research Director of emLab, Co-Director of emLab’s Ocean & Fisheries Program, and a Professor of Resource Economics at the Bren School. His research focuses on natural resource economics, incomplete property rights, and decision making under uncertainty, with a particular emphasis on the value and effect of information on management decisions. In his work, he combines theoretical micro-economics with modeling and empirical analysis to inform policy on fisheries management, biological diversity, introduced species, industrial regulation, and marine policy. He has worked closely with national governments, international organizations, NGOs, and other partners from around the world to translate his research into on-the-ground action in a diverse spectrum of developed and developing countries. He currently serves as an advisor to California’s Governor Newsom on the Council of Economic Advisors and as a trustee of Environmental Defense Fund and Global Fishing Watch. Chris holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. His many hobbies outside of work include cycling, gardening, woodworking, blacksmithing, beekeeping, and spending time with his family.
Gabriel is an environmental economist whose research studies how policy and illegal behavior affect wildlife conservation. His most recent paper shows that when regulators in Peru try to protect juvenile fish by temporarily closing specific areas of ocean, they inadvertently provide information about the location of schools of fish, resulting in large spillovers that cause the policy to backfire. Gabriel earned his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in May 2021. He loves open-water swimming from Goleta Beach.
Juan Carlos Villaseñor-Derbez
Juan Carlos is a Ph.D. Candidate working with Christopher Costello and Steve Gaines at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC, Santa Barbara. As a Latin American Fisheries Fellow and UC MEXUS - CONACyT, he works in quantitative marine conservation and conservation economics. Juan Carlos’s research combines ecological and economic theory with data science. In particular, he asks, how can today’s technology allow us to revolutionize the design of marine conservation policies? When away from his computer, Juan Carlos enjoys scuba diving, fishing, and biking.
Kent is an economics Ph.D. student who researches issues related to information, learning, and resource management. He is currently working on projects that look at the distributional effects of improved information for making regulatory decisions, the timing of environmental policy changes, and the role of information in coordination and cooperation. Previously, he worked at the Environmental Defense Fund where he collaborated with fishermen and fishery managers to encourage the adoption of well-designed rights-based management systems. Kent enjoys biking on the roads and trails around Santa Barbara.
Ken Bao is a fourth-year student in the Economics PhD program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is interested in Environmental and Resource Economics, and his current work focuses on the regulation of non-point source pollution using group-based policies. He also is exploring the effects that environmental policies have on innovation in green technologies. When not busy doing research, he ventures outdoors, enjoying hiking nearby trails, taking sunset beach walks with his dog, or playing basketball. He considers himself a big foodie and enjoys cooking.
Nathaniel is a 3rd year PhD student in the Costello Lab. His research hopes to leverage and expand financial tools into beneficial ocean conservation outcomes. At emLab, Nathaniel is building new innovative risk management strategies to protect fishing communities from more frequent climate shocks in the future. The most promising new tool is Index insurance, where fishers receive insurance payouts when severe weather events damage fishing productivity. When not in the office, Nathaniel competes in beach volleyball tournaments throughout Southern California.
Nestor (Mauricio) Collado
Nestor Collado has worked to improve decision-making during the last decade by closing the gap between economic market solutions and policymaking. His publications and work as advisor of the Minister of Environment of Peru showed that transforming environmental concerns into development opportunities is possible. However, he also found that solid public institutions are not enough without long-term planning, innovative financial tools, and synergistic and participatory interventions. Above all, his experience with multidisciplinary teams in Universidad del Pacifico taught him the value of scientific evidence as an ally for better decision-making.
During his Master's studies at Bren School, his project "Quota Baskets: Exploring Alternative Groupings for Fisheries Management" reinvigorated his passion for linking economic, social, and environmental issues to accelerate action. He firmly believes the environmental policies require steppingstones that can bridge short-term and long-term goals.
The emLab Team
The Environmental Markets Lab (emLab) is a `think-and-do’ tank for market-based approaches to environmental challenges. We are a team of faculty, researchers, project managers, postdocs, and students based at the University of California Santa Barbara who bring interdisciplinary expertise to devise novel solutions to pressing environmental problems. Read more about our team.
(former post-docs and PhD students)
University of Washington
James Cook University
University of Miami
University of Colorado
University of California Davis
University of Colorado Boulder
Florida State University
Cal State San Luis Obispo
University of Colorado Boulder
University of Hawaii Manoa
University of Alberta
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
University of Oregon
University of British Columbia
Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México
The Nature Conservancy