Catherine L. Kling

Cornell University

Primary Section: 64, Human Environmental Sciences
Secondary Section: 54, Economic Sciences
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2015)


Catherine L. Kling is Charles F. Curtis Distinguished Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University. She received a bachelor's degree in business and economics from the University of Iowa and a doctorate in economics from the University of Maryland. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Environmental Protection Agency, and others. Kling’s engagement in the policy process includes over ten years as a member EPA’s Science Advisory Board, membership on the Water Science and Technology Board of the National Research Council and a member of five National Research Council studies. She served as president of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, has held editorial positions at ten economics journals, and has received seven awards from professional associations for her research including the Bruce Gardner Memorial Prize for Applied Policy Analysis. She is a Fellow of the Association of Environmental and Resources Economists, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association, a University Fellow at Resources for the Future, and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2015.

Research Interests

Dr. Kling’s research interests in environmental economics relate to the theory and practice of valuing environmental goods and the design of environmental policy. Her theoretical research in nonmarket valuation has characterized what can be learned about consumer preferences for public goods from their footprints in the marketplace, has developed dynamic welfare measures that extend traditional measures to include uncertainty and learning over time, and has contributed to understanding anomalies in micro theory such as the disparity between willingness to pay and accept. Her empirical methodological interests include the refinement of random utility maximization and discrete choice models and their application using primary data collected via survey instruments. Her work in the design of environmental policy includes theoretical work to understand the consequences of intertemporal emission trading for environmental damages.

Kling has built an interdisciplinary research group to develop integrated land use and water quality models to provide policy guidance on the design and implementation of environmental policies in agriculture. By combining an integrated assessment model with an evolutionary algorithm, the team has assessed assess cost-effective policies to reduce nutrient loadings in local waters and to alleviate the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

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