University Distinguished Professor



Edward B. Barbier is a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Economics, Colorado State University and a Senior Scholar in the School of Global Environmental Sustainability. His main expertise is natural resource and development economics as well as the interface between economics and ecology.  He has consulted for a variety of national, international and non-governmental agencies, including many UN organizations, the World Bank and the OECD. He has authored over 300 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, written or edited 26 books, and published in popular journals. Barbier is a Fellow of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists and is a highly cited scholar on global environmental and sustainability issues. Professor Barbier’s latest book is The Water Paradox: Overcoming the Global Crisis in Water Management.  Yale University Press, New Haven and London.



Selected recent publications (see CV for a full list):

Barbier, E.B. 2021. “The Evolution of Economic Views on Natural Resource Scarcity.” Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 15(1):24-44.

Barbier, E.B. 2021. “Habitat Loss and the Risk of Disease Outbreak.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 108:102451

Barbier, E.B. and J.C. Burgess. 2021. Economics of the SDGs: Putting the Sustainable Development Goals into Practice. Palgrave Macmillan, London and New York.

Barbier, E.B. and J.C. Burgess. 2020. “Sustainability and Development after COVID-19.” World Development 135:105082.

Barbier, E.B. 2020. “Greening the post-pandemic recovery in the G20.” Environmental and Resource Economics 76:685–703.

Barbier, E.B. 2020 “Is Green Rural Transformation Possible in Developing Countries?” World Development 131:104955.

Barbier, E.B., R. Lozano, C.M. Rodríguez and S. Troëng. 2020. “Adopt a carbon tax to protect natural forests.” Nature 578:213-216.

Barbier, E.B. 2019. Natural Resources and Economic Development, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York, 2nd edition.

Barbier, E.B. 2019. The Water Paradox: Overcoming the Global Crisis in Water Management.  Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 270 pp,

Barbier, E.B. and J.P. Hochard. 2019. “Poverty-Environment Traps.” Environmental and Resource Economics 74(3):1239-1271.

Barbier, E.B. and J.C. Burgess. 2019. “Scarcity and Safe Operating Spaces: The Example of Natural Forests” Environmental and Resource Economics 74(3):1077-1099.

Barbier, E.B. and J.C. Burgess. 2019. “Sustainable Development Goal Indicators: Analyzing Trade-offs and Complementarities.” World Development 122:295-305.

Hochard, J.P., S. Hamilton and E.B. Barbier. 2019. “Mangroves shelter coastal economic activity from cyclones.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116(25):1232-1237.

Barbier, E.B. 2019. “The concept of natural capital.” Oxford Review of Economic Policy 35(1):14-36.

Sterner, T., E.B. Barbier, I. Bateman, I. van den Bijgaart, A.-S. Crépin, O. Edenhofer, C. Fisher, W. Habla, J. Hassler, O. Johnansson-Stenman, A. Lange, S. Polasky, J. Rockström, H.G. Smith, W. Steffen, G. Wagner, J.E. Wilen, F. Alpizar, C. Azar, D. Carless, C. Chávez, J. Coria, G. Engström, S.C. Jagers, G. Köhlin, A. Löfgren, H. Pleijel and A. Robinson. 2019. “Policy design for the Anthropocene.” Nature Sustainability 2(1):14-21.

Barbier, E.B. 2019. “How to make the next Green New Deal work.” Nature 565:6.

Barbier, E.B. and Jacob P. Hochard. 2018. “Land Degradation and Poverty.” Nature Sustainability 1(11): 623–631.

Barbier, E.B., J.C. Burgess and T.J. Dean. 2018. “How to pay for saving biodiversity.” Science 360 (6388): 486-488.

Barbier, E.B. and J.P. Hochard. 2018. “The Impacts of Climate Change on the Poor in Disadvantaged Regions” Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 12(1):26-47.

Barbier, E.B. M. Czajkowski and N. Hanley. 2017. “Is the income elasticity of the willingness to pay for pollution control constant?” Environmental and Resource Economics 68:663-682.

Barbier, E.B. 2017. “Natural Capital and Wealth in the 21st Century.” Eastern Economic Journal 43(3):391-405.

Barbier, E.B. 2016. “Is Green Growth Relevant for Poor Economies?” Resource and Energy Economics 45:178-191.

Barbier, E.B., R.E. López and J.P. Hochard. 2016. "Debt, Poverty and Resource Management in a Rural Smallholder Economy." Environmental and Resource Economics 63:411-427. 2017 EAERE Award for outstanding publication in the journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

Barbier, E.B. 2015. “Hurricane Katrina’s lessons for the world.” Nature 524:285-287

Barbier, E.B. 2014. “Account for depreciation of natural capital.” Nature 515:32-33.


  • ECON 492.001 Seminar – Managing the Global Water Crisis: An Economic Perspective

    This course focuses on a key paradox of water resource management: Despite mounting evidence of growing over-use and scarcity of water, why is the world not mobilizing it vast wealth, ingenuity and institutions to avert this crisis? Or, from an economic perspective, if water is valuable and scarce, why is it so poorly managed? To explore this paradox, the course focuses on the role of water in economic development, covering both local, national and global aspects of this relationship, and especially focusing on the role of institutions, governance and incentives in water resource management. It is designed as a senior seminar course, and aims to give students a sense of current theories, debates, historical perspectives and methodologies concerning water and economic development, while also allowing students to develop and utilize their skills in economics to analyze a relevant water-related topic of their choice. The course is divided between lectures and readings, and a group project. Students will work together in groups to survey and analyze various central considerations in the economics of managing the global water crisis. The course will culminate in a poster session in which students share with each other the findings of their research.