H. Spencer Banzhaf is Professor of Economics at Georgia State University and a Research Associate in the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). His research focuses on environmental economics and policy analysis. More narrowly, much of his work examines the interactions between local environmental amenities, local real estate markets, and the demographic composition and structure of cities. He also researches questions on “environmental federalism” – that is, which levels of government (local, state, national) are most appropriate for providing various public goods.
Spencer's work has been published in journals such as the American Economic Review, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, and Journal of Urban Economics. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
Spencer was a 2007 PERC Julian Simon Fellow who authored a scholarly article on the observed correlation between pollution and poor populations, providing an analysis of household tradeoffs between housing prices and environmental amenities. He then led a 2008 Political Economy Forum, with generous support from the Earhart Foundation, that brought together a group of scholars to consider these correlations and the consequences of environmental improvements in poor neighborhoods. The papers from that forum have appeared in a book, The Political Economy of Environmental Justice, published by Stanford University Press.
In 2001, he received his Ph.D. in economics from Duke University. Previously, he was a fellow at Resources for the Future.
Banzhaf's research focuses on the demand for local public goods, its interplay with real estate markets and demographics, and the construction of green index numbers. He also studies the history of applied welfare economics.