Economist (Ecosystems)

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

San Francisco or Sacramento, CA, US


Overall Function


The Economist will conduct and direct economic analysis to help shape the Ecosystem’s program policy positions, support its advocacy and provide strategic input and content to guide planning and execution of Ecosystem program efforts. While focusing on the Ecosystems program work, the Economist will report to the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) and participate in broader economic work at EDF. The Ecosystems work is centered on three main programs all of which share the theme of increasing resilience – Water, Working Lands and Coastal Protection. Initially, the Economist will focus on economic elements related to the practice and policy of Water and Working Lands programs. Analysis products will include original publishable research, “in-house” analyses to guide staff and partners, as well as white papers aimed at policy makers, journalists, and the public at large.


The Economist will be based in San Francisco or Sacramento, California. S/he will report to a Senior Economist or the Chief Economist, and will work with other economists, natural scientists, Ecosystems staff, and policy specialists throughout EDF. S/he may also have managerial responsibilities for more junior staff, consultants, and project budgets.


Key Responsibilities

  • Working with the Chief Economist, other staff and collaborators to identify long-term research needed to inform and support the organization’s advocacy;
  • Working with junior staff on analyses of issues related to environmental policy;
  • Supervising and mentoring junior EDF staff;
  • Overseeing research projects conducted by other organizations for EDF (e.g., universities and outside contractors);
  • Conducting original economic research on topics broadly relevant to the work of EDF;
  • Interpreting, translating, and summarizing relevant economic information for EDF and partner staff and broader audiences, perhaps including public communications, congressional testimony, Op-Eds, articles, and blog posts;
  • Working with EDF’s development team, including communicating with donors and foundations and writing proposals to secure funding;
  • Participating in the development of public positions taken by Environmental Defense Fund;
  • Establishing, developing, and supporting connections between EDF and the academic and research community, public and other organizations in the field;
  • Representing EDF at public meetings including policy makers, academic conferences and workshops, gatherings of advocacy organizations, and the general public and presenting as applicable.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Ph.D. in Economics or related discipline (e.g., Environmental, Agricultural and Resource Economics or Public Policy)
  • Familiarity with the empirical and theoretical literature on environmental economics, in particular the design of regulatory policy (e.g. instrument choice)
  • Interest in relating economic research to real-world policy and in bridging the worlds of advocacy and academia
  • Proven ability to conduct cutting-edge research
  • Ability to deploy a diversity of analytical approaches, theoretical and/or econometric studies to back-of-the- envelope analyses;
  • Ability to convey economic concepts to non-economists
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Self-direction and independence of mind

Preferred Qualifications

  • At least two years of experience in policy and/or research, though more senior applicants are also strongly encouraged to apply
  • Ability to manage staff and projects involving multiple people

Application Materials

  • Please attach a cover letter as part of your application.

Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant’s qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.