Merlin M. Hanauer


Associate Professor of Economics
Department of Economics
School of Business and Economics

Sonoma State University
1801 East Cotati Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928

Merlin M. Hanauer joined the faculty of the Department of Economics at Sonoma State University in the Fall of 2011. Dr. Hanauer earned his PhD in Economics from Georgia State University (2011) with a concentration in Environmental Economics.

Dr. Hanauer's research addresses the socioeconomic and environmental impacts of environmental policy. He employs extensive use of geographic information systems (GIS), quasi-experimental and experimental design to elucidate policy impacts. Dr. Hanauer's research has been published in journals such as The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Environmental and Resource Economics, Philosophical Transactions B, Conservation Letters, World Development, Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Journal of Environmental Management, and Environmental Research Letters.

"Perverse Osmosis Enforcement."

Unintended Consequences of Conservation: Colombia's protected areas acted as safe havens for guerrillas which led to an increase in violence in surrounding areas during the mid-2000s.

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Integrating causal inference and ES modeling.

By integrating the latest methods in causal inference and ecosystem service modeling we estimate the avoided carbon emission associated with protected areas in Brazil, Costa Rica, Indonesia and Thailand. We also show how these environmental impacts are associated with social outcomes.

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Heterogeneous impacts of Bolivia's protected areas.

We show that the impact of Bolivia's protected areas on environmental and social outcomes were moderated by biophysical characteristics. We also show that multidimensional nonparametric methods capture more variation than bivariate methods. Finally, we demonstrate how to deal with potential pseudoreplication in matching and LOESS.

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Understanding the mechanisms of protected areas.

This paper provides a conceptual framework for understanding and measuring the mechanisms through which protected areas affect environmental and social outcomes. We also highlight how interventions (treatments), mechanisms and moderators are often confounded in the literature.

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Advances in Measuring the Impacts of Environmental Programs

This paper highlights recent advances in methods for measuring causal effects as they pertain to the impacts of environmental programs and policies on social and environmental outcomes.

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Mechanisms of Protected Areas

This study highlights methods by which researchers can quantify the mechanisms through which environmental programs impact social outcomes. We estimate how Costa Rica's protected areas impacted poverty through ecotourism, infrastructure development and provisioning ecosystem services.

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Cozzarelli Prize

Hanauer (with Paul J. Ferraro and Katharine R.E. Sims) were awarded the Cozzarelli Prize from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences for their article Conditions Associated with Protected Area Success in Conservation and Poverty Reduction.

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Protected Areas in Bolivia

In a detailed analysis of Bolivia's protected area system, Hanauer and Gustavo Canvire find no evidence that protection had exacerbated poverty over the past several decades. In fact, most evidence indicates that poverty was alleviated near protected areas

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More strictly protected areas are not necessarily more protective:

Restricting human activities that threaten endangered species and ecosystems can help protect these species and habitats. However, do stricter rules mean better protection? Not necessarily.

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Protected Areas: Win-win or Tradeoffs?

Paper explores the heterogeneity in the impacts of Costa Rica's protected areas. We find that, although Costa Rica's protected areas were (on average) associated with avoided deforestation and reductions in poverty, there was significant heterogeneity in these impacts according to biophysical and socioeconomic characteristics.

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Do Protected Areas Promote Regrowth?

Protected areas impacts can be quantified by numerous metrics. This paper is the first identify the impact of protected areas on new forest growth.

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