Amir Jina, a postdoctoral scholar in the Economics Department and a senior fellow at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) since 2014, begins his new position as an assistant professor at the Harris School of Public Policy on July 1.

“Amir is a dedicated researcher whose passion for solving critical environmental and climate challenges, particularly in the developing world, drives pioneering research,” says Michael Greenstone, the director of EPIC and the Milton Friedman Professor in Economics, the College and the Harris School. “His work is at the intersection of economics and science, which is where some of the most important insights about the world lie. Yet, there are few people like Amir who have the requisite skills to work in that space. Additionally, he is terrifically skilled at data visualization.  He will add much to Harris and EPIC in the coming years and we are excited to have him as a colleague.”

An environmental and development economist, Jina’s research focuses on the role of the environment and environmental change in shaping how societies develop. He uses applied economic techniques combined with methods from climate science and remote sensing to understand the impacts of climate in both rich and poor countries, and has conducted fieldwork related to climate change adaptation with communities in India, Bangladesh, Kenya, and Uganda.

Jina is also part of the Climate Impact Lab, a collaboration of climate scientists, economists and computational experts from several leading institutions working to quantify the social costs of carbon emissions and help communities around the world prepare for the risks of a changing global climate.

“Over the past few years, the University of Chicago has become one of the best places in the world to do research on the relationship between society and the environment,” says Jina. “Most importantly for me, at Harris and EPIC, my research will not stop at my office door, but will have impact in the world beyond. I’m excited to be surrounded by colleagues in Harris and across the University who are working on important questions across disciplines—from economics, to physics, to philosophy. I’m privileged to be joining this group of researchers for whom finding the right answer is more important than disciplinary divides.”

Prior to his arrival at the University of Chicago, Jina was a visiting scholar at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked on the economic analysis of the Risky Business initiative, an independent assessment of the economic risks posed by a changing climate in the U.S commissioned by co-chairs Michael R. Bloomberg, Henry Paulson, and Tom Steyer.


Jina received his Ph.D. in Sustainable Development and M.A. in Climate and Society both from Columbia University, B.A.s in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics from Trinity College, Dublin, and previously worked with the Red Cross/Red Crescent in South Asia.