Placement: PhD Economics, Princeton | NSF Awardee

Growing up, Greg Dobbels recalls being immersed in the hard sciences. But his academic focus shifted slightly in college. While studying Government, he realized empiricism was important to him.

“I settled on economics as a field and theoretical framework to guide future pursuits,” he said.

As a Pre-Doctoral Fellow with EPIC, Greg worked on the Social Cost of Carbon project with Michael Greenstone, which aimed to contribute guidance to drive and inform energy and environmental policy. He is interested in answering questions that focus on what a changing climate actually means for the human existence, and specifically its effect on agricultural systems across the world.

“We are reasonably certain how the climate is changing, but are still building our understanding of how these changes will impact our everyday existence. Figuring that out has huge implications for how we try to adapt to a changing climate,” he said.

Over the years, Greg’s interests developed into a focus on the relationship of climate change and agriculture. Because food is a vital component of the human existence, it is important to understand how agriculture will be affected by a changing climate.

Climate and agriculture also has a big impact on developing countries like Uganda, where he has spent some time. After graduating from Cornell University, where he studied Government and Economics, he spent three years working for Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), a non-profit that evaluates the effectiveness of organizations that aim to provide solutions to global problems. This work brought him to Uganda, where he worked on projects evaluating programs that aimed to improve local governance and increase access to affordable healthcare for the rural poor.

While at EPIC, Greg looked forward to enriching his knowledge of climate change and policy work and aims to contribute to the meaningful research.

“Along the way, I hope to build my own understanding of the economic impacts of climate change, know where the gaps in our knowledge are, and learn the empirical tools needed to fill in those gaps,” he said. “A process I hope to continue to build on in graduate school.”