Research/External Support

Economics Professor’s Research Selected for Publication by Prestigious Royal Society Journal

hanauerDr. Merlin Hanauer, Professor of Economics at Sonoma State University, is the author of two articles selected for publication in the prestigious Philosophical Transactions B of the Royal Society, considered the world’s longest running science publication.

“Our goal in these studies is to give scholars and practitioners a deeper understanding of the economics of conservation,” says Dr. Hanauer. “Then we can design and implement protected areas that work for societies, communities, and their natural spaces.”

Dr. Hanauer suggests a need for greater understanding of the effects and interactions of protected areas through further data collection and empirical research, though confirms previous findings that protected areas do not, on average, create or exacerbate issues of poverty where populations depend on the environment for sustenance. Historically, these groups were considered at risk of socioeconomic harm from the establishment of protected areas.

Previous studies show that protected areas positively impact impoverished areas through alternative employment opportunities in tourism, increased access to financial support from external organizations, and community development opportunities from market-based economic activity, including improved health care and communication services.

“Professor Hanauer’s research provides insight at the leading edge of Environmental Economics,” says Dr. Michael Visser, Chair of the Department of Economics at Sonoma State. “By addressing the use of natural resources from all sides, he examines the outcome of both protection and extraction on societies, economies, and the environment.”

For more information regarding Dr. Merlin Hanauer and faculty research, or for information regarding degree programs in the School of Business and Economics, please contact (707) 664-2377, or visit