Economics of Sustainability

Understanding the interaction between the economy and the environment

The complex relationship between the economic system and our environment is the focus of our research. In partnership with  the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) at the Oxford Martin School, and in collaboration with the Oxford Energy Network, we explore the use of economic instruments to promote environmental quality; the role of markets in pricing externalities; and the cost effectiveness and impact of regulation designed to facilitate environmental performance.

Our research encompasses a broad range of approaches. Our work on sensitive intervention points – where a modest action triggers an outsized response – could help to accelerate the transition to net-zero, while we also lead solutions-led research into economically, socially and environmentally scalable greenhouse gas removal options.


We are interested in the transition to net zero emissions and sustainable development. Progress towards sustainability will require not just thoughtful government intervention but also major shifts in the behaviour of households, workers and firms.  Our research extends across the economic system to identify the crucial points where small actions can generate large-scale positive change. Our goal is to help policy makers implement the fast and comprehensive shifts necessary for establishing environmentally sustainable development pathways.


Ukraine war, pandemic set to speed Europe's green energy transition, report finds

Most European Union countries have boosted their renewable plans since 2020, putting them on course to cut fossil fuel use this decade as the energy and COVID-19 crises have spurred, not derailed their green transition, Reuters reports. 

"The recovery has been wildly inconsistent around the world," said Brian O'Callaghan, lead researcher at Oxford University's Economic Recovery Project, pointing to Australia, China and India as having relatively small shares of green COVID-19 recovery spending.