Shifting public policy to achieve a sustainable economy, a healthy environment and a just society.


Economic Analysis


The Sustainable Economics Program has substantial expertise in smart economics: The design of environmental policies that are fair, effective, and efficient.

We do economic modeling of policies at the local, state, and federal level, with special expertise in climate and energy policy, market incentives for sustainability, macroeconomic analysis, and distributional analysis. We enable policymakers, advocates, and other concerned individuals and groups to select policies that provide broad public benefits without unintended side-effects.

Redefining Progress offers Economic Analysis services in the following areas:

For more information about our Economic Analysis services, please contact James Barrett, Executive Director, at 202. 234.9665. Or, request a quote.

For Clients

Public Policy Analysis

Redefining Progress has deep expertise in the design of policies to achieve environmental goals in ways that combine hard-headed practicality, optimal efficiency, and fundamental fairness. We apply the tools of skilled economists and lawyers, as well as a hard-won understanding of how programs work and the ways they can go wrong.

Our analysis recognizes that a healthy business community is necessary for sustainability, and that policies are sustainable only if they are distributionally just. Our policy analysis generally considers:

  • Ease of administration and enforcement
  • Compliance burdens
  • Economic efficiency and growth
  • Environmental effectiveness
  • Competitiveness concerns
  • Equitable distribution of burdens and benefits
  • Political and social sustainability

Depending on the area of analysis, we address the needs of businesses, industries, regions, income classes, racial or ethnic groups, and other as dimensions required. We have expertise in presenting our analyses in styles appropriate to a wide range of audiences and political contexts.

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Market-based Approaches

Our staff has more than three decades of experience in analyzing the use, potential, and limits of market-based approaches to sustainability and environmental policy. We are second to none in our knowledge of:

  • Tradable permit systems
  • Environmental fees, charges, and taxes
  • Environmental tax reform
  • Market-based natural resource policies
  • Tax incentives
  • Renewable content standards
  • Other market-like policies

Redefining Progress has provided expert testimony in these areas on contract to the governments of six nations.

Market-based approaches to achieving environmental quality and sustainability, if well-designed, are unmatched in their efficiency and effectiveness; but this relatively new class of instruments is also rife with pitfalls for the unwary. Moreover, a wide range of complicated interactions with other economic and regulatory policies can undermine or amplify their effectiveness.

At Redefining Progress, we understand these issues and can help policymakers and advocates navigate their way into a safe, fair, and prosperous harbor. Any effort to address a major environmental problem with market-based approaches will benefit from working with our consultants.

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Macroeconomic Analysis

In today’s competitive landscape, concerns about the economic impact of environmental policies become ever-more compelling, and opponents of environmental policies are turning to economic arguments to make their case—often through hired-gun economists of dubious commitment to scientific truth.

The first line of defense against such abuse is a sound policy package. But in addition to this, policymakers need sound, reliable, and unbiased advice.

Redefining Progress offers recognized expertise in the environmental community as a trusted and reliable analyst of macroeconomic consequences arising from major environmental policies. This includes the impact of such policies on:

  • Employment, unemployment, and jobs
  • Gross National Product, Gross State Product, or regional output
  • Salaries and wages
  • Profits
  • Prices and inflation
  • Public revenues and expenditures

Our expertise in policy analysis enables us to define policy packages that produce net economic benefits when modeled. We do analysis at the national, state, or local level. Finally, we have substantial experience in doing defensive analysis: crafting clear, effective critiques of shoddy, anti-environmental economic analysis.

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Distributional and Social Justice Analysis

Redefining Progress is well-known for our commitment to quality analytic support on issues of distributive justice. Too often, the consequences of environmental impacts and policies are hidden or ignored. As a result, the burden of pollution and the cost of cleanup are disproportionately distributed.

In addition, unintended consequences often result from well-intentioned policies when the distribution of costs and benefits across firms, industries, regions, genders, family structures, income classes, or social groups is not adequately considered and accurately measured.

Redefining Progress defines policies that combine distributional, economic, and environmental goals with careful, accurate, reliable estimates of the distribution of burdens and benefits from alternative policy approaches. We work closely with our clients to ensure they have the tools they need to effectively support sound public policy.

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Photo courtesy of Steven Erat