IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Inside CU's faculty profile series
Our faculty are a source of great pride and bring a world of expertise, experimentation and excellence to our students and our community. Meet Nicholas Flores, associate professor and chair of the Department of Economics.
Nicholas is an associate professor of economics, department chair in economics, and a faculty research associate in the Institute of Behavioral Science. His research interests include decision making and the environment/public goods, environmental and public goods valuation and research methodology in environmental economics. He hosts the annual CU Environmental and Resource Economics Workshop and has done collaborative work with the Social and Economic Values Unit of the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station since 1986. He teaches and collaborates in the Carbon, Climate and Society Initiative CU-Boulder program, funded by the National Science Foundation.
What drew you to your field of expertise and keeps you passionate about your work?
Environmental economics emphasizes the need to consider the benefits and costs of alternative actions that may affect the environment when choosing from these alternatives. I was immediately drawn to this simple idea in my undergraduate environmental economics class at the University of Texas at Austin and I am still drawn to this idea today. My life experiences have led me to the conclusion that environmental problems are among the most challenging problems facing mankind today. To conduct research that may help lead to more sound decisions regarding the environment is inspiring. To teach students and environmental managers about the principles and methods of the economic approach to environmental problems is a privilege.
What do you most enjoy and what is the most challenging aspect of your profession?
The environmental economics research community has a shared sense of purpose that I believe is unique within economics. This shared sense of purpose has helped create a highly supportive intellectual environment that makes professional life more rewarding and fun. I believe the most challenging aspect of my profession is getting agreed upon ideas into action. While environmental taxes and emissions trading programs have recently gained traction in the policy arena, these principles were agreed upon by economists decades ago.
What are your favorite interests and activities apart from your work?
Running has been a major part of my life for over thirty years. I run with the Gijima Boulder Running Club and we run races from the mile to the marathon every year. I love to ski, especially Aspen, and I surf when near the ocean. Finally, our family has three horses.
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