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Dr. Erik Lichtenberg


2102 Symons Hall 7998 Regents Drive College Park, Maryland 20742-5535


  • Natural Resources
  • Land Use
  • Agriculture and Environment



Erik Lichtenberg’s research spans a wide variety of topics on agriculture and the environment. One current research area focuses on evaluating the performance of programs that pay farmers to use conservation methods that reduce runoff, provide wildlife habitat, and other ecosystem services. How much these programs accomplish is open to question because participation is voluntary and many of the farming methods these programs pay for can be profitable even without payments. These programs may also have indirect effects on farm operations, with some positive and some negative potential effects on environmental performance. Complementing this line of empirical research is theoretical work on ways to design programs to improve environmental performance. Lichtenberg also continues to work on pest management and pesticide regulation, with recent work focusing on how pesticide use affects product quality. Other current areas of research investigate the economics of managing invasive pests in international trade; the economic and environmental potential of high-tech irrigation systems that use wireless sensors for real-time irrigation and fertility control; and economic impacts of recently enacted food safety regulations.

Lichtenberg is a fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and a former co-editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.  He served on National Academy of Sciences expert panels on GMO crops and on precision. His work has earned him awards from the University of Helsinki, the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, the University of Maryland, and several journals.


B.A. 1973, University of Chicago: Linguistics
Ph.D. 1985, University of California at Berkeley: Agricultural and Resource Economics


  • Agriculture and environment
  • Land Use
  • Natural Resource Economics
  • Pesticides and pest management
  • Land use
  • Agricultural resource conservation
  • Nonpoint source pollution control
  • Agricultural policy
  • Technological change
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Water
  • Food safety
  • China
  • Agricultural biotechnology
  • Occupational and environmental health and safety
  • Risk assessment
  • Health care service delivery


Selected Publications:

Aaron Adalja, Erik Lichtenberg, and Elina T. Page, “Collective Investment in a Common Pool Resource: Grower Associations and Food Safety Guidelines”, American Journal of Agricultural Economics (forthcoming).

Baylis, Kathy, Elinor M. Lichtenberg, and Erik Lichtenberg, “Economics of Pollination”, Annual Review of Resource Economics 13 335-354 (2021).

Lichtenberg, Erik, “Additionality in Payment for Ecosystem Services Programs: Agricultural Conservation Subsidies in Maryland”, Land Economics 97, 305-320 (2021).

Fleming, Patrick M., Erik Lichtenberg, and David A. Newburn, Water Quality Trading in the Presence of Conservation Subsidies, Land Economics 96(4), 552–572 (2020).

Tihitina Andarge and Erik Lichtenberg, Regulatory Compliance under Enforcement Gaps, Journal of Regulatory Economics 57, 181–202 (2020).

Lichtenberg, Erik and Lars J. Olson, “Tariffs and the Risk of Invasive Pest Introductions in Commodity Imports: Theory and Empirical Evidence”, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 101 (2020).

Ian B. Page, Erik Lichtenberg, and Monica Saavoss, "Estimating Willingness To Pay From Count Data When Survey Responses are Rounded", Environmental and Resource Economics 75, 657-675 (2020).

Lichtenberg, Erik, “Conservation and the Environment in US Farm Legislation”, EuroChoices 18, 49-55 (2019).

Lichtenberg, Erik, “The Farm Bill, Conservation, and the Environment”, in Vincent H. Smith, Joseph W. Glauber, and Barry K. Goodwin (ed.), Agricultural Policy in Disarray, volume II, 169-197.Washington, DC, American Enterprise Institute, 2018.

Fleming, Patrick, Erik Lichtenberg, and David A. Newburn, “Evaluating Impacts of Agricultural Cost Sharing on Water Quality: Additionality, Crowding In, and Slippage”, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 92, 1-19 (2018).

Lichtenberg, Erik and Lars J. Olson, “The Fruit and Vegetable Import Pathway for Potential Invasive Pest Arrivals”, PLoS One, February 16 2018,

Lichtenberg, E., J. Majsztrik, and M. Saavoss, “Grower Demand for Sensor-Controlled Irrigation”, Water Resources Research 51, 341–358 (January 2015) (Editor’s Choice Award), doi:10.1002/2014WR015807.