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Dr. Erik Lichtenberg


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


  • Agriculture and Environment
  • Natural Resources
  • Land Use



Erik Lichtenberg is an economist whose main area of interest is the intersection of agriculture, its natural resource base, and the environment. More bluntly, if it’s unpleasant and has something to do with agriculture, he is likely studying the economic aspects of it now or has done so in the past. His work encompasses such areas as the design and implementation of agri-environmental programs (and payment for ecosystem services programs more generally), management of invasive pests in international trade, the economics of pest management and pesticide regulation, adoption and impacts of water-saving irrigation technologies, regulation of nonpoint source water pollution, food safety regulations, and manure management.

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 GMP crops and precision agriculture and was a consultant to a National Academy panel on the future of pesticides in US agriculture. His work has earned him awards from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, the University of Helsinki, 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
  • Natural resource economics
  • Agri-environmental policy
  • Payment for ecosystem services (PES) programs
  • Pesticide regulation and pest management
  • Land use policy
  • Nonpoint source pollution control policy
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Irrigation technology adoption and impacts
  • Food safety regulation
  • Agricultural biotechnology


Selected Publications:

Lichtenberg, Erik and Eva Iglesias Martinez, “Index Insurance and Basis Risk: A Reconsideration”, Journal of Development Economics 158 (2022).

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 (2022).

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,

Current Projects

Design and implementation of payment for ecosystem services (PES) programs (with Dave Newburn).

  • Optimal design of penalties for non-completion of PES contracts.
  • Impacts of penalties for non-completion of PES contracts on targeting parcels for enrollment.
  • Using stated preferences to estimate willingness to accept payments for installing streamside buffers.
  • Revealed preference estimation of additionality in Maryland’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).

Management of invasive pests in international trade (with Lars Olson).

  • Estimating the value of scientific knowledge in screening imported cargoes for potential invasive pests.
  • Design of user fees to cover the costs of inspecting imports for the presence of invasive pests.

Economics of pollination (with Kathy Baylis and Elinor Lichtenberg).

  • Develop an economic-ecological theoretical framework for understanding interactions between crop production, surrounding landscapes, pollinator conservation, and the provision of pollination services by wild and managed pollinators.
  • Develop and apply innovative methods for identifying land use practices, habitat quality, yield and use of managed pollinators from a combination of remotely sensed, primary survey data and government microdata.
  •  Develop and apply methods for estimating the effects of surrounding landscapes on pollination services and crop yields.
  • Conduct cost-benefit analyses of changes in wild pollinator habitat.

Design of index insurance for developing countries (with Eva Iglesias)

  • Using index insurance to finance drought-induced emergency feeding assistance for pastoralists in the Sahel.