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UA Program Connects Law and Economics with Environment
Recruitment is on for the new program, which leads to a law degree, a master of science degree and a graduate certificate.
A new program at The University of Arizona that combines the advanced study of law with economics in an accelerated program for students interested in environmental policy.Faculty in UA’s James E. Rogers College of Law and the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics work together to offer the program, which is currently recruiting for its fall 2008 class.
Those who graduate from the new program earn a law degree, a master of science degree and a graduate certificate in economics, law and the environment. Graduates are expected to work in a highly specialized field that involves environmental issues and scarce resources, like water, timber and land.
“This program broadens the credentials so that a person can be able to do analyses that may be involved in the decisions made by private firms or regulatory agencies,” said Kirsten H. Engel, a UA law professor who is co-directing the new program.
“Because of this program, they will be much more valuable to their employer,” she said.
The accelerated program, which is interdisciplinary and specialized in nature, cannot be found elsewhere, the programs co-directors said.
“There has been little collaboration by economics and law faculty in the area of environmental policy. Environmental law and environmental economics – the two have not merged,” said Dean Lueck, the Bartley P. Cardon Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, who is co-directing the program with Engel.
But more work is happening in government and private industry involving easements, endangered species and the trading of water rights. Negotiating through such situations often requires help from individuals who have specialized expertise, which is what the UA will be giving to the two to four new students it plans to enroll in the program each year.
“All these sorts of things increasingly requires someone with skills in analyzing market forces, incentives and other things, but also knows about legal, regulatory institutions,” said Lueck, also a professor of economics.
Students in the new program get rigorous training in law, microeconomics and econometrics and attend workshops and seminars. Also, instead of completing a thesis, students will be required to complete a research paper.
“We want to get the talented and motivated through fast,” Lueck said. “They should know the lay of the land and, after they are done, they’ll know who’s who and how things work. They should be ready to work on and develop their careers in lots of different ways.”
Engel said jobs will be available to students in higher education, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, law firms, consulting firms and elsewhere.
“There really is a demand,” she said. “In terms of the need for people who have legal training and economics training but with an interest or expertise in environmental issues – that exists and is growing.”