StFX Economics Professors Receive Over $130,000 to Study the Economic Impact of Climate Change on Coastal Areas

Two people standing together
Dr. Jonathan Rosborough (left) and Dr. Patrick Withey

StFX’s Economics Department continues to build upon a strong record of research excellence this year, as researchers in the department have attracted two national grants and contracts totaling more than $130,000.

The projects focus on the economics of climate change induced sea-level rise.

Dr. Patrick Withey and Dr. Jonathan Rosborough are the principal investigators leading a $595,000 research project funded by Natural Resources Canada. This collaborative project includes members from the University of Prince Edward Island, the University of New Brunswick, and each provincial government in Atlantic Canada.

More than $89,000 will come to StFX from this project for activities including the hiring of summer research students. 

The project will focus on case studies in each of the four Atlantic provinces, and evaluate the economic cost of climate change induced sea-level rise and storm surge on communities in Atlantic Canada, as well as the net benefits of adaptation options aimed at mitigating these impacts.  

Dr. Withey also received a $42,000 SSHRC Insight Development Grant for the project entitled “Estimating the market and non-market economic impacts of climate change induced sea-level rise in Canada.” This study will take a broader view of the impacts of sea-level rise and storm surge, and use mathematical programming and survey methods to evaluate the aggregate (regional and national) costs of sea-level rise in Canada. 

StFX researchers and student research assistants on a site visit.

Atlantic Canada is particularly sensitive to erosion and flooding due to storms and sea-level rise in the coming century.  The research questions addressed here are thus increasingly important and topical. Results will be of interest to the academic community, but also members of society and policy makers as they attempt to deal with the implications of climate change moving forward.

The work will also allow the economics department to continue to support summer research assistants in the next three years. 

Interest in economics at StFX is growing, department members say, and the ability to attract student researchers and provide them with real world research opportunities bodes well for their future prospects. 

These grants cap off an impressive year for these professors, who have had several papers published in peer-reviewed journals and attended national conferences to present their work. At one conference in Vancouver this summer, Dr. Withey received an outstanding thesis award from the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society for his doctoral work on wetlands management in a changing climate. Dr. Withey has also been invited to join the editorial board of Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research, which has been published by Oxford Press since 1927.

Dr. Rosborough was the recipient of the 2014 StFX Outstanding Teaching Award, presented at the May convocation.