Sustainable Prosperity recently launched a brand new page dedicated to SP’s Student Network. This space showcases students currently supported by the SP Research Network, and allows them to tell us a bit more about their interests and the projects they are working on. Through the mentoring and training of graduate students, the network is helping to build Canada’s environment and economy research. Over the years, the SP Research Network has supported more than 70 students across Canada.

The students’ research projects are chosen through a competitive Call for Proposals, and students must work under an advisor from our network of prominent academics and researchers.

Their research topics vary widely, from green building policy in Canadian cities to the empirical estimation of carbon leakage from BC’s carbon tax, but these projects have one thing in common: they focus on the transition to a greener economy and explore the role market-based instruments can have in improving Canada’s environmental and economic performance.

Their work also highlights policy-relevant findings and implications, with the goal of translating these into smart and innovative policies that will facilitate the transition to a green economy.

Marcel Oestreich’s work is a great example. As a Ph.D. student of Economics at the University of Guelph he was partly funded by the SP research network. Today, he is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Brock University. His research focusses on improving audit mechanisms for environmental information disclosure programs using insights from Game Theory.

In this research report, Dr. Oestreich explains that when firms self-report their pollution, their environmental performance can improve. However, the success of these self-reporting initiatives is dependent on the regulatory agency’s ability to enforce compliance — usually through a fine-based system.

Given the high costs associated with conducting site inspections (audits), he proposes two alternative audit strategies that regulatory agencies can employ to optimize audit budget resources. In this way, Dr. Oestreich presents novel policy solutions that not only better protect the environment by promoting higher levels of compliance among firms, but also enhance competitive fairness in the marketplace.

To learn more about his work, you can access his research paper here (published by the Journal of Environmental and Resource Economics), or read SP’s Research Note, which briefly summarizes his research findings.