I originally hail from the Cape Winelands of South Africa. I attended the University of Cape Town for my Bachelor studies, graduating with double honours degrees in economics and business science in 2005.
I spent the next several years working in the private sector, punctuated by extended periods of travel. Most notable of these was a 12,500 km bicycle journey from Cairo to Cape Town, which raised $200,000 for a development project in Tanzania. Here are two promo videos of the expedition that were made as part of a pitch to Irish television companies.
My experiences during these travels, as well as bearing close witness to the global financial crisis through my job as an economic consultant, were key motivating factors in my decision to pursue graduate studies. My preference was to study abroad and to specialise in energy economics and natural resource management. Norway seemed an ideal fit for these goals and I thus went on to enroll in an MSc, followed by a PhD at the Norwegian School of Economics. After completing my PhD in 2015, I went on to do a two-year postdoc with Chris Costello at UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management.
In Fall 2017, I joined the Department of Economics at the University of Oregon as an assistant professor.
My research interests are rooted in the fields of environmental and resource economics, and are informed by an overarching empirical approach. Alongside traditional econometrics, my research utilises economic theory, Bayesian methods and some newer data science tools. I am particularly excited by the prospects of big data and associated tools like machine learning for addressing longstanding environmental and social questions. This excitement dovetails with my current research focus, which is largely aimed at deriving meaningful policy insights from vast and unprecedented data sources like Global Fishing Watch.
On a personal note, I am married to Lorraine McDermott. We welcomed our first child to the family in 2015.