Associate Professor of Economics
College of Arts and Sciences
Specializing in environmental economics, Dr. Ariaster Chimeli is an expert on environment and development economics. Chimeli's research focuses on economic growth and the environment, climate, economics of energy and tropical deforestation. Along with his extensive work in these areas, he also teaches courses in economics of the environment, economics and microeconomics.
Chimeli first became interested in environmental economics in college while working as an intern for an environmental consulting firm in his home country of Brazil. With no distinguished course on environmental economics in Brazil at the time, his fascination with the topic led him to study the subject on his own. From there, Chimeli focused his undergraduate theses around environmental economics, then traveled to the United States to pursue doctorate and post doctorate degrees.
Chimeli's work contains powerful policy implications and attempts to improve citizens' understanding of critical environmental problems.
"Important in the global agenda is to find solutions to improve the human condition and preserve our environmental assets," he says. "There are many solutions to different problems. Economics focuses on seeking those solutions that produce the most benefit with the least possible cost while paying attention to the tradeoffs involved in each proposed solution."
Chimeli's research focuses on the tradeoffs involved in environmental protection and society's choices. For example, his current work on tropical deforestation in Brazil focuses on violence within the illegal mahogany timber market. He concluded that, similar to the case of narcotics, the evidence suggest that prohibition of mahogany is ineffective in decreasing production and consumption and leads to increased violence despite potentially large expenditures on monitoring of these illegal markets.
This research is an example of a policy evaluation study that can result in governments analyzing and possibly revising their economic policies. In addition, Chimeli is studying the impact of climate variability on industrial production in Brazil and Europe.
Chimeli is also about to embark on a new project, as part of a National Science Foundation grant, with colleagues from the Russ College of Engineering and Technology and the Georgia Institute of Technology that will attempt to estimate the benefit of building more energy-sustainable and environmentally-friendly houses.
"These benefits, when contrasted to building costs, can help to guide society in the process of responsibly using scarce resources to attack important environmental problems," Chimeli says.
Areas of Expertise