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Wallace E. Oates: Biographical Statement


     Wallace Oates is Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland and a University Fellow at Resources for the Future.  Following completion of the Ph.D. in Economics at Stanford in 1965, he joined the faculty at Princeton University, where he was a member of the Economics Department until 1979, at which time he moved to Maryland.

     His primary research interests are in two fields: public finance (with a focus on fiscal federalism and state-local finance) and environmental economics.  Beginning with the dissertation, which was expanded into Fiscal Federalism (1972), he has explored issues in public finance including the assignment of functions to different levels of government in a federal system, the provision of local public goods, the design of intergovernmental grants, and the structure of local revenue systems.  He has worked on these matters with urban groups, the European Union, the OECD, and with various federal and state agencies in the United States.

     In the field of environmental economics, he has had a central interest in the use of economic incentives for environmental management.  In The Theory of Environmental Policy (1975, revised edition 1988), with William Baumol and in other books and papers, he has studied the design and implementation of taxes on polluting activities and of systems of tradeable emissions allowances.  He has worked on the design of regulatory programs for pollution control with the U.S. EPA, the OECD, and other federal and state agencies.  He has also served on the Environmental Economics Advisory Committee for the EPA.

     He has served as the President of the Eastern Economic Association (1989-90) and President of the Southern Economic Association (1993-94).  His awards include a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (1974-75) and a Senior Fulbright-Hays Research Scholar (1974-75).  In 1994, he and his co-author, William Baumol received an award from the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists for a “Publication of Enduring Quality” for their book, The Theory of Environmental Policy.  In 1997, he was elected to the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters;  in 2000, he received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Economics from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland; and in 2002 he was the recipient of the Daniel M. Holland Medal from the National Tax Association.  In 2006, he received a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher award at the University of Maryland.