James Roumasset

UHERO Research Fellow and Professor Emeritus of Economics


Ph.D., Economics, University of Wisconsin, Madison
M.A., Economics, University of Hawaii
B.A., Economics, University of California, Berkeley

Research Interests

Environmental & resource economics, water and watershed management, new institutional economics, development microeconomics, and sustainable development Professor of Economics, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. Dr. Roumasset’s primary areas of research stem an NSF grant on energy substitution and sustainable development, the ERS/USDA PREISM program and a number of USGS grants on the sustainable development and conservation of water resources. He has previously held positions at UC Davis; the University of the Philippines; ANU; Yale; the University of Maryland; the International Rice Research Institute and the World Bank, where he worked as a long-term consultant on irrigation economics. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Western Economic Association International and the editorial boards of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Contemporary Economic Policy, Asian Journal of Agriculture and Development, Asian Journal of Agricultural Economics, and SE Asian Journal of Agricultural Economics. His publications and extramural grants during the last 10 years have focused on developing new methods for policy analysis for resource and environmental management problems in Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific Region and promoting new connections both between and within disciplines via sustainability science. He has also published widely on agricultural development, transaction cost economics, risk and decision-making, and the nature, causes and consequences of public policy.

Do natural disasters make sustainable growth impossible?

We consider the prospects for sustainable growth using expected utility models of optimal investment under threat from natural disasters. Adoption of a continuous time, stochastic …

The Role of Electricity prices in Structural Transformation: Evidence from the Philippines

The Philippines provides an extreme example of Rodrik’s observation that late developing countries experience deindustrialization at lower levels of per capita income than more advanced …

Do Natural Disasters Make Sustainable Growth Impossible?

We consider the prospects for sustainable growth using expected utility models of optimal investment under threat from a natural disaster. Extension of a discrete, two-period …

Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on global fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Nori Tarui


We assess the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on global fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions over the two-year horizon 2020Q1-2021Q4. We apply a global vector autoregressive (GVAR) model, which captures complex spatial-temporal interdependencies across countries associated with the international propagation of economic impact due to the virus spread. The model makes use of a unique quarterly data set of coal, natural gas, and oil consumption, output, exchange rates and equity prices, including global fossil fuel prices for 32 major CO2 emitting countries in 1984-2019. We produce forecasts of coal, natural gas and oil consumption, conditional on GDP growth scenarios based on alternative IMF World Economic Outlook forecasts that were made before and after the outbreak. We also simulate the effect of a relative price change in fossil fuels, due to global scale carbon pricing, on consumption and output. Our results predict fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions to return to their pre-crisis levels, and even exceed them, within the two-year horizon despite the large reductions in the first quarter following the outbreak. Our forecasts anticipate more robust growth for emerging than for advanced economies. The model predicts recovery to the pre-crisis levels even if another wave of pandemic occurs within a year. Our counterfactual carbon pricing scenario indicates that an increase in coal prices is expected to have a smaller impact on GDP than on fossil fuel consumption. Thus, the COVID-19 pandemic would not provide countries with a strong reason to delay climate change mitigation efforts.