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Cornell University



Cynthia Lin Lawell awarded Bacon Lectureship Honorable Mention


Cornell University TREESPEAR Director Professor C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2015-2016 Bacon Public Lectureship and White Paper Competition for her work on the economics of groundwater management, and gave her talk in Sacramento in 2016.

Professor Lin Lawell is an expert on water economics and water management. She and her former and current Ph.D. students have conducted previous research on groundwater management, including previous research on the effects of irrigation technology, property rights, pumping by neighbors, energy prices, and climate change on groundwater extraction by agricultural water users. Their work on groundwater management has been published in top journals including the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, and the Annual Review of Resource Economics.

In addition to the Bacon Lectureship Honorable Mention, Professor Lin Lawell was the invited speaker on groundwater at the University of California at Davis Agribusiness Workshop in 2015. She was an invited panelist at the international conference on Water Pricing for a Dry Future: Policy Ideas from Abroad and their Relevance to California in 2016.

In previous research, Professor Lin Lawell and her former Ph.D. student Lisa Pfeiffer examine the effect of programs that subsidize efficient irrigation technology on water extraction. Their results show that programs that subsidize efficient irrigation technology cause farmers to respond by switching to more water intensive crops, thereby increasing, not decreasing, water extraction. Their research therefore demonstrates the possible perverse consequences of incentive-based groundwater conservation programs. This work has been featured in media outlets such as the New York Times (first here, and then here), the Washington Post, Bloomberg View, the Chicago Policy Review, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Environmental Working Groupís AgMag BLOG, the Farm Foundationís AgChallenge2050, and ThinkProgress. This work was also chosen as one of the "Editorís Picks" featured on the front page of the Global Water Forum; and was listed among the "Top Stories" for the Brown and Caldwell Water News, an aggregator run by the largest engineering consulting firm solely focused on the U.S. environmental sector, in October 2013.

Professor Lin Lawell's ongoing research with Cornell University TREESPEAR Graduate Research Associate Louis Sears and Cornell University TREESPEAR Postgraduate Research Assistant David Lim has been featured in the Western Farm Press, the Porterville Recorder, and the Cornell Chronicle.

Professor Lin Lawell and Cornell University TREESPEAR Graduate Research Associate Louis Sears have written a peer-reviewed book chapter on water management and economics for The Routledge Handbook of Agricultural Economics.


For further reading:

  • Pfeiffer, Lisa, and C.-Y. Cynthia Lin. (2014). Does efficient irrigation technology lead to reduced groundwater extraction?: Empirical evidence. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 67 (2), 189-208.
    [Manuscript] [Published paper]
  • Pfeiffer, Lisa, and C.-Y. Cynthia Lin. (2012). Groundwater pumping and spatial externalities in agriculture. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 64 (1), 16-30.
    [Manuscript] [Published paper]
  • Pfeiffer, Lisa, and C.-Y. Cynthia Lin. (2014). The effects of energy prices on agricultural groundwater extraction from the High Plains Aquifer. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 96 (5), 1349-1362.
    [Manuscript] [Published paper]
  • Sears, Louis, and C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell. (2019). Water management and economics. In Gail L. Cramer, Krishna P. Paudel, and Andrew Schmitz (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Agricultural Economics (pp. 269-284). London: Routledge.
    [Manuscript] [Publication]
  • Lin Lawell, C.-Y. Cynthia. (2016). The management of groundwater: Irrigation efficiency, policy, institutions, and externalities. Annual Review of Resource Economics, 8, 247-259.
    [Manuscript] [Published paper]
  • Sears, Louis, C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell, and C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell. (2019). Groundwater under open access: A structural model of the dynamic extraction game in California. Working paper, Cornell University.
    [Working paper]
  • Sears, Louis, and C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell. (2019). Dual rights to groundwater: Theory and application to California. Working paper, Cornell University.
    [Working paper]
  • Sears, Louis, David Lim, and C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell. (2019). Spatial groundwater management: A dynamic game framework and application to California. Water Economics and Policy, 5 (1), 1850019.
    [Working paper] [Published paper]
  • Bertone Oehninger, Ernst, C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell, and Michael R. Springborn. (2019). The effects of climate change on agricultural groundwater extraction. Working paper, Cornell University.
    [Working paper]
  • Sears, Louis, David Lim, and C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell. (2017). Agricultural groundwater management in California: Possible perverse consequences? Agricultural and Resource Economics Update, 20 (3), 1-3.
    [Publication]
  • Bertone Oehninger, Ernst, and C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell. (2019). Property rights and groundwater management in the High Plains Aquifer. Working paper, Cornell University.
    [Working paper]
  • Sears, Louis, C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell, and David Lim. (2019). Interjurisdictional spatial externalities in groundwater management. Working paper, Cornell University.
    [Working paper]
  • Lin, C.-Y. Cynthia. (2013). Paradox on the Plains: As water efficiency increases, so can water use. California WaterBlog.
    [Blog]
  • Sears, Louis, David Lim, and C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell. (2018). The economics of agricultural groundwater management institutions: The case of California. Water Economics and Policy, 4 (3), 1850003.
    [Manuscript]
  • Bertone Oehninger, Ernst, C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell, and Michael R. Springborn. (2019). Climate change, groundwater, crop choice, and irrigation technology: A review of recent studies. Working paper, Cornell University.
    [Working paper]
  • Lin, C.-Y. Cynthia, and Lisa Pfeiffer. (2015). Strategic behavior and regulation over time and space. In Kimberly Burnett, Richard Howitt, James A. Roumasset, and Christopher A. Wada (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Water Economics and Institutions (pp. 79-90). New York: Routledge.
    [Manuscript] [Publication]
  • Sears, Louis, Joseph Caparelli, Clouse Lee, Devon Pan, Gillian Strandberg, Linh Vuu, and C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell. (2018). Jevonsí Paradox and efficient irrigation technology. Sustainability, 10 (5), 1590.
    [Manuscript] [Published paper]
  • Lin, C.-Y. Cynthia. (2013). The unintended consequences of incentive-based groundwater conservation programs: A study using spatial data. Energy Dimensions.
    [Blog]
  • Sears, Louis, Ernst Bertone Oehninger, David Lim, and C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell. (2019). The economics of sustainable agricultural groundwater management: Recent findings. Working paper, Cornell University.
    [Working paper]
  • Pfeiffer, Lisa, and C.-Y. Cynthia Lin. (2014). Perverse consequences of incentive-based groundwater conservation programs. Global Water Forum, Discussion Paper 1415.
    [Publication]
  • Lin, C.-Y. Cynthia. (2013). Incentive-based groundwater conservation programs may have unintended results. California State Controller John Chiang Statement of General Fund Cash Receipts and Disbursements, 7 (6), 5-6.
    [Publication]
  • Lin Lawell, C.-Y. Cynthia. (2016). The economics of groundwater management. Policy brief, University of California Center Sacramento.
    [Policy brief]
  • Pfeiffer, Lisa, and C.-Y. Cynthia Lin. (2010). The effect of irrigation technology on groundwater use. Choices, 25 (3).
    [Published paper]
  • Pfeiffer, Lisa, and C.-Y. Cynthia Lin. (2009). Incentive-based groundwater conservation programs: Perverse consequences? Agricultural and Resource Economics Update, 12 (6), 1-4.
    [Publication]