Dr. George Parsons has been appointed director of the Marine Policy Program at the University of Delaware Graduate College of Marine Studies. The Marine Policy Program, one of four graduate program areas at the college, examines the economic, legal, political, and social aspects of the world ocean, the seabed, and the coastal zone.
Parsons succeeds Dr. Lee Anderson, who served as director of the program for the past 18 years. Anderson will continue his research at the college on achieving sustainable fisheries through the development of effective management programs.
In addition, Anderson recently began a one-year appointment as economic adviser to the Sustainable Fisheries Office of the National Marine Fisheries Service in Silver Spring, Maryland, under an Intergovernmental Personnel Agreement. This agreement allows a person from an eligible organization such as an institution of higher education or a state or local government to be temporarily assigned to a position with the federal government.
A member of UD’s faculty since 1986, Parsons teaches and conducts research in environmental and natural resource economics. He is particularly interested in an area of research known as non-market valuation in which analysts attempt to value environmental and natural resources such as cleaner water and air.
According to Parsons, the results can be used by resource managers in various regulatory settings. For example, they may used to establish pollution standards, to determine compensation in a damage assessment case, or to set information requirements for a seafood inspection program. In all cases, the valuation information helps society balance the costs against the benefits of different government actions.
Recently, Parsons has done work on valuing beach use, marine protected areas, fish kills due to Pfiesteria outbreaks, and water quality improvements under the Clean Water Act. He has taught several courses including environmental economics, applied policy analysis, and cost-benefit analysis and has advised over 30 students in obtaining their graduate degree.
Parsons also holds a joint appointment in UD’s Department of Economics. He received his doctoral degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1985 and his bachelor’s degree — also in economics — from Indiana University at Bloomington in 1975.
He resides in Newark with his wife and two children.