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Robert H. Nelson Send Email

Robert H. Nelson is Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, Professor of Environmental Policy in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, and Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center.

Professor Nelson has been Staff Economist for the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs; Visiting Senior Fellow, Marine Policy Center, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Member of Economics Staff, Office of Policy Analysis, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget, U.S. Department of the Interior; Senior Research Manager of President's Commission on Privatization; Visiting Scholar and Federal Executive Fellow at the Brookings Institution; Visiting Scholar at the Property and Environment Research Center; Chairman of Interior Department Task Force on Indian Economic Development; Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute; Senior Economist of the Commission on Fair Market Value Policy for Federal Coal Leasing; Staff Economist, Twentieth Century Fund; Assistant Professor of Economics, City College of the City University of New York; and Consultant to the Puerto Rico Planning Board.

A contributing author to many scholarly volumes, his articles have appeared such journals as the Journal of Economic Literature, Journal of Political Economy, Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, Journal of Markets and Morality, Case Western Reserve Law Review, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Natural Resources Journal, Review of Faith and International Affairs, Ecological Economics, American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Review of Policy Research, Ocean Development and International Law, Politics and the Life Sciences, Journal of Forestry, Southern Economic Journal, and University of Colorado Law Review.

Professor Nelson is the author of the new Independent Institute book, The New Holy Wars: Economic Religion vs. Environmental Religion in Contemporary America, as well as the books, Private Neighborhoods and the Transformation of Local Government; Zoning and Property Rights; The Making of Federal Coal Policy; Reaching for Heaven on Earth: The Theological Meaning of Economics; Economics as Religion: From Samuelson to Chicago and Beyond; and Public Lands and Private Rights: The Failure of Scientific Management.

His popular articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Reason, Society, Baltimore Sun, Liberty, Financial Times, Weekly Standard, Washington Times, Policy Review, Federal Times, Sacramento Bee, The Freeman, Denver Post, Urban Land, and other newspapers and magazines.

He received his B.A. in mathematics from Brandeis University and Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University.

The New Holy Wars 2010
Housing America 2009
Re-Thinking Green 2005
The Voluntary City 2002
Regulation and the Reagan Era 1989
Robert Nelson on BookTalks debates Christian Felber on “Economics as Religion” July 30, 2014
Economic Religion vs. Environmental Religion in America October 7, 2010

Robert Nelson on Environmentalism as Religion May 21, 2012
Economic Religion vs. Environmental Religion in America October 7, 2010

Economic Religion vs. Environmental Religion in America October 7, 2010
Independent Review Articles
Gus diZerega Responds to Robert Nelson and Nelson Replies Spring 2013
Economics and Environmentalism: Belief Systems at Odds Summer 2012
Ecological Science as a Creation Story Spring 2010
[View All Independent Review Articles (9)]
Give States Control Over Public Land Out West January 8, 2016
As Fire Season Approaches, Let’s Create ‘Charter Forests’ May 5, 2014
Energy: Russia’s Achilles’ Heel March 17, 2014
Taking an Ax to Traditional Forest Management January 2, 2014
The Fractured Left April 22, 2013
[View All Commentary (29)]
Presentation on “The State-Run Federal Lands Act” (H.R. 3294) November 21, 2013
Summary Remarks on “The State-Run Federal Lands Act” (H.R. 3294) November 21, 2013
Climate Holy Wars December 13, 2011
Research Article
The Secular Religions of Progress October 14, 2013
Rethinking Church and State October 1, 2011
The Gospel According to Conservation Biology June 1, 2007