Jan. 8, 1998
Vol. 17, No. 7

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    Coursey among outstanding young academic leaders

    Don Coursey, Ameritech Professor and Dean of the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, has been named one of the nation's 40 outstanding young academic leaders by Change magazine. The magazine, which focuses on issues of higher learning, made the selection after sending 12,000 surveys to opinion leaders nationwide and posting a poll on its Internet site. Change conducted the survey with the American Council on Education and SallieMae. People receiving the honor, all of whom are under the age of 45, were selected because they have had a major impact on higher education, have demonstrated innovative and creative approaches in leadership and have gained the respect of others in the field.

    Coursey's research has focused on comparisons of demand for environmental quality and on environmental legislation in the United States. He also has investigated the preferences people have for environmental improvements when balanced against other social and economic goals. He led a recent investigation of environmental equity in Chicago by examining the relationship between the location of older hazardous industrial sites and the racial composition of surrounding neighborhoods. He found that factors such as transportation routes rather than minority residential patterns determined the location of waste sites.

    Coursey has studied the links between financial and environmental decisions, including the relative costs of preserving various species. In a paper titled "The Revealed Demand for a Public Good: Evidence From Endangered and Threatened Species," he wrote that the larger, more popular animals such as panthers, bald eagles and grizzly bears receive more federal support than do spiders, snails or insects, regardless of the role each species plays in the ecosystem. The spending reflects public preferences.

    His other work includes such papers as "The Demand for Environmental Quality," "Competition in Political and Economic Markets," and "Defining Fair Environmental Policy."