The University of Tennessee, KnoxvilleThe Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy

Cristina Reiser

Cristina Reiser, GA, Economics & Baker Center   


Area of Study:

Environmental Economics and Industrial Organization



Cristina Reiser is a Ph.D. candidate in Economics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with specialization in environmental economics and industrial organizations. She attended Salisbury University, where she earned my B.S. in Finance and a B.A. in Economics. Presently, she is a graduate research associate for the Howard Baker Center for Public Policy and works under the supervision of Dr. Robert Shelton. Their latest project focuses on science, technology and sustainable economic growth and was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy – Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Also collaborating are the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars and the European Commission.  The purpose was to understand the ways in which science, innovation, and technology enhance sustainable economic growth, to identify the barriers associated with transforming science into socially beneficial outcomes, and explore policy options that might overcome these barriers and enhance the impact of science on economic activity and societal needs. Prior to her work at the Baker Center, Cristina was a graduate teaching associate for the Department of Economics at UTK. Courses taught were Principals of Economics, Microeconomic Theory, Macroeconomic Theory, and Government and Business. Her research interests revolve around understanding the ways in which scientific research, innovation, and technology affect sustainable economic growth, the barriers that prevent the transformation of science to potentially beneficial outcomes for society, and policy options that can alleviate these barriers and enhance the impact of science and technology on societal welfare


Cristina’s dissertation is comprised of two separate lines of theoretical research in which numerical simulations are used to complement my findings. In the first, she focuses on misconduct by workers in tournament-like settings when monitoring of actions is imperfect. She finds that the tournament organizer can minimize equilibrium misconduct by tolerating small levels of it rather than implementing a zero-tolerance policy. The second line of research is a nexus between industrial organizations and environmental economics and is an extension of her work for the Baker Center. She developed a model that ranks incentive-based environmental policies on their impact on clean technology diffusion. By applying insights from the industrial organization literature on optimal licensing to oligopolistic industries, she shows that (i) grandfathered permits yield a higher rate of diffusion than an emissions tax and (ii) the innovator’s optimal licensing decision results in a more concentrated market (i.e., the number of firms in the market shrinks) under a tax, but not under a permit system.

Presentations & Publications:

Minimizing misconduct in rank-order tournaments, Department of Economics Brownbag Workshop Series, University of Tennessee, October, 2011

Environmental policy impacts on welfare and innovation – accounting for oligopoly and incumbent innovators, Association of Environmental and Resource Economics (AERE) Inaugural Summer Conference, Seattle, Washington, June 2011

Inducing optimal R&D through price ceilings, Southern Economics Association (SEA) Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, November 2009.

Inducing R&D investment with price ceilings with Youping Li and Zhou Yang, Economics Bulletin 30(2):1548-1553, 2010