Stephen J. DeCanio

Professor of Economics, Emeritus

University of California, Santa Barbara

My current research interests include Artificial Intelligence, philosophy of the social sciences, and the economics of climate change.

Several years ago I examined the consequences of computational limits for economics and social theory in Limits of Economic and Social Knowledge (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).  Over the course of my academic career I have worked in the fields of global environmental protection, the theory of the firm, and economic history.  I have written about both the contributions and misuse of economics for long-run policy issues such as climate change and stratospheric ozone layer protection.  An earlier book, Economic Models of Climate Change: A Critique (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), discussed the problems with conventional general equilibrium models applied to climate policy.

From 1986 to 1987 I served as Senior Staff Economist at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. I have been a member of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Economic Options Panel, which reviewed the economic aspects of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, and I served as Co-Chair of the Montreal Protocol’s Agricultural Economics Task Force of the Technical and Economics Assessment Panel. I participated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, and was a recipient of the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought in 2007. In 1996 I was honored with a Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award, and in 2007 a “Best of the Best” Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. I served as Director of the UCSB Washington Program from 2004 to 2009.

My home is in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and I can be reached most easily by email at