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Outstanding Faculty Awards

James Kahn

Professor of Economics
Washington and Lee University

James Randall Kahn is the John F. Hendon Professor of Economics and the Director of the interdisciplinary Environmental Studies Program at Washington and Lee University (W&L), where he has been on the faculty since 2000. Dr. Kahn received a B.A. in economics from W&L in 1975, and his M.A. (1978) and his Ph.D. (1981) in economics from the University of Maryland-College Park. He was on the faculty of SUNY-Binghamton (1980-1991) and had a joint appointment at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (1991-2000). Dr. Kahn is a Fulbright Scholar (Brazil-2001) and has been a Collaborating Professor at the Federal University of Amazonas (UFAM) since 1992.

Dr. Kahn is an internationally known environmental economist, with well over 100 publications and numerous invited presentations at conferences and universities. His research has been supported by many funding agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA, and DOE. Curricular development projects have been funded by FIPSE and the Andrew Mellon Foundation.

Dr. Kahn is currently working on a project with colleagues at UFAM and W&L to model the interaction between rainforest communities and the ecosystem in Barcelos, a highly intact area of the Brazilian Amazon that is bigger than New York State. The research will help to identify paths to a higher quality of life for the communities that continues to preserve the environment. Other research interests include environmental valuation, sustainable development, the environment and developing countries, economic incentives for environmental improvement, global climate change policy, and fishery economics.

Dr. Kahn’s teaching focuses on the introductory environmental studies course, the senior capstone research course in environmental studies, and various courses in applied environmental economics. In W&L’s four-week spring term, Dr. Kahn brings students to the Amazon to study the relationship between the environment and sustainable development. Together with Brazilian colleagues, Dr. Kahn created an exchange program where students spend a half year in the other country. W&L’s partners in this include UFAM, the State University of North Fluminense, and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. The exchange program has been funded by the federal governments of the U.S. and Brazil.

View Nomination Packet

Dr. James Kahn


"Throughout my teaching, there is an emphasis on the use of disciplinary tools in an interdisciplinary context, and an emphasis on how differences in geography, environment, culture, political system, economic circumstances and other factors influence the relationship between people and the environment in which they live."