Asa Watten

I am an energy and environmental economist and postdoc at the Environmental Protection Agency where I work on problems related to cars and transportation. I recently earned my Ph.D. in Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University.

I am interested in the economics of climate, energy, and technology-adoption policy. Many of my projects explore the uncertainty of deploying new technologies. I first became interested in these questions during my time running a small biofuels company in Braddock, Pennsylvania. I also hold degrees from The University of Chicago and Carnegie Mellon.

You can find my CV here.




I recently presented my work on attribute trade-offs at the National Academies of Sciences. It is also included in the public docket for the recent proposed rulemaking for light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards. A working paper can be found here.

Are subsides for output or subsidies for capital better? I develop a theory and find evidence that political risk reduced rooftop solar adoption in states with Renewable Portfolio Standards. A working paper can be found here.

At the beginning of 2014 more than 40% of Detroit’s street lights were burned out or broken. During 2014-2016 the city completely overhauled its street light system, installing 65,000 new LED lights and removing 23,000 old lights to become the largest U.S. city lit entirely using LEDs.