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Professors shed light on economic impact of light pollution

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Light pollution – the undesirable effects of poorly designed and injudiciously used artificial lighting – has  been the subject of considerable research by biologists and astronomers, but three Missouri State University economics department faculty are now studying the economic analysis of light pollution. Drs. Terrel Gallaway, David Mitchell and Reed Olsen have published their research in “Ecological Economics,” the “Journal of Economic Issues” and the “Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.” Their empirical papers combine satellite imagery with economic data to identify the economic factors which contribute to light pollution in the United States and worldwide.

One of Gallaway’s papers in the “Journal of Economic Issues” is more theoretical, and looks at the night sky as well as the reasons the issue of light pollution has been overlooked by the economics profession. He has been invited to attend the Bright Side of Night International conference in July and serve as a plenary speaker at the first International Conference on Artificial Light at Night in October. Both conferences are sponsored by Verlust der Nacht, Interdisziplinaren Forschungsverbund Lichtverschmutzung and will be held in Berlin.

One of their papers, “The Economics of Global Light Pollution,” was used by Arkansas legislator Stephen Meeks in introducing and supporting a bill to minimize the adverse effects of light pollution. He cited Mitchell’s calculations on wasted energy and CO2 emissions directly related to light pollution.


College of Humanities and Public Affairs
The College of Humanities and Public Affairs offers 16 undergraduate, eight graduate and six certificate programs. Departments in the college include criminology and criminal justice, defense and strategic studies, economics, history, military science, philosophy, political science, religious studies, sociology and anthropology. The department of defense and strategic studies is housed in the Washington, D.C. area. The college helps students understand social, political and legal structures, ethical principles, religious systems, and economic institutions and practices within a global, historical, and contemporary context.

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