Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics

Document Type



This paper outlines what we have learned about the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil disaster from the economics discipline as well as what effect the DWH disaster has had on the economics discipline. It appears that what we know about the economic impact of the DWH spill today is limited, possibly because such analysis is tied up in the federal Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process and other state-led efforts. There is evidence, however, that the NRDA process has changed over time to de-emphasize economic valuation of damages. There is also evidence that economists may be producing fewer outputs as a result of the DWH relative to scholars from other disciplines because of an apparent absence of funding for it. Of the research that has taken place, this paper provides a summary and highlights the main directions of future research. It appears that the most pressing topic is addressing the incentives and policies in place to promote a culture of safety in the offshore oil industry. Also, it appears that the most prominent, and challenging, direction of future research resulting from the DWH is the expansion of an ecosystems services approach to damage assessment and marine policy.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.