Prof. Esther Blanco, PhD

I am Professor of Economics in the Department of Public Finance at the University of Innsbruck, Austria and Affiliated Faculty of The Ostrom Workshop, Indiana University, USA. I am Deputy Head of the Research Area Economy, Politics and Society, at the University of Innsbruck.


I am co-PI, with five other colleagues from Innsbruck, of the Special Research Area on Credence Goods, Incentives and Behavior. I am also Coordinating Lead Author of the APCC Assessment Report on Climate Change in Austria (2022- 2025). 


My research program pushes out the frontier in the area of Behavioral Environmental Economics by carrying out policy-relevant research on how to facilitate behavioral change towards sustainable societies. My previous research has covered topics on (i) cooperative behavior in social-ecological systems, (ii) the interaction of governance with cooperation, and (iii) firm and consumer behavior on corporate social responsibility. These three lines of research inform policy design fostering greener, fairer, societies, pursuing the objectives of the Climate Change Paris Agreement, the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, the EU Green Deal, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 


I hold a PhD in Economics (excellent cum laude) and have a research interest in environmental and natural resource economics, experimental economics, game theory, public economics, and corporate social responsibility. My research uses different methods, including economic experiments, game theory, surveys, interviews and field interventions. I have an interest in multi-disciplinary research approaches combining multiple methods in single studies to tackle complex collective action problems.


The scientific contributions of my previous research revolve around three topics. First, I have developed new paradigms in experimental games to incorporate real-life complexity from conservation decisions. Specifically, for analyzing the strategic interaction of mitigation and adaptation decisions and for incorporating donors in payments for ecosystem services. Second, I have pushed the methodological and knowledge boundaries on the interrelation between local governance of natural resources and pro-social and anti-social preferences. Studies in this line of research use multi-method, multi-disciplinary research approaches with participants in lower income countries. Third, I have provided theoretical evidence on the interaction between firms’ certified and uncertified green claims in settings where there is scope for fraud, relevant for corporate social responsibility. 



List of Publications


List of Research Projects


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