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Karen L. Palmer
Research Director and Senior Fellow
Palmer has been a researcher at RFF for more than 20 years and is the first recipient of the Darius Gaskins Chair. She specializes in the economics of environmental and public utility regulation, particularly on issues at the intersection of air quality regulation and the electricity sector. Her work seeks to improve the design of incentive-based environmental regulations that influence the electric utility sector, including controls of multi-pollutants and carbon emissions from electrical generating plants. To this end, she identifies cost-effective approaches to allocating emissions allowances, explores policies targeting carbon emissions and other air pollutants, and efficient ways to promote use of renewable sources of electricity. 
Featured Publications
Secular Trends, Environmental Regulations and Electricity Markets
Dallas Burtraw, Karen Palmer, Anthony Paul and Matt Woerman
The Electricity Journal | July 2012 | Vol 25, No. 6 | pp. 35-47 | Related Discussion Paper 12-15
A Symmetric Safety Valve
Dallas Burtraw, Karen Palmer, Danny Kahn
Energy Policy | Vol. 38, No.19 | pp.4921-4932
Energy Efficiency Economics and Policy
Kenneth Gillingham, Richard G. Newell, and Karen Palmer
Annual Review of Resource Economics | Forthcoming | Related Discussion Paper 09-13
Compensation Rules for Climate Policy in the Electricity Sector
Dallas Burtraw and Karen Palmer
Journal of Public Policy Analysis and Management | Vol. 27, No. 4 | 819-847 | Related Discussion Paper 07-41
Modeling the Effects of Changes in New Source Review on National SO2 and NOx Emissions from Electricity-Generating Units
David A. Evans, Benjamin F. Hobbs, Craig Oren and Karen Palmer
Environmental Science and Technology | forthcoming | Related Discussion Paper 07-01
Simple Rules for Targetting CO2 Allowance Allocation to Compensate Firms
Karen Palmer, Dallas Burtraw, Danny Kahn
Climate Policy | Related Discussion Paper 06-28
CO2 Allowance Allocation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the Effect on Electricity Investors
Dallas Burtraw, Danny Kahn and Karen Palmer
The Electricity Journal | March 2006 | Related Discussion Paper 05-55
Retrospective Review of Energy Efficiency Policies
Kenny Gillingham, Richard Newell, and Karen Palmer
Annual Review of Environmenta and Resources | 2006 | 31 | pp. 161-192
Cost-Effectiveness of Renewable Electricity Policies
Karen Palmer and Dallas Burtraw
Energy Economics | 2005 | Vol. 27, No. 6 | 873-894 | Related Discussion Paper 05-01
The Environmental Impacts of Electricity Restructuring: Looking Back and Looking Forward
Karen Palmer and Dallas Burtraw
Environment & Energy Law & Policy Journal | 2006 | Vol. 1, No. 1 | pp. 171-218
SO2 Control by Electric Utilities: What are the Gains from Trade?
Curtis Carlson, Dallas Burtraw, Maureen Cropper, and Karen L. Palmer
Journal of Political Economy | December 2000 | Vol. 108, No. 6 | pp. 1292-1326 | Related Discussion Paper 98-44-REV
Winner, Loser or Innocent Victim: Has Renewable Energy Performed as Expected?
James McVeigh, Dallas Burtraw, Joel Darmstadter, and Karen Palmer
Solar Energy | Vol. 68, No. 3 | pp. 237-255 | Related Discussion Paper 99-28
View All Related Publications
Complying with EPA's Clean Power Plan: Policy Options for States
Karen L. Palmer, Anthony Paul
Resources | 2015 (189)
What Homeowners Say about Home Energy Audits
Karen L. Palmer, Margaret A. Walls
Resources | 2015 (188)
Goings On: Highlights of RFF's Recent Contributions to Shaping Environmental Policy
Molly K. Macauley, James W. Boyd, Karen L. Palmer, Dallas Burtraw, P. Lynn Scarlett, William A. Pizer, Richard D. Morgenstern
Resources | 2013 (184)
Considering a US Carbon Tax: Frequently Asked Questions
Joseph E. Aldy, Timothy J. Brennan, Dallas Burtraw, Jared Carbone, Carolyn Fischer, Robert Kopp, Molly K. Macauley, Richard D. Morgenstern, Daniel F. Morris, Karen L. Palmer, Anthony Paul, Nathan Richardson, Roberton C. Williams III
Resources | 2013 (Digital Issue)
Goings On: Highlights of RFF's Recent Contributions to Shaping Environmental Policy
Kenneth J. Arrow, Sheila M. Olmstead, Dallas Burtraw, Arthur G. Fraas, Margaret A. Walls, Leonard A. Shabman, P. Lynn Scarlett, Ian W.H. Parry, Molly K. Macauley, Roberton C. Williams III, Richard D. Morgenstern, Karen L. Palmer, Allen Blackman, Rebecca Epanchin-Niell, James W. Boyd, Carolyn Fischer
Resources | 2013 (183)
Goings On
Joseph E. Stiglitz, Alan J. Krupnick, Carolyn Fischer, Randall Lutter, Margaret A. Walls, Dallas Burtraw, Sheila M. Olmstead, Karen L. Palmer, Joseph E. Aldy
Resources | 2013 (182)
Inside RFF
Jintao Xu, Karen L. Palmer, Sheila M. Olmstead, Richard D. Morgenstern, Allen Blackman, Juha V. Siikamäki, Timothy J. Brennan, P. Lynn Scarlett, James N. Sanchirico, Yusuke Kuwayama , Antung Anthony Liu, C. Boyden Gray
Resources | 2013 (182)
Resources Magazine: 181
Phil Sharp, Blair Beasley, Dallas Burtraw, Joel Darmstadter, Kristin Hayes, Alan J. Krupnick, Karen L. Palmer, Anthony Paul, Roger A. Sedjo, James Smith, Matthew Woerman
Resources | 2012 (181)
Goings On
James Smith, Anthony Paul, Carolyn Fischer, James W. Boyd, Elisheba Beia Spiller, Sheila M. Olmstead, Molly K. Macauley, Phil Sharp, Carolyn Kousky, Raymond J. Kopp, Dallas Burtraw, Alan J. Krupnick, Yusuke Kuwayama , P. Lynn Scarlett, Karen L. Palmer
Resources | 2012 (181)
Clean Air Regulations and the Electricity Sector
Karen L. Palmer, Dallas Burtraw, Anthony Paul, Blair Beasley, Matthew Woerman
Resources | 2012 (181)
Infographic: Answering Questions about a Carbon Tax
Karen L. Palmer, Anthony Paul, Matthew Woerman
Resources | 2012 (181)
The Effect of Natural Gas Supply on Retail Electricity Prices
Karen L. Palmer, Dallas Burtraw, Matthew Woerman, Blair Beasley
Issue Brief 12-05 | August 2012
The Variability of Potential Revenue from a Tax on Carbon
Karen L. Palmer, Anthony Paul, Matthew Woerman
Issue Brief 12-03 | May 2012
Opportunities for Flexibility and Cost Savings within EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Rules
Dallas Burtraw, Arthur G. Fraas, Samuel Grausz, Joshua Linn, Karen L. Palmer, Nathan Richardson
Workshop Summary | July 2011
Cleaner Electricity and Less of It: The Prospects for Reducing CO2 Emissions by Requiring Renewables and Energy Efficiency
Karen L. Palmer
Resources | Fall 2010 (176)
Modeling Policies to Promote Renewable and Low-Carbon Sources of Electricity
Karen L. Palmer, Richard Sweeney, Maura Allaire
Backgrounder | June 2010
The Electricity Sector and Climate Policy
Karen L. Palmer, Dallas Burtraw
Issue Brief CPF-11 | November 2007
Valuation of Air Emissions from Livestock Operations and Options for Policy
Shih, Jhih-Shyang, Dallas Burtraw, Karen Palmer and Juha Siikamaki
Workshop on Agricultural Air Quality: State of the Science | Ecological Society of America | Workshop on Agricultural Air Quality: State of the Science | North Carolina State University | 6/5/06 | 327-340
Comments to U.S. Senate Discussion on Climate Policy
Dallas Burtraw, Karen Palmer
Formal Comments
Renewable Sources of Electricity: Safe Bet or Tilting at Windmills?
Joel Darmstadter, Karen L. Palmer
Resources | Winter 2005 (156)
Book Review of The Economics of Hydroelectric Power by Brian K. Edwards
Karen Palmer
The Journal of Energy and Development | Vol. 30, No.2 | Spring 2005
The Effectiveness and Cost of Energy Efficiency Programs
Kenneth T. Gillingham, Richard G. Newell, Karen L. Palmer
Resources | Fall 2004 (155)
Putting a Prod in Product Stewardship
Karen L. Palmer and Margaret Walls
Waste News (op-ed)
Capping Emissions: How Low Should We Go?
Karen L. Palmer, Spencer Banzhaf, and Dallas Burtraw
Public Utilities Fortnightly | December 2002 | Vol. 140, No. 2 | pp. 28-36
Proposed Regulation of Multiple Pollutants in Electricity Sector is Historic: But is it Sensible?
Spencer Banzhaf, Dallas Burtraw, and Karen Palmer
Resources | Summer 2002 | Issue 148 | pp. 2-5
The Distributional Impacts of Carbon Mitigation Policies
Richard D. Morgenstern, Dallas Burtraw, Lawrence H. Goulder, Mun Ho, Karen L. Palmer, William A. Pizer, James N. Sanchirico, Jhih-Shyang Shih
Issue Brief 02-03 | March 2002
The Environment and the Information Age: The Costs of Coping With Used Computer Monitors 
Molly K. Macauley, Karen L. Palmer, Jhih-Shyang Shih, Sarah Cline, Heather Holsinger
Resources | Fall 2001 (145)
Electricity Restructuring: Shortcut or Detour on the Road to Achieving Greenhouse Gas Reductions?
Karen L. Palmer
RFF Climate Issue Brief #18 | July 1999
Renewable Energy: Winner, Loser, or Innocent Victim?
Dallas Burtraw, Joel Darmstadter, Karen L. Palmer, James McVeigh
Resources | Spring 1999 (135)
Simulation Results of Alternative Schemes for Allocating NOx Emission Allowances
Karen L. Palmer, Dallas Burtraw, and Anthony Paul
(mimeo) | 1999
The Opportunity for Short Run Carbon Mitigation in the Electricity Sector
Dallas Burtraw, Karen Palmer, and Anthony Paul
Electric Utilities Environmental Conference | Air & Waste Management Association
Not Enough Anarchy in the U.K.
Timothy J. Brennan and Karen Palmer
Regulation | Vol. 21, No. 2 | (letter to the editor) | Winter 1998
On the Way to Retail Competition
Amy W. Ando, Karen L. Palmer
Resources | Summer 1998 (132)
Air Quality and Electricity
Dallas Burtraw, Alan J. Krupnick, Karen L. Palmer
Resources | Spring (123)
On The Relative Efficiency Implications of Wholesale and Retail Competition in Electricity
Douglas R. Bohi and Karen L. Palmer
Report to National Renewable Energy Lab and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) | December 1995
The Social Benefits of Social Costing Research
Alan J. Krupnick, Dallas Burtraw, and Karen L. Palmer
The First Workshop on Energy Externalities: The External Costs of Energy | European Commission (EC), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), International Energy Agency (IEA) | Proceedings of the First EC/OECD/IEA Workshop on Energy Externalities: The External Costs of Energy | Brussels, Belgium: EC | 1995
Social Costing of Electricity in Maryland: Implications for Electricity Supply Energy Demand and Air Emissions
Karen L. Palmer, Alan J. Krupnick, Hadi Dowlatabadi, and Stuart Siegel
Report to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Power Plant Research Program | September 1994
Environmental Policy as Industrial Policy
Karen L. Palmer, R. David Simpson
Resources | Summer 1993 (112)
Economic Tools to Implement Sunsetting
Karen L. Palmer
First Binational Meeting on Sunsetting Hazards Chemicals in the Great Lakes Basin | First Binational Meeting on Sunsetting Hazards Chemicals in the Great Lakes Basin | Washington, D.C.: George Washington University | 1993
The Social Costing Debate: Issues and Resolutions
Dallas Burtraw, Hadi Dowlatabadi, Alan J. Krupnick, A. Myrick Freeman III, Karen L. Palmer, and Winston Harrington
International Conference | Social Costs of Energy: Present Status and Future Trends | Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag | 1994
Incentive-Based Approaches to Regulating Toxic Substances
Molly K. Macauley, Karen L. Palmer
Resources | Summer 1992 (108)
Environmental Costing and Electric Utilites' Planning and Investment
Karen Palmer, Alan J. Krupnick
Resources | No.105 | Fall 1991 | pp.1-5
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