Yanjun (Penny) Liao


Resources for the Future


I am an applied microeconomist and Fellow at Resources for the Future. My current research focuses on issues of natural disaster risk management and climate adaptation. I have studied the impacts of disasters on local government budgets, housing markets, and demographic changes. My ongoing work investigates how disaster insurance interacts with the housing and mortgage sector, as well as the economic and fiscal impacts of adaptation policies on local communities. In a secondary research agenda, I examine consumer behavior regarding the adoption of clean technology in the electricity and transportation sector.

I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Wharton Risk Center during 2019-21. Before that, I earned my Ph.D. in economic from UC San Diego in 2019.

Click here for my full CV.


  • Climate adaptation
  • Natural disaster policy
  • Climate financial risk
  • Energy and transportation


  • Ph.D. in Economics, 2019

    University of California, San Diego

  • B.A. in Economics, 2013

    University of Hong Kong



“Removing Development Incentives in Risky Areas Promotes Climate Adaptation” with Hannah Druckenmiller, Sophie Pesek, Margaret Walls, and Shan Zhang. Accepted, Nature Climate Change.

“Flood Insurance Reforms, Housing Market Dynamics, and Adaptation to Climate Risks” with Hannah Hennighausen, Adam Pollack, and Christoph Nolte. Journal of Housing Economics (2023), 101953.

“Data Practices for Studying the Impacts of Environmental Amenities and Hazards with Nationwide Property Data” with Christoph Nolte, Kevin Boyle, Anita Chaudhry, Christopher Clapp, Dennis Guignet, Hannah Hennighausen, Ido Kushner, Saleh Mamum, Adam Pollack, Jesse Richardson, Shelby Sundquist, Kristen Swedberg, and Johannes H. Uhl. Land Economics (2023), 102122-0090R.

“Unpriced Climate Risk and the Potential Consequences of Overvaluation in U.S. Housing Markets” with Jesse Gourevitch, Carolyn Kousky, Christoph Nolte, Adam Pollack, Jeremy Porter, and Joakim Weill. Nature Climate Change (2023), 13, 250–257.

“How Hurricanes Sweep Up Housing Markets: Evidence from Florida” with Joshua Graff Zivin and Yann Panassié. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management (2023), 118, 102770.

“Extreme Weather Events and Local Fiscal Responses: Evidence from U.S. Counties” with Qing Miao, Michael Abrigo, and Yilin Hou. Economics of Disasters and Climate Change (2022), 1-23.

“The Fiscal Impacts of Wildfires on California Municipalities” with Carolyn Kousky. Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (2022), 9(3), 455-493.

“Extreme Weather and the Politics of Climate Change: a Study of Campaign Contributions and Elections” with Pablo Ruiz Junco. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management (2022), 111, 102550.

“Weather and the Decision to Go Solar: Evidence on Costly Cancellations” Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (2020), 7(1), 1-33.

Working Papers

“Managed Retreat and Flood Recovery: The Local Economic Impacts of Buyout and Acquisition Program” with Wei Guo and Qing Miao. Revise and resubmit.

“What’s at Stake? Understanding the Role of Home Equity in Flood Insurance Demand” with Philip Mulder.

“Community Responses to Flooding in Risk Mitigation Actions: Evidence from the Community Rating System” with Simon Sølvsten and Zachary Whitlock.

“Jobs at Risk: Sea Level Rise, Coastal Flooding, and Local Economies” with Sophie Pesek, Margaret Walls, and Celso Ferreira.

Work in Progress

“A Tale of Two Investments: Charging Stations and Purchase Subsidies for EV Adoption” with Bei Luo and Beia Spiller

“Negative Rebound: Fuel Economy Standards and Miles Traveled” with Mark Jacobsen

Other Writing

RFF report, Facing Wildfire Insurance Challenges: Five Lessons from the National Flood Insurance Program, with Margaret Walls and Matt Wibbenmeyer (July 18, 2024).

Milken Institute Review, Home Insurance in Crisis (January 23, 2024).

RFF explainer, Flooding in the United States 102: Policy and Solutions (December 13, 2023).

RFF explainer, Climate Scenario Analysis 101 (April 10, 2023).

RFF issue brief, Insurance Availability and Affordability under Increasing Wildfire Risk in California, with Margaret Walls, Matthew Wibbenmeyer, and Sophie Pesek (November 30, 2022).

RFF explainer, Climate Finance 101, with Anne McDarris (August 8, 2022).

RFF explainer, Climate Financial Risk 101, with Anne McDarris (June 2, 2022).


Graduate Courses

  • ECON 281: Economics of the Environment (2016, 2017, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, UCSD)
    Co-instructor with Mark Jacobsen

  • GPEC 488: Environmental and Regulatory Economics (2017, School of Global Policy and Strategy, UCSD)
    Co-instructor with Joshua Graff Zivin

Undergraduate Courses

  • ECON 120A/B: Econometrics (2014-2019)
  • ECON 5: Data Analytics/Social Sciences (2018)
  • ECON 152: Public Economics (2018)
  • ECON 1: Principles of Microeconomics (2015, 2018)
    Teaching assistant at the Department of Economics, UCSD

Teaching Interests

  • Econometrics (R/Stata)
  • Economics of Climate Change
  • Environmental Economics