Jean Lee’s research focuses on three specific research areas: 1) understanding the consequences of multinational agreements, especially at the local level; 2) the role of institutions in the governing of common property resources; and 3) the ways in which sustainable development can be equitable. She investigates these relationships by applying theories and tools from the fields of economics, sociology, and anthropology. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Environmental Biology from Columbia University, a Master’s of Environmental Management from Duke University, and her Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont.
She has worked extensively in sub-Saharan Africa, where she examined the extent to which pro-poor carbon projects achieve both carbon dioxide emissions and poverty alleviation. She is particularly interested in the concept of gender equity in sustainable development, drivers of famer participation in payment for ecosystem services, and the institutional barriers local communities encounter when trying to manage their natural resources. She is committed to participatory action approaches and strives to partner with local communities to make research immediately applicable.
Her research has been supported by the Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security Programme, Land Deal Politics Initiative, and National Science Foundation. She has diverse work experiences outside of academia, including positions with the US Forest Service, Americorps, Union for Concerned Scientists, and Audubon Society. In addition, she has worked with NGOs and research institutions in Ghana, Costa Rica, Taiwan, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Malawi.
Courses she teaches include ecological economics and sustainability, sustainable development, community forestry, and environmental inquiry.
Her favorite mountain range is the Sawtooths in Idaho.
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