Resources for the Future

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Resources for the Future (RFF) "is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that conducts independent research -- rooted primarily in economics and other social sciences -- on environmental, energy, and natural resource issues. Although RFF is headquartered in Washington, D.C., its research scope comprises programs in nations around the world.

"Founded in 1952, RFF was created at the recommendation of William Paley, then head of the Columbia Broadcasting System, who had chaired a presidential commission that examined whether the United States was becoming overly dependent on foreign sources of important natural resources and commodities. RFF became the first think tank devoted exclusively to natural resource and environmental issues." [1]

"Hans Landsberg began his work at RFF in 1960, specializing in energy and mineral economics. His contributions included lead authorship in 1963 of Resources in America's Future, a thousand-page volume examining the role of natural resources in the U.S. economy and projecting their long-term availability. Both this and another 1963 RFF publication, Scarcity and Growth, set out the fundamental idea that the impact of growth on environmental quality was a much more significant problem than any threat of natural resource shortages.

"RFF also conducted notable research on the electromagnetic spectrum. Harvey J. Levin’s 1971 book The Invisible Resource: Use and Regulation of the Radio Spectrum, applied a market-based approach to utilizing the spectrum. Twenty years later the Federal Communications Commission recognized his approach and began licensing and auctioning these airwaves.

"In 1979, RFF was instrumental in the founding of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERE), which was established as a means of exchanging ideas, stimulating research, and promoting graduate training in resource and environmental economics." [2]

Former Presidents


Accessed October 2012: [3]

Chair Emeriti

Directors (2008)

Accessed October 2008: [4]

(*Member of the Executive Committee)

University Fellows

Accessed October 2008: [5]



Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. About, Resources for the Future, accessed October 3, 2008.
  2. RFF's Legacy, Resources for the Future, accessed October 3, 2008.
  3. Resources for the Future Board, organizational web page, accessed October 4, 2012.
  4. Directors, Resources for the Future, accessed October 3, 2008.
  5. University Fellows, Resources for the Future, accessed October 3, 2008.