Shuo Gao

Research Interests

Shuo is a postgrowth economist working on exploring broad sustainability issues in the Anthropocene at different scales. His research focuses on ecological compensation, no net loss and net gain, environmental change, behavioural sciences, industrial development, decision-making, as well as different approaches to human well-being, including hedonic, eudaemonic, and, in particular, capabilitarian (e.g., the Wellbeing in Developing Countries Framework), for operationalising social justice and equity. His DPhil concentrates on understanding the dynamic consequences of environmental change on well-being, under the supervision of Prof. E.J. Milner-Gulland, Dr. Joseph W. Bull, and Dr. Julia Baker (Wood PLC), in collaboration with Dr. Sophus zu Ermgassen (Kent & Copenhagen) and Dr. Catalina Munteanu (Humboldt).

He is especially interested in the psychology and behavioural economics of sustainability on which his PhD project is largely based, such as the issues of implementing economic valuation of non-market environmental goods to support cost-benefit analyses in public policy, understanding the conversion of objective means into subjective ends (e.g., activities and states) for designing equitable environmental interventions, evidencing shifting baseline syndrome across broad environmental settings and uncovering its causes via looking into people’s perceptual and cognitive processes, and designing and testing libertarian-paternalist nudges to encourage pro-environmental behaviours or reduce unsustainable consumption.

As part of his DPhil project, he has completed a biodiversity net gain and well-being project with the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) and Balfour Beatty, and led the human well-being section. He has also widely collaborated with researchers from urban planning to machine learning, and published papers in leading journals of his field. In 2022, he published a letter in Science proposing the need to increase transparency and accountability in China’s restoration fees. Prior to his DPhil, he completed his environmental economics degree from London School of Economics, working on testing the effect of audio-visual media on donation behaviours with economic experiments, under the supervision of Prof. Susana Mourato, in collaboration with Prof. Ming K. Lim (Adam Smith Business School).

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