Jinhua Zhao has been named the David J. Nolan Dean of the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. His appointment at Cornell begins July 1.

Jinhua Zhao named new dean of Dyson School

Jinhua Zhao, professor of economics at Michigan State University, has been named the David J. Nolan Dean of the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.

Zhao, who spent eight years as director of Michigan State’s Environmental Science and Policy Program, will begin his appointment at Cornell on July 1.

“Jinhua is a top-notch scholar, has an excellent track record as an administrator, and radiates excitement about Dyson’s incumbent strengths,” said Andrew Karolyi, dean of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. “I believe that he has the expertise and energy to be a great leader for Dyson and to collaborate across our college and across Cornell.”

The Dyson School is shared between the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Zhao will report to Karolyi and Benjamin Z. Houlton, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“There are so many amazing components within the Dyson School, from the world-class faculty and incredible students to the excellent staff and tremendous alumni, who all come together and collaborate in an inclusive environment,” Zhao said. “The momentum, potential and trajectory of growth of Dyson are incredible. I’m immensely excited to be a part of it.”

Zhao’s research, which he will continue at Cornell, is focused on environmental and resource economics, with special interests in global climate change, renewable energies, water and technology adoption. He also has research interests in China’s environment, including government regulation, firm and individual behavior, and payment for ecosystem services.

“We are very fortunate to have Jinhua’s expertise in global climate change and energy economics at the helm of the Dyson School during this important time in human history,” Houlton said. “I look forward to building upon the synergies between our colleges to mobilize even more impactful climate and environmental projects together in New York state and around the world.”

Zhao’s publications have been featured in the Economic Journal, International Economic Review, Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of Public Economics, the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management (JEEM) and American Journal of Agricultural Economics. His research projects have been funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency.

He has served as co-editor of JEEM and a member of the Environmental Economics Advisory Committee of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board, as well as on the Air, Climate and Energy Committee of the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors.

Zhao holds a Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California, Berkeley (1997), a master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Guelph, Canada, (1992), and a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Science and Technology Beijing.

Zhao succeeds Edward McLaughlin, the Robert G. Tobin Professor of Marketing, who has served as interim dean of the Dyson School since July 23, 2020. McLaughlin, who also served as Dyson’s interim dean from 2015-2016, will step down from the interim dean position and return to the Dyson emeritus faculty.

“I am so grateful to Ed for his tireless, steady leadership of Dyson – not just during this interim period, but across his entire career as a Dyson faculty member,” Karolyi said. “Time and again, Ed stepped up to lead Dyson when we needed him the most, and I wish him the very best as he (finally) gets a chance to enjoy his retirement.”

Stephen D’Angelo is a writer and content strategist with the SC Johnson College of Business.

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Abby Butler