Margaret A. Walls

Senior Fellow; Director, Climate Risks and Resilience Program; Director, Environmental Justice Initiative

Margaret Walls is a senior fellow and director of the Climate Risks and Resilience Program and the Environmental Justice Initiative, as well as cohost of RFF’s podcast, Resources Radio.

Walls’s research focuses on the impacts of extreme weather, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires on people and communities and the design of programs and policies to equitably enhance resilience to such events. She has written about the benefits of natural infrastructure, such as coastal wetlands and riparian buffers, in reducing flood damages and the evaluation of conservation investment decisions in floodplains and coastal zones. She has also evaluated the role of information and disclosure in driving household location decisions in the context of both wildfire and flood risks. In current research, she is focusing on environmental justice challenges associated with wastewater systems in rural communities facing sea level rise and working in partnership with underserved communities to find ways to invest in natural infrastructure to address coastal flooding. She has also conducted an evaluation of the federal government’s implementation of the Justice40 directive, the movement to ensure that 40 percent of the benefits of federal climate and energy investments flow to disadvantaged communities. Walls organized and hosted the six-part environmental justice webinar series at RFF, Exposure, in 2021-2022.

Walls has published widely in peer-reviewed journals on a range of natural resource and environmental issues and is the author of 36 book chapters and published reports. She is a Features Coeditor of the Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, a flagship journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. She is a member of the advisory board of Cityscape and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Policy Development and Research, a member of the advisory board for the Washington DC Environmental Justice and Racial Equity (EJRE) Assessment Tool, and a former board member of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.


  • PhD in economics, University of California at Santa Barbara, 1988
  • BS in agricultural economics, University of Kentucky, 1981

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