Growing up in the Shenandoah Valley, in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Dr. Douglas Wrenn developed a deep interest in the environment and the topic of sustainability. Over time, this interest became intertwined with a curiosity for understanding how changes to the environment are connected with human welfare, which he studied while pursuing his PhD at the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics (AEDE) at Ohio State, and which he currently focuses on in his research as a Postdoctoral Researcher for the department.
After completing his undergraduate degree in Economics and Business Administration at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Dr. Wrenn spent three years living in the Ukraine working on improving microfinance lending access for rural farmers in the country through a program offered by the Mennonite Central Committee. This experience had a dramatic impact on him, enabling him to view firsthand the effect of market access issues on the welfare of rural citizens.
Fueled by his experiences growing up in the Shenandoah Valley, his undergraduate economics studies, and his time working in the Ukraine, Dr. Wrenn was drawn to the interdependence of urbanization, public policy and ecosystem services and the implications for policies that seek to promote long-run sustainability, which he focused on in his research as a PhD student at AEDE. While at AEDE, as both a student and a Postdoctoral Researcher, he has conducted a significant amount of research on land and housing markets to understand how micro-scale interactions between policy and individual decisions impact aggregate outcomes. Dr. Wrenn is particularly interested in how land use outcomes impact the provision of public and ecosystem goods and services, and how policies can be implemented or improved to remedy these market failures.
Prior to beginning the PhD program at AEDE, and after completing his work in the Ukraine with the Mennonite Central Committee, Dr. Wrenn completed a master’s degree in economics at Ohio State. During his time at AEDE, Dr. Wrenn has won awards and contributed to significant research led by his former academic advisor, Dr. Elena Irwin. One project that Wrenn has been heavily involved in is the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, a program with researchers from a wide variety of public, private and academic institutions, which conducts research on metropolitan Baltimore as an ecological system – Dr. Wrenn has worked for several years as a Research Assistant for the project. As part of this research team, Dr. Wrenn has helped to evaluate the impact of land use change in the region on the area’s water quality. In looking at land use patterns in the region, he has also developed spatial land use change models for use by policymakers to better predict land use changes in the region.
Dr. Wrenn notes that he has greatly enjoyed the AEDE program due to the outstanding working relationship he’s had with Dr. Irwin. He notes that their relationship has been very productive, with each of them bringing their own unique and valuable skill set to the projects that they’ve worked on together. He credits Ohio State for enabling him to find a great match for his skills, which the department made easy for him to do in their pairing of him with a faculty advisor.
To learn more about Dr. Douglas Wrenn, please see his job market profile.