Robert D. Cairns

Academic title(s): 


Robert D. Cairns
Contact Information
Email address: 
robert.cairns [at]

855 Sherbrooke St. W.
Montreal, Quebec
H3A 2T7


PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Leacock 435
Curriculum vitae: 
Research areas: 
Natural Resource Economics
Industrial Organization
Environmental Economics

Robert Cairns came to McGill in 1978. His research is in natural resource economics and industrial economics. Main subjects of his current work are green accounting and sustainability theory.


Selected publications: 

“Measurement of Diverse, Irreversible Capital”, Review of Income and Wealth 69,4, December 2023: 931—951.

“Sustainability of an Economy Relying on Two Reproducible Assets”, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control 101, 145-160, Feb. 2019 (with S. del Campo and V. Martinet)

“The Green Paradox: A Hotelling Cul de Sac”, Economics of Energy and Environmental Policy” 8, 2, 2019, DOI:10.5547/2160-5890.8.2.rcai (with J.L. Smith)

“Stranded Oil of Erewhon”, Energy Policy 121, October 2018, 248-251.

“The Odd Notion of ‘Reversible Investment’”, Journal of Banking and Finance 81C, 2017, 172–180 (with G.A. Davis).

“Faustmann’s Formulas for Forests”, Natural Resource Modeling, 30 (1), 2017: 52 – 73.

“Mineral Depletion and the Rules of Resource Dynamics”, The Energy Journal, 36 SI1, 2015: 159-178 (with G. Davis).

“An Environmental-Economic Measure of Sustainable Development”, European Economic Review 69: 4-17, July 2014 (with V. Martinet).

“Sustainability or the Measurement of Wealth?”, Environment and Development Economics 18, 5: 640-648, October 2013.

“The Fundamental Problem of Accounting”, Canadian Journal of Economics 46, 2: 634-655, May 2013.

“Green Microaccounting for Oil Extraction” in Encyclopedia of Energy, Natural Resource, and Environmental Economics, Vol. 1, J.F. Shogren (ed.), Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp. 151-155, 2013.

“OPEC: Market Failure or Power Failure?”, Energy Policy 50: 570-580, November 2012 (with E. Calfucura)

“Good Timing: The Economics of Optimal Stopping”, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control 36, 1: 255 – 265, February 2012 (with G.A. Davis)

“Accounting for Sustainability: A Dissenting Opinion”, Sustainability 3: 1341-1356, 2011.



Back to top