Christopher Barrington-Leigh

Christopher Barrington-Leigh
Contact Information
Email address: 
chris.barrington-leigh [at]

2001 McGill College,
11th floor, #1146

Bieler School of Environment
Equity, Ethics and Policy
Associate Professor
Office hours: 

By appointment only.


Originally trained in upper atmospheric and space plasma physics at M.I.T., Stanford, and Berkeley, Chris subsequently received a PhD in Economics at UBC. Chris' interests are focused on empirical and quantitative assessments of welfare, and their implications for economic, social, and environmental policy, including the pursuit of overall economic growth and material consumption expansion. In particular, his research makes use of subjective well-being reports to address the relative importance of social and community-oriented aspects of life as compared with material consumption. He uses large international as well as national surveys, experiments, and economic theoretical modeling to understand individual and aggregate consumption benefits. Chris was a Global Scholar of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR),  affiliated with CIFAR's research programme on Social Interactions, Identity and Well-Being.

Christopher Barrington-Leigh's Website


ENVR 201, "Society, Environment and Sustainability"
ENVR 301, "Environmental Research Design"

Research areas: 
Areas of interest: 
  • The "economics of well-being"
    We use large data sets from surveys that include self-reports of life evaluations in order to understand the empirical, experienced human benefits of economic and social conditions, changes, and policy. See also
  • Urban street networks and climate policy
    We are investigating the impact of extant and plausible policies aimed at mitigating greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This includes quantitative analysis of the variation and evolution of urban form. See
  • Energy transition in China
    We have recently piloted a household survey in rural Beijing to understand household experience and behaviour in response to the major coal-to-electricity intervention currently transforming home heating.
  • Solved collective action problems
    Is solving collective action problems a defining characteristic of human society and governance systems? We are building a database of solved collective action problems.
  • Experiments on social preferences
    We have carried out some lab experiments to further our understanding of consumption externalities and social preferences.

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