Dr. Yasha Feferholtz
“As an environmental economist, I don’t assume markets work perfectly and know that there are a lot of failures in the market. Perhaps the most important failure is that many prices do not include the value of nature. We need to think in terms of value for humans, animals, and for the environment—what are the best options to increase that value?”
As EcoHealth Alliance’s senior economist, Dr. Yasha Feferholtz’s job is not only the study of the economic impact of disease spread but also promote sustainable economic development through rigorous and solid economic analysis.
Working on several projects at EcoHealth Alliance, Dr. Feferholtz studies the economic impact of deforestation, infectious diseases, and wildlife trade. His analyses can clearly illustrate how sustainable economic development and environmental conservation not only improve human, wildlife, and planetary health, but also be economically beneficial to families, corporations, and governments. While the loss of human life is tragedy enough, the price tag of a single outbreak can sail into the billions of dollars. In an increasingly connected world, that can have a significant impact not only in the country where the outbreak began, but in that country’s neighbors, trading partners, and on a global scale. The efficient use of limited global resources is essential to fight diseases and maximize human wellbeing. He also works with the Global Virome Project to make sure its mission of identifying the world’s unknown viruses is economically feasible.
His goal is to not only affect positive change, but to change minds and policy as well. Yasha believes that by using behavioral economics to explain how conservation can improve your physical and financial, well-being, he can facilitate a healthier and more prosperous world.
Dr. Feferholtz received his undergraduate education in his native Chile. He then attended the University of Wyoming as a Fullbright Scholar where he received a Ph.D. in Economics, specializing in natural resource and environmental economics. He has been a member of the EcoHealth Alliance team for three years.