Kent Messer

Unidel Howard Cosgrove Chair for the Environment/Director of the Center for Experimental & Applied Economics

Department: Economics
Campus Address: Townsend Hall
Newark, DE 19716
Phone: 302-831-1316



  • Environmental Conservation
  • Provision of Public Goods
  • Behavioral Response to Risk


  • Ph.D. Cornell University, 2003
  • M.S. University of Michigan, 1999
  • B.A. Grinnell College, 1994
  • Curriculum Vitae


  • Messer, K.D., J. Duke, and L. Lynch. Forthcoming. “Applying Experimental Economics to Land Economics: Public Information and Auction Efficiency in Land Preservation Markets.” in the Oxford Handbook of Land Economics. J. Duke and J. Wu editors. Oxford Press.
  • Hoffman, V, J. Fooks, and K.D. Messer. Forthcoming. “Measuring and Mitigating HIV Stigma: A Framed Field Experiment” Economic Development and Cultural Change.
  • Unur, A.S., H.E. Peters, K.D. Messer, and W.D. Schulze. 2013.“Incentive Effects of Parents’ Transfers to Children:  Evidence from an Artefactual Field Experiment” B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy (Contributions).
  • Keisner, D.K., K.D. Messer, W.D. Schulze, and H. Zarghamee. 2013“Testing Social Preferences for an Economic ‘Bad’: An Artefactual Field Experiment.” Scandinavian Journal of Economics 115(1): 27–61.
  • Arnold, M., J. Duke, and K.D. Messer. 2013. “Adverse Selection in Reverse Auctions for Environmental Services”Land Economics. 89(3): 387-412.
  • Messer, K.D., J. Suter, and J. Yan. 2013. “Context effects in a negatively framed social dilemma experiment”Environmental & Resource Economics.55(3): 397-405.
  • Duke, J.M., S.J. Dundas, and K.D. Messer. 2013“Cost-Effective Conservation Planning: Lessons from Economics”Journal of Environmental Management. 125: 126-133
  • Fooks, J. and K.D. Messer. 2013.. “Mathematical Programming Applications to Land Conservation and Environmental Quality.” in Computational Intelligent Data Analysis for Sustainable Development. T. Yu editor. Taylor & Francis Publishing.
  • Liu, Z., C. Kanter, K.D. Messer, and H. M. Kaiser. 2013. “Identifying significant characteristics of organic milk consumers: a CART analysis of an artefactual field experiment” Applied Economics. 45(21): 3110-2121.
  • Messer, K.D., G.L. Poe and W.D. Schulze. 2013“The Value of Private Versus Public Risk and Pure Altruism: An Experimental Economics Test.” Applied Economics. 45(9): 1089-1097.
  • Suter, J., J. Duke, and K.D. Messer, and H. Michael. 2012“Behavior in a Spatially Explicit Groundwater Resource: Evidence from the Lab.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics. 94(5): 1094-1112.
  • Fooks, J.R. and K.D. Messer. 2012.“Maximizing Conservation and In-Kind Cost Share: Applying Goal Programming to Forest Protection” Forest Economics. 18: 207-217.
  • Dillaway, R., K.D. Messer, J. Bernard, and H.M. Kaiser. 2011“Do Consumer Responses to Media Food Safety Information Last?” Applied Economics Policy and Perspectives. 33(3): 363.383.
  • Shawhan, D., K.D. Messer, W.D. Schulze, and R.E. Schuler. 2011. “An Experimental Test of Automatic Mitigation of Wholesale Electricity Prices.” International Journal of Industrial Organization. 29(1): 46-53.
  • Messer, K.D., H.M. Kaiser, C. Payne, and B. Wansink. 2011“Can Generic Advertising Alleviate Consumer Concerns Over Food Scares” Applied Economics: 43(12):1535-1549.
  • Allen, W.L., O.M. Amundsen, J. Dujmoviċ, and K.D. Messer. 2011“Identifying and Selecting Strategic Mitigation Opportunities: Criteria Design and Project Evaluation using Logic Scoring of Preference and Optimization.” Journal of Conservation Planning. 7: 61-68.
  • Messer, K.D., G.L. Poe, D. Rondeau, W.D. Schulze and C. Vossler. 2010“Exploring Voting Anomalies Using a Demand Revealing Random Price Voting Mechanism.” Journal of Public Economics. 94(3-4): 308-317.
  • Messer, K.D. and W.L. Allen. 2010. "Applying Optimization and the Analytic Hierarchy Process to Enhance Agricultural Preservation Strategies in the State of Delaware." Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 39(3): 442-456.
  • Messer, K.D. 2010 “Protecting Endangered Species: When Are Shoot-on-Sight Policies the Only Viable Option to Stop Poaching?” Ecological Economics 69: 2334 – 2340.
  • Kanter C., K.D. Messer and H.M. Kaiser. 2009. “ Does Production Labeling Stigmatize Conventional Milk ” American Journal of Agricultural Economics." 91(4):1097-1109.
  • Payne, C., K.D. Messer, and H.M. Kaiser. 2009“ Which Consumers Are Most Responsive to Media Induced Food Scares?”Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 38(3): 295-310.
  • Messer, K.D., H.M. Kaiser and W.D. Schulze. 2008“The Problem of Free Riding in Voluntary Generic Advertising: Parallelism and Possible Solutions from the Lab." American Journal of Agricultural Economics 90(2): 540–552.
  • Doyon, M., V. Simard, K. Messer, L.D. Tamini, and H.M. Kaiser. 2008. “ An Experimental Analysis of Modifications to the Centralized Milk Quota Exchange System in Quebec.” Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics 56(1): 295-312. (Received 2008 Oustanding Journal Article Award, Canadian Agricultural Economic Society)
  • Messer, K.D., H. Zarghamee, H.M. Kaiser and W.D. Schulze. 2007. “ New Hope for the Voluntary Contribution Mechanism: The Effects of Framing and Context” Journal of Public Economics 91(9):1783-1799.
  • Messer, K.D., W.D. Schulze, K.F. Hackett, T. Cameron, and G. McClelland. 2006. “Can Stigma Explain Large Property Value Losses? The Psychology and Economics of Superfund. ” Environmental and Resource Economics33(3): 299-324.
  • Messer, K.D. 2006. “The Conservation Benefits of Cost-Effective Land Acquisition: A Case Study in Maryland.”Journal of Environmental Management 79:305-315.
  • Messer, K.D., T.M. Schmit and H.M. Kaiser. 2005. “Optimal Institution Designs for Generic Advertising: An Experimental Analysis.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 87(4): 1046-1060.

Awards & Honors

Select Research Funding

  • National Science Foundation – funding support from EPSCoR Track-2. 2013-2016. “North East Water Resources Network (NEWRnet)” $6,000,000. D.J. Leathers (PI); A. Andres, D., Levia, S. Inamdar, and K.D. Messer (co-PIs).
  • National Science Foundation – funding support from EPSCoR Track-I. 2013-2018. “Delaware EPSCoR: Meeting Delaware's 21st Century Water and Energy Challenges through Research, Education, and Innovation.” $20,000,000. D.L. Sparks (PI); V. Kalavacharla, K.D. Messer, S. Smith, K. Steiner, (Co-PIs).
  • National Science Foundation – funding support from the Decision, Risk & Management Sciencesdirectorate. 2013-2014. “Doctoral Dissertation Research in DRMS: Protecting the Coastline - Optimal Coastal Inundation Adaptation Mechanisms.” $13,860. K. Messer (PI); J. Fooks (co-PI).
  • National Science Foundation – funding support from the Decision, Risk & Management Sciences, Engineering, and Geosciences directorates, 2012-2013. “WSC Category 1 - Water Sustainability in Coastal Environments: Exploratory Research for an Integrated Study of the Effect of Anticipated Sea Level Rise on Contaminated Site Risk.” $135,000.  J.M. Duke (PI), K.D. Messer, H. Michael and D. Sparks (co-PIs).
  • Northeast Center for Risk Management Education, 2012-2013. “Pricing and Marketing Risk Management Education for Honey Producers.” $35,000.  D. Delaney and K. Messer (PIs), J. Fooks (Co-PI).
  • USDA Economic Research Service, 2011-2013. “Designing Choice Architecture to Cost-Effectively Reduce Agricultural Nutrient and Sediment Water Pollution in the Galveston Bay Watershed: A Framed Field Experiment.” $100,000.  K.D. Messer and W.D. Allen (PIs), O. Amundsen (Co-PI).
  • National Science Foundation – funding support from the Decision, Risk and Management Sciences and Hydrologic Sciences programs, 2010-2013. “Collaborative Research: An Experimental Economics Investigation of Groundwater Resource Dynamics.” K.D. Messer and J. Suter (PIs), H. Michael and J. Duke (co-PIs) ($369,483).
  • Environmental Protection Agency, National Center for Environmental Economics, 2008-2009. “2009 NAREA Workshop: The Use of Experimental Methods in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics" ($60,624). K. Messer and J. Murphy (PIs).
  • Delaware Department of Agriculture, 2010. “Exploring Ways to Ensure the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Delaware's Conservation Efforts” ($10,000) K.D. Messer and J. Duke (PIs).
  • USDA Economic Research Service and the Farm Foundation, 2008-2009. “2009 NAREA Workshop: The Use of Experimental Methods in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics" $10,000. K. Messer and J. Murphy (PIs).
  • Maryland Center for Agro-Ecology, 2008-2011. “ Better Practices of Maryland Land Conservation” $58,450 W. Allen and K. Messer (PIs).
  • USDA Economic Research Service, 2007-2009. “ Applying Economic Experiments to Improve the Design and Implementation of Conservation Programs” $295,823 ID#58-6000-7-0089. K. Messer and M. Weinberg (PIs), J. Duke, D. Hellerstein, N. Higgins, B. Kirwan, L. Lynch, M. Roberts (Co-PIs).
  • National Science Foundation – fuding support from Decision, Risk and Management Sciences Program, 2006-2008. “The Economics and Psychology of Stigma: An Experimental Examination.” ID#0551289. $239,966. William Schulze (PI), K.D. Messer and Brian Wansink (co-PI).
  • National Science Foundation – funding suspport from the Economics Program and Decision, Risk and Management Sciences Program, 2004-2006. “An Experimental Economics Examination of Behavioral Anomalies, Group Decision Making, and the Provision of Public Goods.” $220,535. ID#0418450. W.D. Schulze (PI), K.D. Messer, G. Poe, and H.M. Kaiser (Co-PIs).

Professional Activities

  • Editor, Agricultural and Resource Economics Review (2012-present)
  • Board Member, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association (2008-2011)
  • Affiliate, Delaware Environmental Institute
  • Member, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists
  • Member, American Agricultural Economic Association
  • Member, American Economics Association
  • Member, Economic Science Association

The Lerner College is home to a state-of-the-art financial trading facility, the $1.5 million student-led Blue Hen Investment Club, a student-managed restaurant and hotel, a high-technology development center of a global bank and a start-up experience for students with new business ideas.

Undergraduate scholarships, made possible through the generosity of alumni and friends, enable us to support promising scholars. Here, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and his mother, Leni Markell, join recipients of the William Markell Scholarship (center), which benefits students in Accounting and MIS.

The Institute for Financial Services Analytics is a collaboration between the Lerner College, UD's College of Engineering and JPMorgan Chase, and hosts events for academics and the business community designed to address consumer analytics and industry applications.

All Lerner College departments offer discovery learning experiences and emphasize data-based analytics to enrich the student experience. Here, students at Vita Nova, our award-winning restaurant run through HRIM, joined professional chefs and winemakers in hosting a 2014 Mid-Atlantic Wine and Food Festival event.

Lerner College faculty - like Meryl Gardner, whose research on foods and moods was recently published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology - are thought leaders who command attention from influential business audiences, economists and policy makers.

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