Solomon Hsiang

Solomon Hsiang

Title
Associate Professor
Department
Goldman School of Public Policy
Phone
(510) 643-5751
Research Expertise and Interest
agriculture, climate change, environment, International, Coupled Natural and Human Systems, political economy, development economics, applied econometrics
Research Description

Solomon Hsiang combines data with mathematical models to understand how society and the environment influence one another. In particular, he focuses on how policy can encourage economic development while managing the global climate. His research has been published in Nature, Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

Hsiang earned a BS in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science and a BS in Urban Studies and Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he received a PhD in Sustainable Development from Columbia University. He was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Applied Econometrics at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at Princeton University. Hsiang is currently the Chancellor's Associate Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley and a Research Associate at the NBER. 

In the News

June 8, 2020

Emergency COVID-19 measures prevented more than 500 million infections, study finds

Emergency health measures implemented in six major countries have “significantly and substantially slowed” the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to research from a UC Berkeley team published today in the journal "Nature". The findings come as leaders worldwide struggle to balance the enormous and highly visible economic costs of emergency health measures against their public health benefits, which are difficult to see.

In the News

June 8, 2020

Emergency COVID-19 measures prevented more than 500 million infections, study finds

Emergency health measures implemented in six major countries have “significantly and substantially slowed” the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to research from a UC Berkeley team published today in the journal "Nature". The findings come as leaders worldwide struggle to balance the enormous and highly visible economic costs of emergency health measures against their public health benefits, which are difficult to see.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
June 10, 2020
Rachel Maddow
Public policy professor Solomon Hsiang, director of Berkeley's Global Policy Laboratory, joined Rachel Maddow to discuss the results of a study he led on the effectiveness of emergency policies intended to slow the spread of COVID-19.  He and his colleagues found that the measures -- including shelter-in-place, business closures, and transportation restrictions, and school closures -- prevented about 60 million COVID-19 infections in the United States and 285 million in China. Since so many people who become infected never get tested or diagnosed, the true number of cases avoided is inevitably much higher, and they estimate that figure in the six countries they studied to be more like 530 million. During the interview, Maddow reads back to Professor Hsiang one of the statements he made in the report, which particularly stunned her. He had said: "I don't think any human endeavor has ever saved so many lives in such a short period of time. There's been huge personal costs to staying home and cancelling events, but the data show each day made a profound difference." She asks him: "Do you mean that literally - that this might have been a collective human endeavor that saved more lives than anything else we've ever done?" He replies: "Absolutely. I think this is an incredible achievement. I mean, the ability to coordinate millions of people to stay home when they don't want to - to take on these hardships to save other people's lives - it's incredible."  Link to video here. For more on this research, see our press release at Berkeley News. Stories on this topic have appeared in more than 1,000 sources around the world now, including NPR and Reuters.
June 8, 2020
Joel Achenbach
Emergency measures -- including shelter-in-place, business closings, and travel bans -- prevented about 60 million COVID-19 infections in the United States and 285 million in China, according to a new study led by public policy professor Solomon Hsiang, director of Berkeley's Global Policy Laboratory. Since so many people who become infected never get tested or diagnosed, the true number of cases avoided is much higher, and they estimate that figure in the six countries they studied to be more like 530 million. "Without these policies employed, we would have lived through a very different April and May," Professor Hsiang says. The study examined how China, the United States, France, Italy, Iran and South Korea responded to the pandemic. "The disease was spreading at a really extraordinary rate that is rare even among very infectious diseases," Professor Hsiang says, crediting the global response for "saving more lives in a shorter period of time than ever before." Timing is all-important, the researchers found, with delayed implementation leading to "dramatically different health outcomes." For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News. Stories on this topic have appeared in hundreds of sources around the world, including CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Bloomberg Law (link to audio), and KPIX TV (link to video).
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December 20, 2018
A group of sixteen leading climate scientists, including public policy professor Solomon Hsiang, has issued a report asserting that there is more evidence than ever that the Environmental Protection Agency needs to continue regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Supporting the argument, they cite the most conclusive evidence to date that climate change is harming the health and welfare of Americans. The paper comes at a time when the Trump administration and Republican members of Congress are aiming to undo the 2009 decision that included greenhouse gases in the regulatory menu of the Clean Air Act. "Since the original Supreme Court decision, we have learned a huge amount about the potential human and economic costs of climate change, both in the U.S. and around the globe," Professor Hsiang says. "A revolution in interdisciplinary research linking climate science, economics and data science is opening our eyes to what may lie ahead." This story originated at Berkeley News.
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