Guillermo Herrera

Professor of Economics; Chair of Economics Department

Teaching this semester

ECON 2228/ENVS 2303. Natural Resource Economics and Policy

A study of the economic issues surrounding the existence and use of renewable natural resources (e.g., forestry/land use, fisheries, water, ecosystems, and the effectiveness of antibiotics) and exhaustible resources (such as minerals, fossil fuels, and old growth forest). A basic framework is first developed for determining economically efficient use of resources over time, then extended to consider objectives other than efficiency, as well as the distinguishing biological, ecological, physical, political, and social attributes of each resource. Uncertainty, common property, and various regulatory instruments are discussed, as well as alternatives to government intervention and/or privatization.

ECON 2555. Microeconomics, B

An intermediate-level study of contemporary microeconomic theory. Analysis of the theory of resource allocation and distribution, with major emphasis on systems of markets and prices as a social mechanism for making resource allocation decisions. Topics include the theory of individual choice and demand, the theory of the firm, market equilibrium under competition and monopoly, general equilibrium theory, and welfare economics.

Teaching next semester

ECON 3545. Applied Macroeconomics for Policy and Finance

Seminar. When is an economy heading for a crisis? How can we assess its debt dynamics--both government debt and aggregate external debt--and the robustness of its financial institutions? When is an economy set for more rapid growth? Analytic answers to questions like these--which are critical to the work of the IMF, major investors and fund managers, and economic commentators--are the essence of the macroeconomic diagnostics covered.

Guillermo ("Ta") Herrera came to Bowdoin in July 2000. En route, he received his A.B. in Biology (with emphases on sociobiology and population dynamics) from Harvard College, followed by two years working in a human cancer genetics lab.  He then attended the University of Washington, receiving a M.S. in Quantitative Ecology & Resource Management followed by an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Economics.

Professor Herrera teaches microeconomics at both the introductory and intermediate levels, as well as environmental and natural resource economics – these latter courses cross-listed with Environmental Studies. He has supervised many independent study and honors students in their research of matters related to environmental regulation, renewable energy, and natural resource use.

A reformed competitive cyclist, Professor Herrera is faculty advisor to the Bowdoin Cycling Club and, on a good day, can keep up with most of them. He lives in Brunswick with his wife Jerry, their sons Oscar and Nico, and their boxer Phinney. The family enjoys traveling together, as well as cycling, skiing, fishing, and exploring the wilds of Maine.

PDF Curriculum Vitae


Professor Herrera’s educational path is mirrored in his research program, which primarily resides at the interface between natural biological systems and the human communities that utilize them; much of his work involves active communication and collaboration with natural scientists as well as other economists. Commercial fisheries, with complex and diverse biological dynamics, imperfectly specified property rights, incomplete and asymmetric information, and a wide range of institutional arrangements present a rich and technically challenging set of research questions. Fisheries also have a long and culturally important history in Maine and the larger region, making Bowdoin an ideal vantage point from which to study these issues. Professor Herrera approaches this research area from a variety of perspectives, including theoretical “bioeconomic” modeling, design of community-based fisheries management systems, and estimation in dollar terms of the economic impacts of specific policy initiatives. 

Professor Herrera’s work has examined the management of multispecies fisheries, where various stocks are harvested at the same time using a nonselective technology; the impact of spatial structure – how both fish and fishermen move in space – on optimal harvest; and the impacts of imperfect information and strategic interactions between harvesters and regulators on the scale and type of regulation. Professor Herrera and his colleagues developed models of spatially structured resources that illuminate the potential role of closed areas (marine reserves) in economically optimal management, and the fact that spatially refined regulations can have benefits in terms of employment and political acceptance of regulations.  With collaborators from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, U. of Maine, and USM, Professor Herrera was also involved in a large-scale project to study biological and economic connections between lobster, herring, and groundfish resources in the Gulf of Maine.

Professor Herrera was involved in a project in Miches, a municipality in the Dominican Republic, helping to design and implement a sustainable system of local governance of small-scale fisheries in this community, and to better understand what makes such governance systems succeed. This involves an understanding of the various biological resources themselves, of the social, political, and economic connections between the communities, and of technical interactions (or externalities) between them. 

Professor Herrera is currently engaged in a comparative investigation of the use of Maine’s rivers (primarily the Androscoggin and the Kennebec) and the development of a set of surveys and models that can be used to estimate the potential benefits and costs of river restoration policies (e.g., dam removals, improvements in fish passage, or habitat enhancements).  This work, in which Professor Herrera collaborates with natural and social scientists at Bowdoin, Bates, and the University of Southern Maine, is part of a larger “Sustainability Solutions Initiative,” funded by the National Science Foundation and centered at the University of Maine at Orono. This project explicitly emphasizes “knowledge-to-action:” the way in which stakeholders in the socioecological system influence, and are in turn affected by, the research process.

Professor Herrera’s research has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Marine Resource Economics, Natural Resource Modeling, the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science, and Marine Policy.  In addition to internal research support provided by Bowdoin, Professor Herrera has received external funding from the National Science Foundation (Coupled Natural and Human Systems; EPSCoR; Mathematical Social & Behavioral Sciences), NOAA-Seagrant, and USAID. Professor Herrera currently is an Adjunct Scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he has held positions as Research Fellow during two sabbaticals. He maintains active collaborations with members of the WHOI Biology department as well as the Marine Policy Center.

Selected Recent Publications

  • Herrera, G.E., Evans, K.S., and L.Y. Lewis, 2017. Aligning economic and ecological priorities: conflicts, complementarities, and regulatory frictions. Forthcoming, Agricultural and Resource Economics Review.
  • Herrera, G.E., H.V. Moeller, and M.G. Neubert, 2016. High-seas fish wars generate marine reserves. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 113(14):3767-3772.
  • Moberg, E., E. Shyu, G.E. Herrera, S. Lenhart, Y. Lou, and M.G. Neubert, 2015. On the bioeconomics of reserves when dispersal evolves. Natural Resource Modeling 28(4):456-474.
  • Ryan, R.W., D.S. Holland and G.E. Herrera, 2014. Ecosystem Externalities in Fisheries. Marine Resource Economics 29(1):39-53.
  • Holland, D. and G.E. Herrera, 2012. The impact of age structure, uncertainty, and asymmetric spatial dynamics on regulatory performance in a fishery metapopulation. Ecological Economics 77:207-218.
  • Ryan, R., D. Holland, and G.E. Herrera, 2010. Bioeconomic equilibrium in a bait-constrained fishery. Marine Resource Economics 25(3):281-93.
  • Holland, D. and G.E. Herrera, 2010. The benefits and risks of increased spatial resolution in management of fishery metapopulations under uncertainty. Natural Resource Modeling 23(4):494-502.
  • Holland, D. and G.E. Herrera, 2009. Uncertainty in the management of fisheries: contradictory implications and a new approach. Marine Resource Economics 24(3):289-299.
  • Herrera, G.E. and S. Lenhart, 2009. Spatial optimal control of renewable resource stocks. In Spatial Ecology, ed. S. Cantrell., C. Cosner, and S. Ruan, pp. 343-358. CRC/Chapman-Hall.