Margaret Insley

Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Economics, University of Waterloo


BA (University of Calgary, Economics)
MA (University of Alberta, Economics)
PhD (University of Guelph, Economics)

Curriculum Vitae


I am interested the economics of natural resources and the environment. My research explores how market uncertainty affects the efficient use of natural resources such as oil and timber, and how negative environmental consequences can be reduced. I use an approach called real options analysis, which makes use of the tools of finance to analyze decisions under uncertainty.


Undergraduate classes: Energy and Natural Resource Economics (Ec 355), Environmental Economics (Ec 357), Cost Benefit Analysis (Ec 361)
Graduate classes: Natural Resource Economics (Ec 655), Real Options and Investment (Ec 659)


I did my BA in economics at the University of Calgary and my MA at the University of Alberta. After completing my Masterís degree in the early 1980ís, I worked as an economist in an energy company in Calgary for six years. In the late 1980ís I moved to Waterloo and in the 1990ís began PhD studies in economics at the University of Guelph, specializing in the economics of natural resources and the environment. My thesis research examined making optimal decisions under uncertainty in the context of the protection of groundwater resources. I received my PhD in 1996 and in 2002 I accepted my current position as a faculty member in Economics at the University of Waterloo. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses on natural resource economics and decision making under uncertainty. I am supervising a number of PhD students with interests in my research areas. Since July 2011 I have been Chair of the Department.

Discussion papers:

Margaret Insley On the timing of non-renewable resource extraction with regime switching prices: an optimal stochastic control approach May 2015.

Shilei Niu and Margaret Insley An options pricing approach to ramping rate restrictions at hydro power plants February 2015.

Abdullah Almansour and Margaret Insley The impact of stochastic extraction cost on the value of an exhaustible resource: An application to the Alberta oil sands 2013.

Shan Chen, Margaret Insley, and Tony Wirjanto The impact of stochastic convenience yield on long term forestry investment decisions January 2011.

Selected Publications

1. Abdullah Almansour and Margaret Insley, The impact of stochastic extraction cost on the value of an exhaustible resource: An application to the Alberta oil sands, Energy Journal, forthcoming.

2. Shilei Niu and Margaret Insley, On the economics of ramping rate restrictions at hydro power plants: Balancing profitability and environmental costs,Ā Energy Economics, 39, 39-52, September 2013.

3. Shan Chen and Margaret Insley, Regime switching in stochastic models of commodity prices: An application to an optimal tree harvesting problem, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 36(2), 201-219, February 2012.

4. M. Insley and T. Wirjanto, Contrasting two approaches in real options valuation: contingent claims versus dynamic programming, Journal of Forest Economics, 16(2), 157-176, April 2010.

5. M. Insley and M. Lei, Hedges and trees: Incorporating fire risk into optimal decisions in forestry using a no-arbitrage approach, Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics,32(3), 492-514, December 2007.

6. M. Insley and K. Rollins, On solving the multi-rotational timber harvesting problem with stochastic prices: a linear complementarity formulation, American Journal of Agricultural Economics 87(3), 735-755,2005.

Office: HH 216, x32209
email: minsley@uwaterloo.ca

University of Waterloo, Dept. of Economics
200 University Ave. W
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1
+1 519 888 4567 x32209

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Last modified: May 2013.