I study sustainable development, climate change mitigation, and strategic behavior in energy markets. My dissertation explores climate change, asset risk, and the green paradox, while my recent journal articles investigate public support for energy regulation and frameworks for policy analysis. My work with Nicole Sintov looks at socio-cognitive drivers of civic support for energy regulation, while recent work with Lee White synthesizes social construction theory and institutional economics to analyze interlinkages of strategic behavior, state goal-setting, and social perceptions of target populations in the evolution of major environmental reforms. I am now working on a broad-ranging study of sustainability innovations in South East Asian agribusiness including digital innovations in fish farming, rooftop Spirulina Farming, and the use of blockchain technology to support mass scale mangrove restoration to sequester carbon and support livelihood development for coastal populations in the Bay of Bengal.
In a series of essays, this dissertation draws together theory in corporate strategy, institutional economics, and the political economy of energy markets to examine oil firms' strategic responses to politically-mediated asset risk. Essays 1 and 2 explore ways policy risks drive new investments in upstream petroleum, diversification into natural gas, and corporate political activity. Nominated for Best Paper at MPSA and currently in submission to Management Science, essay 1 employs confidential data on U.S. oil majors to explore how reserve and revenue positions shape organizational responses to liberal policy attention to environmental problems of carbon and air pollution. Essay 2, slated for the Strategic Management Journal, replicates key results with data from the Oil and Gas Journal and investigates the role of corporate lobbying in shaping risk responses. Essay 2 extends the study of asset risk to consider terrorist violence as stochastic property rights threat for national oil monopolies in North Africa and the Middle East. The work received enthusiastic reception at the Oxford meeting on Commodity and Energy Markets and is targeted to the Journal of Energy Economics and Management.
Merrill, R. & White, L., 2017. Bridging Ends and Means: The Centrality of Targets in Comparative Policy Analysis with Illustrations in the United States, New Zealand, and Germany. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 1-17.
Merrill, R. & Sintov, N., 2016. An Affinity-to-Commons Model of Public Support for Environmental Energy Policy. Energy Policy, 99, 88-99.
Mazmanian, D., Merrill, R. & White, L., 2014. A Comparative Analysis of Institutional Innovations among Major Environmental Agencies. Asian Development Bank report for the Ministry of Environment of China.
Merrill, R. & Engelmann, E., 2008. iFocus: Strategic Opportunities for Biometric Identity Solutions in Emerging Markets: Commissioned by IRIS Corporation Berhad of Malaysia. Export Access, UCSD.
Merrill, R. & Richards, J., 2008. Economic Impact Analysis of the Otay West Port of Entry: Commissioned by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce for Governor Schwarzenegger’s Office. Export Access, UCSD.
"Digital Innovations in Sustainable Agriculture and Reforestation: Solving Problems in Trust and Scaling in Multi-Sided Markets". Active Field Research.
“An Austrian Perspective on Strategic Resource Management: Resilience, Adaptive Capacity, and Sustainable Competitive Advantage.” w/ S. Schillebeeckx. Revising Manuscript.
"A Cross-Country Analysis of Policy Innovations for Food System Resilience in Small Developing Island Nations". Collecting Data.
“Shifting Elites & Thriving Markets: Five Case Studies in the Evolution of Renewable Policy Regimes in China, Thailand, Germany, Australia and the United States.” Collecting Data.
“Asocial Climate Strategy: Corporate Interests in Accelerated Climate Change: Implications for Theory.” Collecting Data.
“Political Monopsony: The Energy Lobby & Congressional Policymaking.” w/ A. Orlando. MPSA 2016. Revising Manuscript.
“Dirty Votes: GIS Analysis of Community Vulnerability to Air Pollution and Congressional Voting.” APPAM 2014. Revising Manuscript.