Demonstrating and quantifying the relationships between natural assets and economic growth has been central to ECONorthwest’s work since 1974.
Natural assets are the foundation of regional economies. People value and move to places with temperate climates, mountains, coastal access, and sun. Natural assets also serve as inputs to a range of industries: agriculture, fisheries, mining, food manufacturing, wood products, and more. Managed correctly, these assets create an irrevocable advantage that supports economic growth.
Ecosystem and Recreation Valuation
We help our clients make informed decisions and worthwhile investments by conducting rigorous, defensible ecosystem and recreation valuations.
Ecosystems provide things that people value: clean water and air, timber and energy, fresh food, a place in which to wander, beauty. Some of these come with conventional price tags and others are enjoyed more freely, but all require investment to sustain. We help our clients—public and private landowners and resource stewards—make worthwhile investments by conducting rigorous, defensible ecosystem and recreation valuations. Our work is the state of the science and has received recognition from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board.
Our analyses are grounded in the understanding that the value of an ecosystem is determined by the value of the goods and services it provides. We draw on a variety of tools to quantify the returns on investments in natural capital (benefit-cost analysis, triple-bottom-line analysis, economic impact analysis) and apply the same rigor to environmental valuation that we bring to conventional economic analyses. Our findings withstand high scrutiny in legal settings and are supported by a range of stakeholders and the public
Socioeconomic Impact Assessment
We approach socioeconomic impact assessment comprehensively, drawing from our deep understanding of how ecosystems and economies interact.
Projects that impact the environment also affect households, businesses, and the government’s provision of public services. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), California’s Environmental Quality Act, and related environment review laws require careful consideration of environmental impacts, including effects on socioeconomic conditions. We approach socioeconomic impact assessment comprehensively, drawing from our deep understanding of how ecosystems and economies interact. We take a collaborative approach, working closely with interdisciplinary scientific teams to identify economic effects that accurately reflect a project’s biophysical impacts, and trace the environmental impacts of a project through social and economic systems.
Work in this area includes our pioneering NEPA EIS analysis, which used an ecosystem-services framework for a proposed Montana-Idaho transmission line. The federal government subsequently issued guidance encouraging the adoption of an ecosystem-services framework. This approach has been extended to projects as diverse as fish hatcheries and housing developments.
Economic Effects of Environmental Regulations
Our economists have conducted economic analyses required for federal and state regulatory processes, and are well-versed in the particular requirements these processes demand.
Many federal and state environmental regulatory interventions require an economic analysis. Our economists have assessed federal investments in water infrastructure, conducted economic analyses of Critical Habitat Designations, assessed the benefits and costs of implementation plans for TMDLs under the Clean Water Act, and priced the loss of cultural services incurred by tribes through natural resource damages. Our analyses are grounded in the underlying legal requirements and best economic practice. We work with agency economists to align our work with federal directives, and often exchange information about emerging data and approaches to improve technical rigor. Much of our regulatory work stems from litigation involving private, state, and federal actions that affect environmental quality or enforcement. The litigation context requires the highest standards of professional skill and conduct.
Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Planning
We help communities evaluate the unique risks posed by human-made and natural disasters and prudently prepare for these major disruptions.
Climate change is among the most pressing economic issues facing the country and the world. Businesses, governments, and individuals must anticipate how climate change will directly affect their operations, decisions, and lives. Whether the risks arise from rising sea levels, severe storms, flooding, earthquakes, or wildfires, every community can take basic steps to improve their ability to emerge from these events stronger. Even small investments in resilience, carefully planned, can yield economic payoffs in the short and long run. We help communities evaluate their unique risks and prudently prepare for major disruptions.
Natural Resource Management
ECONorthwest has applied rigorous benefit-cost principles to a diverse range of land, forest, water, and habitat issues.
Private and public managers often encounter contentious conflicts as they allocate scarce natural resources across competing demands. ECONorthwest has applied rigorous benefit-cost principles to a diverse range of land, forest, water, and habitat issues: agricultural water supply; sand and gravel mine development; wilderness designation; and urban forest management. Pioneering work in this area includes work around the Pacific Salmon recovery efforts, in which we quantified the returns on restoration investments through subsequent savings in infrastructure costs and the creation of economic development opportunities.
Anticipating change in an increasingly dynamic economy is at the heart of ECONorthwest’s business analytics practice.
Vibrant, productive economies are driven by creative destruction. Innovation continuously ushers out old products and processes and replaces them with new ones. In today’s economy, this process has been accelerated by technology, which has radically altered the relationships between businesses and their customers. Firms know much more about customers’ needs and have new channels to reach them. Alongside this rapid technological change, the consumer market is aging and becoming more diverse. ECONorthwest forecasts economies and tracks consumer trends in a wide range of industries. Our work has served young firms and new ventures of established ones. Our market and feasibility analyses are clear-eyed and realistic.
For companies that have found success, or are looking to expand, we measure impact. ECONorthwest produces highly regarded reports that allow companies to trace the effects of their work on regional jobs, productivity, and government revenue. We have applied our thorough, rigorous methods on behalf of some of the biggest companies in world, including Microsoft, Facebook, Intel, Nike, Uber, and Airbnb.
Econometrics is an essential tool for program evaluation, causal inference, treatment effects analysis, and policy making.
Econometric analysis employs complex models that simultaneously control for several confounding factors. Econometrics is an essential tool for program evaluation, causal inference, treatment effects analysis, and evidenced-based policy making. It is the standard for statistical analysis in economics and public policy.
ECONorthwest has the expertise to deploy the latest Machine Learning algorithms to a variety of prediction and classification problems. These flexible and powerful analytic tools can be used in a wide range of applications: to predict daily revenues, extract sentiment from online reviews, develop asset pricing models, detect anomalous transactions, and even to discover hidden patterns in data.
Our economists have decades of experience helping clients identify and capture market opportunities.
Our economists have decades of experience helping clients identify and capture market opportunities. We have the tools and expertise required to help with concept development, project implementation, and evaluation. Our market analyses stand out because they anticipate, not react. This clear picture of current and future market conditions strengthens our clients’ investment decisions and gives them an edge over their reactive competitors.
Our analyses can identify opportunities for business creation or expansion; explain how the entrance or exit of a business changes market conditions; determine ideal production and pricing schedules; and reliably forecast costs and revenues over time.
We maintain regional and national macroeconomic models that can be customized to clients’ needs.
We maintain regional and national macroeconomic models that can be customized to clients’ needs. These models include models of counties, clusters of counties, states, and clusters of states. We use various types of modeling approaches, depending on the client’s relative need for forecasting accuracy or forecasting detail. We have built specialty models to forecast everything from local business tax revenues to the demand for cheddar cheese products.
Private clients use our forecasting services to better understand the relationship between the national regional economy and their growth and profit prospects. Public clients use the models to forecast the demand for public services and the availability of public tax revenues.
Financial Feasibility Analysis
Public and private financiers often require independent validation that a project is economically viable.
Public and private financiers often require independent validation that a project is economically viable. Our reports help clients secure funding through the EB5 Foreign Investor Visa Program, New Market Tax Credits, tax increment financing, public-private partnerships, and private investment. We have conducted feasibility assessments for a diverse range of projects, including hotels, real estate developments, sports venues, energy projects, wind farms, mines, health centers, public markets, marine terminals, casinos, and many other projects.
Economic and Fiscal Impact Analysis
ECONorthwest has helped numerous companies demonstrate economic and fiscal impact.
Elected leaders, community activists, and other political stakeholders are sometimes unclear about the relationship between business activities, a regional economy, and local tax systems. In changing political and regulatory environments, businesses are better positioned if they clearly articulate the value they bring to a community: the number of jobs, the value of their output, the taxes paid.
ECONorthwest has helped numerous companies demonstrate economic and fiscal impact. We measure effects of entire operations and of specific projects. Our models tally direct spending on employees, evaluate supply chains to document where companies purchase their materials and services, and trace the effects of that spending into other sectors of the economy. We are comprehensive but do not overstate findings. Our careful, thorough approach has made ECONorthwest the call of choice for some of the biggest companies in the world.
Past clients include:
- California and Nevada Credit Union League
- Cambia Health Solutions
- Comcast NBCUniversal
- Cultural Trust of Oregon
- Office of Motion Picture and Television Development
- Energy Trust of Oregon
- Evergreen State College
- Northwest Credit Union Association
- Northwest Energy Efficiency Council
- Oregon Health and Science University
- Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems
- Oregon Institute of Technology
- Portland Art Museum
- Portland Meadows
- Oregon Small Business Development Center Network
- Portland Trail Blazers
- University of Oregon
- TrackTown USA (2021 Outdoor Track World Championships)
ECONorthwest has over thirty years of experience in expert economic testimony.
Meet Our Economists
Our experienced expert witnesses, economists, and economic analysts provide rigorous economic analyses and clear, concise written and oral testimony. We help attorneys assess economic liability; calculate the present value of damages, harm, or impacts due to alleged acts; conduct market analysis; and manage and analyze data. Our experts have provided support for representatives of both plaintiffs and defendants, producing impartial and rigorous assessments of claims for economic losses.
The decisions we make about where and how we build housing, neighborhoods, and roads affect our social, economic, and natural systems.
ECONorthwest’s Development and Transportation practice brings an economic perspective to these decisions. We incorporate the principles of urban economics, market analysis, economic forecasting, fiscal impact analysis, and development finance to produce realistic, action-oriented products. We assist governments, businesses, and nonprofit institutions with issues ranging from long-range regional planning to infrastructure finance to site development. Our work helps clients prepare for changing market conditions as they create land use policy, finance new development projects, or implement infrastructure funding strategies for growth.
Economics of Growth
Our analyses help clients make informed decisions about future growth locations and patterns.
As cities grow, they need developable land. ECONorthwest has performed over a hundred growth-focused studies, evaluating how much land clients need, what kind of land they need, and where they need it.
Our work in growth management focuses on long-range planning for efficient land use and infrastructure development. We assess market conditions, forecast housing and employment growth, analyze the fiscal impacts of growth scenarios, inventory buildable land, and compare the supply and demand for development. Our analyses have supported the expansion of urban growth boundaries in cities big and small, in Oregon and around the country.
We have deep expertise in modeling the outcomes of transportation investments and policy decisions on mobility.
In growing cities, congestion and limited infrastructure funding pinch transportation networks from both sides—in the last decade, many roads have become simultaneously more crowded and more poorly maintained. Cars, trucks, buses, bikes, and pedestrians compete for limited space on roadways, leading to difficult decisions about how to allocate public right-of-way.
One of our specialties is congestion pricing, in which toll prices vary based on congestion. ECONorthwest's Toll Optimization Model, designed to integrate with standard traffic flow models, helps accurately determine how drivers will respond to different toll prices. We are the primary author of two state-of-the-practice guidebooks for evaluating highway and transit projects. For transit agencies, we forecast future revenues, estimate the economic impacts of proposed transit investments, and develop funding strategies.
ECONorthwest has completed more than fifty studies of toll roads, toll bridges, and high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes throughout the United States, including in California, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, and Minnesota. For agencies seeking funding from federal sources, ECONorthwest also conducts benefit-cost analyses that have been used to secure more than $95 million in federal discretionary TIGER grants. For Seattle Department of Transportation, we used machine learning to predict on-street parking occupancy by time of day and neighborhood.
We help our clients develop policies that work with, rather than against, the market as they identify solutions to redevelop corridors, neighborhoods, and sites.
From project inception to construction, we leverage our analytical tools, deep subject-matter expertise, and relationships to assess opportunities and barriers and develop targeted implementation strategies. Our work in this area includes market and policy analysis, opportunity site strategies, redevelopment action plans, outreach strategies, urban renewal plans, and brownfield redevelopment.
One of our specialties is the evaluation of how public investments and planning policies affect development outcomes. For example, how might a proposed transit project impact economic development and housing in nearby communities? What zoning changes will support desired development patterns or production of affordable housing? Through our partnership with MapCraft.io, we provide interactive, web-based applications that allow cities, stakeholders, and economists to work together in a pragmatic, collaborative, and data-grounded process.
ECONorthwest has worked with many public and private-sector clients to develop realistic, implementable strategies for redevelopment and infill projects in cities such as Olympia, Washington; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Austin, Texas.
Funding and Finance
Governments at all levels must make hard decisions about how to prioritize infrastructure projects and make the best use of limited funding. Our analysis grounds those decisions in reality.
Providing the public infrastructure to support growth and development is increasingly challenging. Revenues from existing sources have not kept pace with expanding maintenance and construction needs for infrastructure at the federal, state, regional, and local levels. We have worked for both public and private developers to craft funding and financing plans that turn vision into reality.
We are well-versed with tools such as public-private partnerships, impact fees, tax credits, urban renewal, EB-5, tax credits, and other public-sector funding and finance bonds and tools. We are skilled at communicating financial and other trade-offs to councils, boards, partners, and neighbors. For the City of Portland, we developed a funding mechanism to pay for improvements to hundreds of miles of unpaved or under-improved local streets. Our analyses of tax increment finance (TIF) revenues have been used to support the sale of more than $200 million in urban renewal bonds in Oregon.
Our approach to affordable housing work is rooted in a deep understanding of how private and supported markets deliver affordable housing, and how cities can best leverage their toolkit to achieve affordable housing goals.
Nationwide, nearly 20 million households spend more than half of their income on housing costs. ECONorthwest has extensive experience analyzing housing needs in the context of demographic changes and market dynamics. We forecast long-range housing needs, develop affordable housing implementation strategies, and analyze the impacts and tradeoffs of potential policy measures. Our experience with the array of funding and policy tools allows us to craft innovative and data-driven policies that respond to the unique challenges of each community.
Our work includes a national analysis of the impact of zoning and subdivision regulations on housing affordability, the role of inclusionary housing policies in achieving affordable housing outcomes, and analyses of the impacts of HomeAway and Airbnb on housing affordability in Seattle and Portland.
Areas of Expertise
Employment Disputes and Labor Negotiations
Economic analysis for labor and management
ECONorthwest provides economic analysis for labor and management in litigation matters and labor contract arbitration. Our litigation support team has extensive expertise with wrongful termination cases, discrimination cases, and related employment matters. We assess claims for lost earnings and economic damages, and perform statistical analysis regarding discrimination claims. Our labor-related experience includes evaluating workers’ compensation claims, assessing pricing practices of organized labor, estimating the costs and benefits of labor regulation, and consulting on violations of employment-related contracts (e.g., non-compete agreements).
We help unions and employers prepare for arbitration negotiations by:
- Assessing the relevant public interest in the negotiation and its relationship to an agency’s contract offer.
- Applying economic theory to arbitration statutes.
- Measuring total compensation for similar work in comparable communities.
- Analyzing local and national labor market conditions and cost-of-living adjustments.
- Assessing an agency’s ability to pay and ability to attract and retain qualified workers.
Assistance with resolution of commercial contract disputes
ECONorthwest's litigation support team can help attorneys resolve commercial contract disputes.
We have expertise in matters of:
- Breach of contract
- Business interruption
- Damage calculation
- Economic consequences
- Lost profit appraisals
- Real estate litigation
- Tortious interference in business
- Trusts and estates disputes
Antitrust Liability and Damages
Execution and presentation of economic analyses
Antitrust is one of the few areas of litigation in which proving liability involves economic information and testimony. ECONorthwest staff have extensive experience conducting economic analyses and presenting written, deposition, and trial testimony on antitrust liability topics, including relevant markets, products, and geographies; market shares and market power of competing firms; and barriers to entry for new market entrants.
After establishing liability, proving antitrust damages involves showing harm to competition. Alleged antitrust actions harm competition by increasing prices above competitive levels, restricting supply below competitive levels, reducing the quality of goods or services, or some combination of the three.
ECONorthwest has successfully presented testimony on antitrust harm to a range of goods and services, including: advertising services; agricultural commodities; construction services; forest products; hospital and healthcare services; natural gas and other petroleum products; recreation equipment; and many more.
Environmental Enforcement, Damages, Liability
Environmental, natural resource, and energy-related litigation
ECONorthwest has earned a reputation for excellence through an established history of applying economics to litigation involving environmental, natural resource, and energy-related issues. We specialize in evaluating the benefits, costs, and market impacts of natural resource management decisions and environmental regulations, as well as valuing economic damages from natural-resource injuries. We provide economic analysis in litigation at both the state and federal levels and for civil and criminal enforcement of environmental regulations.
We analyze a range of issues related to environmental cases, including the impacts of regulatory changes; the costs a party avoids by failing to comply with regulations; the economic gain they enjoy; and their ability to pay penalties. Our experts have also provided analysis for Native American tribes in cases where tribal claims to land or natural resources have been challenged.
We have performed economic analysis in matters related to:
- Air Quality
- Fisheries management
- Gasoline additives (MTBE and ethanol)
- Oil spills and refining
- Pesticide use
- Petroleum pipelines
- Radioactive and other hazardous waste
- Superfund (CERCLA)
- Timber, forests, and clear-cutting
Economic Damages Assessment
Impartial valuation of economic damage claims
ECONorthwest's litigation support team provides impartial valuation of economic damage claims. ECONorthwest has substantial experience calculating the economic damages arising from all types of legal actions. Working for both plaintiffs and defendants, we produce impartial and rigorous assessments of claims for economic losses, applying professionally sound valuation methods to calculate past, present, and future damages. We also have experience providing analysis in connection with claims for punitive damages.
Over the last 30 years, we have calculated damages in a wide array of cases, including:
- Breach of contract
- Chemical and oil spills
- Class-action lawsuits
- Employment disputes
- Franchise disputes
- Hazardous-waste pollution
- Land and development disputes
- Lost business opportunities
- Personal injury
- Price discrimination
- Product liability
- Trespass and property damages
- Wrongful death
- Wrongful termination
Hospital and Healthcare Services
An expert perspective on local and regional healthcare markets
ECONorthwest provides economic analyses and expert testimony on local and regional markets for hospital and healthcare services in regulatory and court proceedings. Our experience includes addressing economic aspects of:
- The costs of acute-care hospital treatments
- Local and regional markets for tertiary cardiovascular and neonatal care
- Markets for diagnostic imaging services, including CAT scans and MRIs
- Interactions between markets for physician services and insurance products
- The factors that influence the costs of medical services and impacts on markets for insurance products.
- Hospital certificate-of-need applications
Patent and Intellectual Property Valuation
Valuing economic harm from patent infringement and IP loss
ECONorthwest provides expert valuation of economic harm from patent infringement and intellectual property loss. Established case law contains the criteria by which courts identify and measure economic harm from patent infringement or other losses associated with intellectual property. These criteria differ depending on whether the patent holder has produced and sold the goods or services at issue, or licensed the patented technology to others. In the first case, economists measure economic harm as lost profits on foregone sales. In the second, we measure the foregone royalties on the manufacture and sale of patented goods or services by others. Our staff has presented analyses and opinions in written testimony and defended our work in deposition and trial testimonies.
ECONorthwest has expertise in conducting analyses of lost profits and foregone royalties on a wide variety of patented technologies.
Our extensive experience includes:
- Applying the four Panduit factors that guide analyses of lost profits
- Assessing reasonable royalties by identifying the appropriate royalty base
- Applying the 15 Georgia Pacific factors that guide the determination of a reasonable royalty rate
Personal Injury and Wrongful Death
Rigorous, impartial valuation of personal economic damages
ECONorthwest has substantial experience providing economic analysis in matters of personal injury and wrongful death. Our experts have provided support for representatives of both plaintiffs and defendants, producing impartial and rigorous assessments of claims for economic losses. We calculate income-related losses as well as other economic losses stemming from injury or death, such as increased medical expenditures, or reduction or loss of ability to provide services around the home.
We also provide consulting services separate from expert testimony to assist attorneys in evaluating a case:
- Preliminary damage assessments
- Development of the economic elements of a claim
- Identification and collection of data
- Deposition, discovery, or cross-examination support
- Review of another party’s economic report