who are you?

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Economics at the University of Colorado–Boulder. My research is in environmental, natural resource, and computational economics.

I received a BS in Business Administration in 2012 from the University of California–Riverside, and an MA in Economics in 2016 from the University of Colorado–Boulder; my PhD advisor is Dan Kaffine.

what do you do?

For the last few years, I’ve studied common-pool resources and commercial orbit use. Earth’s orbits are the world’s largest common-pool resource. As humans launches more satellites, the risk of collisions between orbiting objects increases. Paths in low-Earth orbit are under “open access” - firms are unable to secure property rights over orbital locations (though radio spectrum in those regions is licensed). Open access to a commons typically results in over-exploitation, and sometimes collapse, of the resource. In the orbital case, expect to see more catastrophic collisions and a higher risk of Kessler Syndrome in low-Earth orbit than would be socially optimal.

Day to day, I write theoretical economic models and prove that they possess certain properties or compute them. In my free time I make silly Twitter bots, play video games (online RTS and single-player RPGs), and think about the economics of fictional worlds.

curriculum vitae CV as pdf


Akhil Rao
Department of Economics
University of Colorado–Boulder
256 UCB
Econ 414
Boulder, Colorado 80309–0256

Email: akhIil.raodon't@wantcospam! loSopleaseraleave dome.alonee!du
Phone: 951-732-7261