Margaret Insley

Associate Professor

519-888-4567 x32209
Office: HH 127
Personal website

CV: Margaret Insley

Google Scholar Profile

BA (Calgary); MA (Alberta); PhD (Guelph)

Areas of specialization: Natural resource and environmental economics; Investment under uncertainty -- real options

Research interests

I am interested in 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.


I did my BA in economics at the University of Calgary and my MA at the University of Alberta. After completing my Master’s degree in the early 1980’s, I worked in Calgary for six years as an economist for an energy company called Nova, An Alberta Corporation. In the late 1980’s I moved to Waterloo and in the 1990’s 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. I served as Chair of the Department from 2011 to 2019. 

Selected publications

  • Sara Aghakazemjourabbaf and Margaret Insley, "Leaving your tailings behind: Environmental bonds, bankruptcy and waste cleanup", Resource and Energy Economics, 65, August 2021, 101246/1-26 (electronic).

  • Margaret Insley and Peter A. Forsyth, "Climate games: Who’s on first? What’s on second?", Actualité économique, 95, 2019.

  • M. Insley, “Resource extraction with a carbon tax and regime switching prices: Exercising your options”, Energy Economics, 67, 1-16, 2017.

  • Niu, S., M. Insley. "An Options Pricing Approach to Ramping Rate Restrictions at Hydro PowerPlants," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, vol. 63, pages 25-52, 2016.

  • Almansour, A. and M. Insley, "The Impact of Stochastic Extraction Cost on the Value of an Exhaustible Resource: An Application to the Alberta Oils Sands", Energy Journal, vol. 37, issue 2, pages 61-88, 2016.
  • Shilei Niu and M. Insley, “On the economics of ramping rate restrictions at hydro power plants: Balancing profitability and environmental costs,” Energy Economics, 39, 39-52, September 2013. 
  • S. Chen and M. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • M. Insley and K. Rollins, “On solving the multi-rotational timber harvesting problem with stochastic prices: a linear complementarity approach”, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 87, No. 3, 735-755, 2005. 
University of Waterloo