Thomas Lyon Ph.D.


PhD Stanford University, 1989

MS Stanford University, 1984

BSE Princeton University, 1981

Tom Lyon is the Dow Professor of Sustainable Science, Technology and Commerce. His research and teaching interests include environmental information disclosure and greenwash; corporate environmental strategy; environmental NGOs; voluntary environmental agreements; government regulation of business; industrial organization; and energy and the environment.

Awards and Grants:

  • Keynote Address, “Towards Corporate Sustainability: Lessons from the Chemical Industry,” Global Chemical Regulations Conference, Baltimore, MD, March 4, 2015
  • Corona Chair, University of Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia, April 2013
  • Keynote Address, “Labels on Sustainability,” 134th Seminar of the European Association for Agricultural Economics, Paris, France, March 22-23, 2013
  • Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Stanford University School of Business, 2012
  • Professeur Invitee, Universite of Paris I, 2011
  • Fellow, Center for Business and Public Policy, Georgetown University, 2009-2011
  • Zurich Financial Services Distinguished Visitor Program on Climate Change, UC Santa Barbara, 2009
  • Gilbert White Fellowship, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC, 2002- 2003
  • Fulbright Grant, Pisa Chair in the Economics of Innovation, Scuola Superiore di Studi Universitari e di Perfezionamento Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy, 1997
  • John M. Olin Visiting Professor, Center for the Study of the Economy and the State, University of Chicago, 1995-96.

Current/Recent Research:
Environmental Information Disclosure; Greenwash; Voluntary Environmental Programs; Renewable Portfolio Standards

Current/Recent Teaching:

  • Environmental Governance
  • Competitive Tactics
  • Energy Markets and Energy Politics
  • Regulation
  • Non-Market Strategy

Selected Publications:

“When Does Institutional Activism Increase Shareholder Value?: The Carbon Disclosure Project,” (with Eun-Hee Kim), The BE Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, 2011. Volume 11(1) (Contributions), Article 50.  Available at:

“Does Public Disclosure Reduce Pollution? Evidence from India’s Pulp and Paper Industry,” (with Allen Blackman, Urvashi Narain, and Nicholas Powers), Environmental and Resource Economics, 2011, 50: 131-155.

“Greenwash vs. Brownwash: Exaggeration and Undue Modesty in Corporate Sustainability Disclosure,” (with Eun-Hee Kim), Organization Science, 2014: 705-723.

“Corporate Environmental Strategies in Emerging Economies,” (with Dietrich Earnhart and Madhu Khanna), Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 2014, 8: 164-185.

“Competing Environmental Labels,” (with Carolyn Fischer), Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, Fall 2014, v. 23, n. 3, pp. 692-716.

“Tweetjacked: The Impact of Social Media on Corporate Greenwash,” (with Allison W. Montgomery), Journal of Business Ethics, 2013, 118: 747-757.

“How Do Shareholders Respond to Sustainability Awards?: Evidence from China,” (lead article, with Yao Lu, Xinzheng Shi, and Qie Yin), Ecological Economics, 2013, 94: 1-8.

“When Does Institutional Activism Pay?: The Carbon Disclosure Project,” with Eun-Hee Kim, The BE Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, forthcoming.

“Does Public Disclosure Reduce Pollution? Evidence from India’s Pulp and Paper Industry,” (with Allen Blackman, Urvashi Narain, and Nicholas Powers), Environmental and Resource Economics, forthcoming.

 “Strategic Environmental Disclosure: Evidence from the DOE’s Voluntary Greenhouse Gas Registry,” (with Eun-Hee Kim), Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 2011, 61: 311–326.

“Greenwash: Corporate Environmental Disclosure under Threat of Audit," (lead article, with John W. Maxwell), Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 2011, 20: 3-41.

“What Drives Participation in State Voluntary Cleanup Programs?  Evidence from Oregon,” (with Allen Blackman, Sarah Darley, and Kris Wernstedt).  Land Economics, 2010, 86: 785–799.

"Why Do States Adopt Renewable Portfolio Standards? An Empirical Investigation," (with Haitao Yin), The Energy Journal, 2010, 31: 131-155.

Good Cop/Bad Cop: Environmental NGOs and their Strategies towards Business, RFF Press, 2010.

Guest Editor, Special Issue on Management Strategy and the Environment, Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, Spring 2009. 

“Corporate Social Responsibility and the Environment: A Theoretical Perspective,” (with John W. Maxwell), Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 2008, 2: 240-260.

“Environmental Public Voluntary Programs Reconsidered,” (with John W. Maxwell), Policy Studies Journal, 2007, 35: 723-750.

The Political Economy of Regulation, editor, Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2007.

“Why Rate-of-Return Adders are Unlikely to Increase Transmission Investment,” The Electricity Journal, 2007: 48-55.

“Voluntary Environmental Agreements when Regulatory Capacity is Weak,” (with Allen Blackman and Nicholas Sisto), Comparative Economic Studies, 2006: 682-702.

“Does Dual Sourcing Lower Procurement Costs?,” Journal of Industrial Economics, June 2006, 54: 223-252.

“Regulatory Opportunism and Investment Behavior: Evidence from the Electric Utility Industry,” RAND Journal of Economics, Autumn 2005.

Corporate Environmentalism and Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, 2004.

“Astroturf: Interest Group Lobbying and Corporate Strategy,” (lead article), Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 2004, 13: 561-598.

“Spatial Proximity and Complementarities in the Trading of Tacit Knowledge,” International Journal of Industrial Organization, 2004, 22: 1115-1135.

“Buyer-Option Contracts Restored: Renegotiation, Inefficient Threats, and the Hold-up Problem,” Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, 2004, 20: 148-169.

“Self-Regulation, Taxation, and Public Voluntary Environmental Agreements,” Journal of Public Economics, 2003, 87: 1453-1486.

“Self-Regulation and Social Welfare: The Political Economy of Corporate Environmentalism,” Journal of Law and Economics, 2000, 43: 583-618.

“Quality Leadership when Regulatory Standards are Forthcoming,” Journal of Industrial Economics, 2000, 48: 331-348.



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