I am Johanna Joy Isman, a PhD student at the Toulouse School of Economics. I visited the Department of Economics at the University of Toronto in spring 2023.

My primary research fields are environmental economics and empirical industrial organization. My secondary fields are development economics and applied microeconomics. I am passionate about studying the effectiveness of private and public policies in tackling environmental, economic and social issues in global value chains.

My main, ongoing project deals with the economics of voluntary sustainability certification, in particular forest management certification. I analyze how certified forestries choose their certification bodies and if more stringent regulation of certification bodies could increase compliance with the standard or would mostly drive forestries out of the certification. I have collected novel panel data on certification choices as well as survey data on certification fees. I employ methods from the field of empirical industrial organization to estimate parameters that drive demand for different certification bodies such as forestries’ valuation of certification bodies’ stringency. These estimates allow me to analyze potential consequences of suspending the least stringent certification bodies.

Other projects in progress deal with the protection of intact forest landscapes through certification, the accreditation of certification bodies as well as industrial policies in Ethiopia.

Before completing my master’s degree in Economic Theory and Econometrics, I studied International Relations in Dresden, Ramallah and Amman and gained related work experience in Geneva and Berlin.


Do not hesitate to reach out if you are interested in further information on my research or have questions or comments: johanna.obst [at] tse-fr.eu