As John pointed out, today's announcement of the Prize in Economics named after Alfred Nobel, but not really a Nobel Prize (or whatever it's called) being awarded to Elinor Ostrom could be interpreted as an award for a pseudo-environmental economist. As CNN.com puts it:
Ostrom, a professor of political science at Indiana University, was praised "for her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons."
Even though she is in a political science department, Ostrom's work has had significant influence on the field of environmental economics, particularly the recognition that common pool resources don't always collapse under the 'tragedy of the commons' as is predicted by traditional models. To whit, consider the following quote from the introduction to a highly influential paper:
Economists have tended to view the presence of externalities and other market failures as leading to a private equilibrium that would not be Pareto optimal. In the exploitation of common-pool resources, especially biological resources, this would lead to the much-discussed `tragedy of the commons'. A challenge to this traditional view has emerged from study of the theory and practice of the exploitation of common-pool resources. A considerable body of research shows that, for many common pool resources, a private equilibrium embedded in an endogenous institutional structure has resulted in sustainable harvests and biomass. Evidence for these findings appears in numerous places, including Feeney et al., Ostrom (1990), McCay and Acheson, and Sethi and Somanathan.
Blatant self-promotion alert. The quote is from: My article with Ted McConnell, "Social Norms and Illicit Behavior: An Evolutionary Model of Compliance.”* The paper concludes:
In general, collective action can result in amelioration of externalities when a social norm influences individual decision-making. Policies aimed at increasing the level of compliance can result in dynamic as well as static adjustment to the level of compliance if individuals react to social norms. Traditional models of management of the commons with regard to pollution treat individual decisions to pollute as independent of social influences. The proposed framework suggests that management decisions that incorporate social interaction into the decision framework can lead to lower cost policy solutions that evolve over time rather than immediately reach the desired steady state equilibrium.
And yes, I use big words when I write academic articles. That tends to hide the stupidity of the underlying ideas. An no, the paper isn't really highly infuential.
*Journal of Environmental Management (2002) 66:67-76.