Our People

Marcus Hartley

President and Principal Economist

Marcus Hartley’s work for Northern Economics has focused on issues involving fisheries and fisheries infrastructure. He has also had significant involvement in natural gas and LNG pipeline projects and has been a leader in developing tools and resources to enhance community impact assessments. Before coming to Northern Economics in 1997, Marcus was Senior Economist at the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, where he became a recognized expert in providing economic analysis for decision-makers in some of the world’s most important fisheries.

Marcus has been a professional economist since receiving his M.Sc. in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics from Oregon State University 1989. Working as an applied economist to help communities and individuals make good decisions about their resources became a priority for Marcus after 2 years in the Peace Corps. Working in Nepal as a fisheries extension officer, Marcus witnessed the power of economic thinking and the consequences of uninformed decisions.

The fisheries program presented small farmers an opportunity to move from their tradition of growing rice on their land—which might be just enough to support their families—to fish farming—which could give them a chance to accumulate wealth and break free from their cycle of poverty. Unfortunately, fish farming was not risk-free, and it required new skills, dedication, and hard work. If the farmer wasn’t able to meet the challenge, or if external factors turned negative, then the decision could result in failure, the loss of a farmer’s land, and even starvation for the family. The trade-off between relatively risk-free rice farming—with a continued life of poverty—against a very risky leap of faith into fish farming—with a higher profit potential and a chance to accumulate wealth—was clear. It was also clear that economics could provide information to help these farmers—and many other people facing complex issues—in their decision processes.

While much of Marcus’s work has involved fisheries, his most satisfying work comes with application of ideas and concepts from one field to areas of study in which they have not been used.

Outside the office, Marcus spends a lot of time on the squash court and hiking and skiing with his wife Diane, in the rugged mountains behind their South Anchorage home. He is a passionate fly-fisher and is always looking for the perfect trout stream.