His research focuses on analyses of climate, energy and trade policies using computable general equilibrium models. Recent studies assess the effectiveness of border carbon adjustments, China’s trade-embodied CO2 emissions, the feasibility, costs, and environmental implications of large-scale biomass energy, and the economic and emissions impacts of US aviation biofuel goals.
Niven’s research has informed several organizations on trade and energy issues, including the OECD, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. In 2013, he was awarded a Global Trade Analysis Project Research Fellowship for outstanding research.
Niven also has an interest in sports economics and his research on sports ranking systems was the catalyst for the change to the bonus point system in Super Rugby in 2016.
Niven is a Principal Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, as well as the co-editor of the Journal of Global Economic Analysis. Prior to joining MIT, he held a faculty position at the University of Otago and earned a PhD from the University of Nottingham.