In 2006, the Levitt center received a gift from the Blue Moon Fund
to finance projects related to sustainability. Some of these funds went to several faculty members who conducted research with Levitt Center assistance. Economics professors Ann Owen
and Julio Videras
completed two research projects. The first, "Culture and public goods: The case of religion and the voluntary provision of environmental quality
," studied how religious beliefs affected pro-environment attitudes and behavior. Results of this study was published in the September 2007 issue of the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. A second project by Owen and Videras is still in progress, "Trust, cooperation, and implementation of sustainability programs: The case of Local Agenda 21." This project studies the importance of trust in implementing sustainability programs that require the coordination of multiple stakeholders.
Economics lecturer Nesecan Balkan and Gwyn Kirk, a former Jane Watson Irvin Chair in Women's Studies (1999-2001), traveled to El Salvador during Hamilton's Spring Break in 2007 to research sustainable development in Central America with a focus on El Salvador. During their stay, Balkan and Kirk visited the Permaculture Institute and a permaculture demonstration farm in La Libertad, grassroots groups in Chalatenago City and Las Vueltas, and initiatives for creating sustainable communities in Santa Ana and the indigenous region of Nahuizalco.