Greenstone’s research estimates the costs and benefits of environmental quality and society’s energy choices. He has worked extensively on the Clean Air Act and examined its impacts on air quality, manufacturing activity, housing prices, and human health. He is currently engaged in large‐scale projects to estimate the economic costs of climate change and to identify efficient approaches to mitigating these costs.
His research is increasingly focused on developing countries. He authored an influential paper that demonstrated that air pollution is causing the 500 million Chinese residents to lose more than 2.5 billion years of life expectancy. He is also engaged in projects with the government of India to test ways to improve environmental regulations and increase energy access.