Bobby McCormick’s earliest memories as a child were of being raised in a property rights-oriented household by an outdoorsy, farming, lumber/logging family; he remembered always thinking about “who owns what.” McCormick viewed the environment as an asset and environmental failures as the result of ambiguous environmental ownership. To redress these failures, McCormick thought that ownership assets need to be clearly marked and defined. He often said that “good fences make good neighbors” is both good poetry and good policy.
McCormick attended Clemson University and received his bachelor’s degree in economics in 1972. Then in 1974, he received his master’s degree in environmental economics from Clemson. Later, he earned his Ph.D. in economics at Texas A&M University in 1978.
In 1997, McCormick received the award for Innovative Teacher of the Year, nominated by the students at Clemson University. The following year he received the Alumni Master Teacher of the Year from Clemson University. McCormick has also been a professor visitante at the Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala City, Guatemala in 1990. He was a fellow at Consortium International MBA, CIMBA, which is an Italian program for MBA students, and he lectured annually during the spring in Italy to these students. McCormick had been an economics professor at Clemson and the BB&T scholar in the John E. Walker Department of Economics. He was also senior research associate in the Arthur M. Spiro Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.
From 2002 to 2023, McCormick was a senior fellow and directed a program at PERC for environmental entrepreneurs who want to have a better understanding of how business and economic principles can be applied to environmental problems. In 2001, he was a Julian Simon Fellow at PERC. He was heavily engaged in the research of carbon sequestration and its impact on global warming. In this research, McCormick investigated how income affects carbon sequestration as a solution for global warming.
McCormick resided in Clemson with his family. He passed away peacefully in September 2023. He is survived by his wife and two sons.