Matthew  Fienup

Matthew Fienup, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Center for Economic Research & Forecasting; Associate Professor, Economics


Matthew is the Executive Director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting (CERF) at California Lutheran University. He is also Associate Professor of Economics in the school's Master of Quantitative Economics program. Matthew is an applied economist who specializes in econometrics, economic policy analysis, land use, and environmental markets. Matthew is a member of the Wall Street Journal Economic Forecasting Survey. He was the recipient of 2019, 2020, and 2021 Crystal Ball Awards for the Zillow (formerly Case-Shiller) Home Price Expectations Survey. CERF's U.S. home price forecast received multiple top-3 rankings among more than 100 forecasts included in the survey.

Since its inception in 2014, Matthew has been integral to the design and implementation of the Fox Canyon Water Market, the first groundwater market to be implemented in California under SGMA. Matthew led grassroots outreach among growers before being chosen to chair the Fox Canyon Water Market Group, a formal stakeholder group chartered by the Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency (FCGMA) to design the rules, structures, and operating mechanisms for a water market to be implemented under the basins’ Groundwater Sustainability Plans. Matthew was subsequently chosen by FCGMA to serve as exchange administrator for the Fox Canyon Water Market, a role that he reprised for 5 years.

Matthew is Project Director for the Latino GDP Project, an ambitious multi-disciplinary research initiative which seeks to document the large and rapidly growing economic contribution of Latinos living in the United States. Matthew coordinates a team of researchers at CERF and at UCLA who calculate Latino Gross Domestic Product (GDP) using a bottom-up construction that leverages publicly available data from major U.S. agencies. The Latino GDP research has been presented live to more than 12,500 people in ten different states and the District of Columbia, including to the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress and to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The research has been covered in more than 120 separate features across print, digital and broadcast media, including the Wall Street Journal, Barron's, MarketWatch, Forbes, Axios, NBC News, CNBC, MSNBC, the Hill, yahoo!finance, and Telemundo. In addition, a wide range of leaders in business, entertainment and politics have commented publicly on the research and its implications, including: the CEOs of Dow Jones Co., Disney, Nike, Target, Home Depot, and Bank of America; Entertainment Legend, Emilio Estefan; songwriter and playright, Lin Manuel Miranda; Federal Reserve Vice Chair, Lael Brainard; then-Presidential Candidate, Joe Biden; and former President Barack Obama.  

Matthew returned to school to pursue his PhD after running a small business in Ventura County for more than a decade. His other specialties include California Natural History, technical rock climbing and photography. Matthew graduated summa cum laude from the Brooks Institute of Photography and has spent more than 15 years working as a professional climbing guide.

Matthew completed his doctorate in environmental economics at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara.



U.C. Santa Barbara - Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

  • Ph.D., M.A.


Woodbury University

  • Bachelor of Science, magna cum laude


Brooks Institute of Photography

  • Associate in Arts, summa cum laude


University of Michigan School of Art

  • completed Foundation Program in fine art