Anthony Scott was born on August 2, 1923, in Vancouver. He studied a Bachelor of Commerce in 1946, and a Bachelor of Arts in 1947, both at UBC. He received a Master of Arts from Harvard University in 1949, and a Doctorate from the London School of Economics in 1953. The title of his dissertation was "The Economics of Natural Resource Conservation." In 1953, Scott joined the Department of Economics at the University of British Columbia, where he remained until his retirement in 1989. He attained the rank of full professor in 1961, and from 1967 to 1971, he was chair of the department.
Scott was also the recipient of several honours and awards. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, received an Honourary Doctorate from the University of Guelph in 1980, and became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1982. In 1987, he received the Innis-Gerin Medal. In 1992, he was granted an honorary degree by UBC.
Scott's research interests developed in three areas: the economics of federalism, federal-provincial relations, and the problems of regionalism; the economics of natural resources, particularly as it relates to mining, energy and fishery problems; and the organization of international environmental coordination. He also studied the economics of the development of private tenures of mineral, timber, water resources and fisheries.
Throughout his career, Scott spent extended periods on leave at Chicago, Harvard and the Australian National University. He also participated in several government commissions:
• 1955-56 - Royal Commission on Canada's Economic Prospects (Gordon Commission);
• 1966-71 - Member, National Advisory Council on Water Resources Research;
• 1968-72 - Canadian Commissioner, International Joint Commission under the U.S.-Canada Boundary Water Treaty;
• 1971-75 - Advisor, Environment Directorate of the OECD in Paris;
• The 1970s - Coordinator, Programme in Natural Resource Economics at UBC;
• 1982-84 - Royal Commission on Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada (McDonald Commission);
• 1982-86 - Editor, Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de Politiques