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Zhenshan Chen

Assistant Professor
Zhenshan Chen
206B Hutcheson Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Zhenshan Chen’s research focuses on climate change, land use, and fishery issues. He worked on policy evaluation and nonmarket valuation of related policies and projects. He also identifies his minor area of interest as applied econometrics. His works mostly involve bringing in high-quality large datasets and tailoring novel statistical methods based on specific research questions. He loves the efficiency brought by critical thinking and algorithms, but he acknowledges that trade-offs take place more often than expected.


Applied econometrics and economic analytics; energy and public economics; environmental and natural resource economics


  • Ph.D., Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Connecticut, Storrs, 2021
  • M.S., Economics, Ocean University of China, Qingdao, 2014
  • B.S., Physics, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 2011

His past and working research topics are mostly focusing on climate change adaptation and resilience, the related public policies, and the effects on and responses from the communities. Specific research topics include: how to model coastal residents’ preferences toward different climate change adaptation plans in Virginia; how extreme weather affects farmers’ land use in Ethiopia; how flood risk and related mitigation efforts affect coastal housing prices in Connecticut; Long Island Sound anglers’ preference and compliance toward different management plans; recreational homeowners’ impact on agricultural land use; and coastal residents' valuation of oyster restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico states under outcome uncertainty.  

His future research is expected to involve the following aspects: utilizing large-scale high-resolution spatial data to facilitate resilience for both coastal and inland areas, documenting and forecasting behavioral changes in response to environmental and policy changes, and bridging empirical and survey data with improved methods in environmental valuation.  

Research and Working Papers in Progress

  • Flood Zone in the Coastal Housing Market - A Risk Signal or Mandatory Costs?
  • Contingent Valuation with Voluntary Contributions
  • Sorting over the Dual Risk of Coastal Housing Market - Who Surfs the Tide, Who Bears the Blunt?
  • The Housing Market Impacts of Noise Pollution: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

In addition to teaching his research topics, Chen also teaches Python.

Current teaching

  • AAEC 5824 Advanced Applied Economic Analytics (with Python)

Previous courses

  • Environmental Economics, EEC535, College of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Rhode Island


Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech, Aug. 2022 - Present

Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Agricultural Economics, Mississippi State University, Aug. 2021 - July 2022


  • Predoctoral Fellowship, ARE, UConn
  • Nathan Koenig AG/EC Student Fund Award, ARE, UConn
  • Outstanding Poster Presentation, Graduate Student Research Forum, CAHNR, UConn
  • Paul Putnam Travel Award, ARE, UConn
  • Stewart Johnson Scholarship, ARE, UConn

"The Influence of Projected Outcomes on Preferences over Alternative Regulations: Evidence from a Recreational Fishery". Zhenshan Chen, Pengfei Liu, Eric Schultz, Jacob Kasper, Stephen Swallow. Land Economics, 2022.

"Weather, Cropland Expansion, and Deforestation in Ethiopia". Xi He and Zhenshan Chen. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 2022.

"Recreational Home Owners’ Impact on Agricultural Land Use". Charles Towe and Zhenshan Chen. Land Economics, 2022.

"Nonparticipation and Heterogeneity in Stated Preference: A Double Hurdle Latent Class Approach for Climate Change Adaptation Plans and Ecosystem Services". Zhenshan Chen, Stephen Swallow, and Ian Yue. Environmental and Resource Economics, 2020.