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Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

Students conduct interviews with local farmers

Our research impacts national and global policy agendas

Graduate students have the opportunity to work on cross-disciplinary projects and partner with numerous private-sector professionals and organizations.

Our current research projects and topics include:

  • Use of remote sensing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to target natural disaster relief financing and to facilitate environmental regulation
  • The impact of environmental targets and regulations on agriculture
  • The impact of agricultural production on the environment and the design of agro-environmental policies
  • Non-market valuation using innovative revealed and stated preference tools
  • Design of environmental trading and payment-for-service programs, design, and evaluation of energy policies
  • Meta-analysis and benefit transfer for water quality and wetland conservation.

Liu, Pengfei, Yu Wang, and Wei Zhang. 2022. The Influence of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program on Local Water Quality. forthcoming, American Journal of Agricultural Economics.

Zhang, Wei. 2022. Economic Analysis of the Environmental Sustainability of Agriculture: Recent Studies using Quasi-Experimental Methods. in print, China Agricultural Economic Review.

Stephenson, K., L. Shabman, J. Shortle, and Z. Easton. 2022. Confronting our Agricultural Nonpoint Source Incentive Problem. J. of the American Water Resource Association.

Zhang, Wei. 2021. California’s Climate Policy and the Dairy Manufacturing Industry: How Does a Federal Milk Marketing Order Matter? Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 46(3):401-424.

Stephenson, K. W. Farris, E. Bock, Z. Easton. 2021. Treatment of Legacy Nitrogen as a Compliance Option to Meet Chesapeake Bay TMDL Requirements Environmental Science and Technology 55 (20): 13593–13601.

Weizhe Weng, Kelly M. Cobourn, Armen R. Kemanian, Kevin J. Boyle, Yuning Shi, Joseph Stachelek and Charles White. “Quantifying Co-Benefits of Water Quality Policies: An Integrated Assessment Model of Land and Nitrogen Management.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics (revise and resubmit).

Mark Morrison Kevin J Boyle, Buyani Thomy, Michael Burton, and Weibin Xu. “Enhancing Urban Stream Values: The Case of the Cooks and Georges River Catchments.” Water Resources Management (forthcoming)

Li, Xiaoshu, Kevin J. Boyle, Evan L. Preisser, Thomas P. Holmes and David Orwig. “Property Value Effects of the Spatial Expansion of the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid in New England, U.S.” Ecological Economics, Vol. 194 (

Keiser, David A., Sheila M. Olmstead, Kevin J. Boyle, Victor B. Flatt, Bonnie L. Keeler, Daniel J. Phaneuf, Joseph S. Shapiro, and Jay P. Shimshack. 2021. “The Evolution of WOTUS and the Role of Economics.” Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Vol 16 (1): 146-152. (

Bishop, Richard C., and Kevin J. Boyle. 2021. “On Adding-Up as a Validity Criterion for Stated-preference Studies.” Environmental and Resource Economics, Vol. 80: 587-601(

Keiser, David, Sheila Olmstead, Kevin Boyle, Victor Flatt, Bonnie Keeler, Cathy Kling, Daniel Phaneuf, Joseph S. Shapiro and Jay Shimshack. 2021. “A water rule that turns a blind eye to transboundary pollution.” Science, Vol. 372 (6539): 241-243. (

Johnston, Robert J., Kevin J. Boyle, Maria Loureiro, Ståle Navrd, John Rolfe. 2021. “Guidance to Enhance the Validity and Credibility of Environmental Benefit Transfers.” Environmental and Resource Economics, Vol. 79: 575-624. (

Weng, Weizhe, Mark D. Morrison, Kevin J. Boyle, Peter C. Boxall and John Rose. 2021. “Effects of the Number of Alternatives in Public Good Discrete Choice Experiments.” Ecological Economics, Vol. 182. (

Parsons, George, Chris Leggett, Joe Herriges, Kevin J. Boyle, Nancy Bockstael and Zoe Chen. 2021. “A Site-Portfolio Model for Multiple-Destination Recreation Trips: Valuing Trips to National Parks in the Southwestern USA.” Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, Vol. 8 (1): 1-25 (

Bishop, Kelly C., Nicolai V. Kuminoff, H. Spencer Banzhaf, Kevin J. Boyle, Kathrine von Gravenitz, Jaren C. Pope, V. Kerry Smith, and Christopher D. Timmins. 2020. “Best Practices in Using Hedonic Property Value Models to Measure Willingness to Pay for Environmental Quality.” Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Vol. 14 (2): 260–281. (

Weng, Weizhe, Kevin J. Boyle, Kaitlin J. Farrell, Cayelan C. Carey, Kelly M. Cobourn, Hilary A. Dugan, Paul C. Hanson, Nicole K. Ward, Kathleen C. Weathers. 2020. “Coupling Natural and Human Models in the Context of a Lake Ecosystem: Lake Mendota, Wisconsin, USA.” Ecological Economics, Vol. 169. (    

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

In 2015, the United Nations adopted a global framework for sustainable development focusing on 17 SDGs. The SDGs call for all countries to address complex, global problems covering all aspects of sustainability such as health and well-being, equality, clean water, and climate change. 

Virginia Tech is tracking progress toward achieving the United Nation’s SDGs across three categories; research, outreach, and stewardship. View the progress here.

Virginia Tech is tracking progress towards achieving the United Nation’s SDGs across three categories; research, outreach, and stewardship.