Economics Faculty and Staff

Katrina Mullan

Katrina Mullan

Associate Professor

Home Department: Economics
Office: Liberal Arts 412
Office Hours:

Tuesday 2-3pm and Thursday 9.30-10.30am, or by appointment. Check Moodle or email me for the Zoom link.

Curriculum Vitae


Spring 2021: 

ECNS 560 - Advanced Econometrics

Fall 2020: 

ECNS 433 - Economic of the Environment

Spring 2019:

ECNS 450 - Advanced Topics in Economic Development

Fall 2018:

ECNS 201-01 - Principles of Microeconomics

ECNS 433 - Economics of the Environment

Personal Summary

Katrina Mullan studies the drivers and impacts of land use change, with a current focus on Brazil, China, and the Northwest United States. She uses household surveys and remote sensing data to conduct quantitative empirical analyses, often within interdisciplinary teams.  Dr. Mullan has published in journals such as Environmental and Resource Economics, the Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, and World Development. She joined the University of Montana in 2012 to teach courses in Environmental Economics, Econometrics and Microeconomics. Dr. Mullan has a PhD in Environment and Development Economics from Cambridge University, and previously advised on environmental policy for the UK government and the European Environment Agency.


2009 Cambridge University, PHD

2001, University of London, MSc

2000, Cambridge University, BA

Research Interests

I study how people make decisions about land use and how their choices affect the environment. I primarily use quantitative empirical methods, relying particularly on spatially-referenced panel datasets. This research falls within the following overlapping themes:

Agricultural expansion into tropical forests

Smallholder decisions about use of land and other resources have important environmental implications both globally (e.g. climate change, biodiversity loss) and locally (e.g. erosion, water reliability). My research examines the potential implications of agricultural conversion and intensification for poverty alleviation and ecosystem service provision, particularly in relation to water. I focus on three specific questions:  

(1) What are the impacts of deforestation on smallholder incomes and local ecosystem services?

(2) How are smallholder land use decisions affected by changes in household wealth, market development, climate and local ecosystem services?

(3) How effective are alternative policy mechanisms for forest protection?

More information on this work in the Brazilian Amazon can be found at the "Connections between Water and Rural Production" website. 

Environment and migration

I study the impacts of environmental conditions on migration decisions, and the outcomes for land use change. This includes effects of resource depletion on migration to new frontiers in the Brazilian Amazon, effects of climate-related natural disasters on rural-urban migration in Thailand, and how presence of natural amenities such as public lands, lakes and rivers or mountains influences population and housing growth in the northwest US. Key research questions include:

(1) How do environmental conditions interact with other drivers of migration to determine who migrates and where they go?

(2) What are the environmental consquences of population growth and associated land use change in ecologically sensitive regions?

Food-Energy-Water Nexus

Improving the sustainability of food, energy and water systems requires understanding how they are connected. I study how land use choices link these systems, including how deforestation for agriculture alters farm productivity via impacts on rainfall and streamflow, and how rural energy provision affects agricultural practices. Students interested in this area of research can apply to the UM BRIDGES graduate training program.

Responses to environmental risks

Health impacts of natural disasters or environmental pollutants depend on how individuals or families understand and respond to the risks they face. I study the actions of people faced with indoor air pollution, wildfires, droughts or floods, to assess the relative importance of information, attitudes and financial or technical constraints in determing behavioral responses to health risks. 

Field of Study

Environmental Economics; Development Economics; Applied Econometrics

Selected Publications

“Converting Forests to Farms: The Economic Benefits of Clearing Forests in Agricultural Settlements in the Amazon” (with Erin Sills, Subrendhu Pattanayak and Jill Caviglia-Harris) Environmental and Resource Economics, 2018, Vol. 71(2), pp 427-455

“Busting the Boom–Bust Pattern of Development in the Brazilian Amazon” (with Jill Caviglia-Harris, Erin Sills, Andrew Bell, Daniel Harris and Dar Roberts) World Development, 2016, Vol. 79, pp 82-96

“The estimation of long term impacts of China’s key priority forestry programs on rural household incomes” (with Can Liu, Hao Liu, Wenqing Zhu and Qingjiao Rong) Journal of Forest Economics, 2014, Vol 20(3), pp 267-285

“Migration and Mobility on the Amazon Frontier” (with Jill Caviglia-Harris and Erin Sills), Population and Environment, 2013, Vol. 34 (3), pp 338-369.

“Participation in Payments for Ecosystem Services programs: accounting for participant heterogeneity” (with Andreas Kontoleon), Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy, 2012, Vol. 1 (3), pp 235-254.

“Forest figures: Ecosystem services valuation and policy evaluation in developing countries” (with Paul Ferraro, Kathleen Lawlor and Subhrendu Pattanayak), Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 2012, Vol. 6 (1), pp 20-44.

“Improving Household Surveys Through Computer Assisted Data Collection. Use of Touchscreen Laptops in Challenging Environments” (with Jill Caviglia-Harris, Simon Hall, Charlie MacIntyre, Simone Bauch, Daniel Harris, Erin Sills, Jeffrey Dawson, Brian Klitch, Dar Roberts, Michael Toomey, Hoon Cha),  Field Methods, 2012, Vol. 24, pp 74-94.

“Land tenure arrangements and rural-urban migration in China” (with Pauline Grosjean and Andreas Kontoleon), World Development, 2011, Vol. 39(1), pp123-133.

Home Department

Department of Economics 

Area of Expertise

Applied Econometrics; Development Economics; Environmental Economics

Food Energy Water Focus

Environmental economics; sustainable development

UM Bridges Department

UM Economics