Dr. Cobourn is a natural resource economist who specializes in identifying and understanding the linkages between natural systems and human decision making. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. Her research and teaching program advances bioeconomic modeling to explore questions that sit at the intersection of economics with diverse disciplines, including hydrology, agronomy, and entomology. Applications of her work address diverse global-change issues such as drought, invasive species spread, and water quality degradation. Current projects build on these themes to develop insight into the drivers of complex human-natural systems that affect freshwater ecosystems and global food security.
Dr. Cobourn came to Virginia Tech in 2013 from a position as Assistant Professor of Economics at Boise State University. Prior to that, she earned a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Davis and an M.S. in Resource Economics and Policy from the University of Maine. At Virginia Tech, Dr. Cobourn builds on her experience working across disciplines to teach classes in natural resource policy, water resource policy and economics, and advanced natural resource economics (with a focus on dynamic programming). She works nationally to support water research, education, and outreach on the Board of Directors for the Universities Council on Water Resources.
In the News
Recent Relevant Publications
Ward, N.K., L. Fitchett, J.A. Hart, L. Shu, J. Stachelek, W. WengG, Y. Zhang, H. Dugan, A. HetheringtonP, K.J. Boyle, C.C. Carey, K.M. Cobourn, P.C. Hanson, A.R. Kemanian, M.G. Sorice, and K.C. Weathers. 2018. Integrating economic and socio-cultural processes into coupled human-freshwater models facilitates representation of short and long-term feedbacks. Ambio, doi: 10.1007/s13280-018-1136-6.
Siriwardena, S.G, K.M. Cobourn, and G.S. Amacher. 2018. Potential for cooperative bargaining to manage the spread of emerald ash borer with mixed public and private land ownership. Journal of Forest Economics 32C: 72-83.
Cobourn, K.M., C.C. Carey, K.J. Boyle, C. Duffy, H.A. Dugan, K.J. Farrell, L. Fitchett, P.C. Hanson, J.A. Hart, V.R. Henson, A.L. HetheringtonP, A.R. Kemanian, L.G. Rudstam, L. Shu, P.A. Soranno, M.G. Sorice, J. Stachelek, N.K. Ward, K.C. Weathers, W. WengG, and Y. Zhang. 2018. From concept to practice to policy: modeling coupled natural and human systems in lake catchments. Ecosphere 9(5): e02209.
Cobourn, K.M., G.S. Amacher, and R.G. Haight. 2018. Cooperative management of invasive species: a dynamic Nash bargaining approach. Environmental and Resource Economics, doi: 10.1007/s10640-018-0238-8.
Ji, X.P, and K.M. Cobourn. 2018. The economic benefits of irrigation districts under prior appropriation doctrine: an econometric analysis of agricultural land-allocation decisions. Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, doi:10.1111/cjag.12165.