Economics ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-17-2017


This dissertation examines spatial and temporal impacts of natural resource use. The second chapter integrates hydrological and economic systems to examine the impact of drought on these two systems and explores the spatial impact of policies aimed to mitigate the drought impact. The systems dynamics model developed for this chapter simultaneously considers the physical hydrology in the Middle Rio Grande water basin in New Mexico, the engineered water management system, and a behavioral model of residential water demand for three cities: Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The simulation results showed that droughts that occur in later periods, when there are larger populations, have more substantial impacts. Later and longer drought increases per capita water consumption, reduces aquifer volume, and in general reduces river flow. However, increased public awareness can outweigh the stress on water resources due to population growth. Furthermore, increased awareness and decreased population in one city results in to decreased groundwater pumping costs in another city. The third chapter utilizes survey-based contingent evaluation data to investigate public support among urban Albuquerque, NM households for restoration of a watershed that impacts the urban water supply security, but is spatially removed from the urban area. Econometric results show evidence of both significant public support for forest restoration and the importance of accounting for respondent uncertainty. Econometric estimation results indicate that even if people live in a distant area they are willing to pay for forest restoration. The fourth chapter examines the tradeoff between natural resource development and ecosystem services. The model developed in this chapter is within the system dynamics framework but integrates spatial information too. A hypothetical example is undertaken for the Piceance Basin in Colorado that simultaneously estimates the economic benefits from unconventional natural gas production and the impacts of this land use change on the collocated Mule Deer and fish population and competing direct and consumptive uses of nearby water supplies. Simulation results show that mineral development simultaneously produces private benefit through the sale of produced mineral and social cost through the degraded ecological services. Price uncertainty further aggravates the problem.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Economics

First Committee Member (Chair)

Janie M. Chermak

Second Committee Member

Robert P. Berrens

Third Committee Member

Jennifer A. Thacher

Fourth Committee Member

Richard L. Bernknopf

Fifth Committee Member

Vincent C. Tidwell




Natural resource economics, drought, system dynamics, water, spatial impact, non-market valuation

Document Type



It was not possible to include the name of the sixth member of the dissertation committee due to some technical problem. The sixth member of my dissertation committee is:

Craig D Broadbent