Faculty Biography

Robert Johnston

Robert Johnston, Ph.D.

Professor of Economics
Department of Economics
Director and Research Professor
The George Perkins Marsh Institute
Clark University
Worcester, MA 01610-1477

Phone: 508.751.4619
Fax: 508.751.4600
Email: rjohnston@clarku.edu

Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Johnston received a B.A. from Williams College in 1990 and a Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island in 1996. He has been at Clark since 2008.

Current Research Interests

Professor Johnston's research interests include economic valuation, benefit transfer and ecosystem services, with an emphasis on aquatic, riparian and coastal systems. His recent work has focused on topics such as the economic value of water quality improvements, marine plastics, the economics of coastal vulnerability and adaptation (e.g., to sea level rise and coastal flooding), and the coordination of economic and ecological models to value aquatic, riparian and coastal ecostystem services.  He is the editor of the journal Resource Energy Economics and Chair of Clark University's Institutional Review Board (IRB). In additional to his grant-funded research, Johnston works closely with international organizations, government agencies and non-profit organizations to assist in the use of economic information to guide environmental and natural resource decisions.  He serves on the Steering Committee and Science Advisory Board of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, and the Senior Advisory Board of the Connecticut Sea Grant Program.  He is a past member of the US EPA Science Advisory Board and chair of the Ecosystem Science and Management Working Group of NOAA Scientific Advisory Board.  He has also served on multiple National Research Council Panels for the National Academy of Sciences addressing environmental and natural resource issues.  His publications place him among the top 6% of economists worldwide according to the REPEC (Research Papers in Economics) database ranking.

Selected Publications

Johnston, R.J., T. Ndebele and D.A. Newburn. 2022.  Modeling Transaction Costs in Household Adoption of Landscape Conservation Practices. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, https://doi.org/10.1111/ajae.12319.

Duke, J.M., R.J. Johnston, A.L. Shober  and Z. Liu. 2022.  Improving Targeting of Farmers for Enrollment in Agri-Environmental Programs. Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1002/aepp.13227.

Duke, J.M., A. L. Shober, R.J. Johnston and Z. Liu. 2022.  Barriers to Cover Crop Adoption:  Evidence from Parallel Surveys in Maryland and Ohio. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 77(2) 198-211.

Gardner, G. and R.J. Johnston. 2021.  Is Shoreline Armoring a Response to Marsh Migration?  Modeling Relationships Between Coastal Marshes and Private Adaptation Decision. Water Resources and Economics 36:100187.

Gardner, G. and R.J. Johnston. 2021. The Determinants of Shoreline Armoring and Potential Implications for Salt Marsh Persistence. Global Water Forum, December 8, https://globalwaterforum.org/2021/12/08/the-determinants-of-shoreline-armoring-and-potential-implicaionts-for-salt-marsh-persistence/.

Johnston,  R.J., K.J. Boyle, M.L. Loureiro, S. Navrud and J. Rolfe. 2021.  Guidance to Enhance the Validity and Credibility of Environmental Benefit Transfers.  Environmental and Resource Economics 79(3): 575-624.

Newbold, S.C. and R.J. Johnston.  2020.  Valuing Non-market Valuation Studies Using Meta-Analysis:  A Demonstration Using Estimates of Willingness-to-Pay for Water Quality Improvements.  Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 104: 102379.

Vedogbeton, H. and R.J. Johnston.  2020.  Commodity Consistent Meta-Analysis of Wetland Values:  An Illustration for Coastal Marsh Habitat.  Environmental and Resource Economics 75(4): 835-865.

Gardner, G. and R.J. Johnston. 2020.  What Does it Cost to Ensure Salt Marsh Migration?  Using Hedonic Modeling to Inform Cost-Effective Conservation.  Journal of Environmental Management 262: 110262.

Johnston, R.J. and E. Zawojska.  2020. Relative versus Absolute Commodity Measurements in Benefit Transfer:  Consequences for Validity and Reliability.  American Journal of Agricultural Economics 102(4): 1245-1270.

Glenk, K., R.J. Johnston, J. Meyerhoff and J. Sagebiel.  2020. Spatial Dimensions of Stated Preference Valuation in Environmental and Resource Economics:  Methods, Trends and Challenges.  Environmental and Resource Economics 75(2): 215-242.

Johnston, R.J. and D.M. Bauer. 2020. Using Meta-Analysis for Large-Scale Ecosystem Service Valuation:  Progress, Prospects and Challenges. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 49(1): 23-63.

Rogers, A.A., F. Dempster, J.I. Hawkins, R.J. Johnston, P.C. Boxall, J. Rolfe, M.E. Kragt, M.P. Burton and D. J. Pannell. 2019. Valuing Non-Market Economic Impacts from Natural Hazards: A Review.  Natural Hazards 99: 1131-1161.

Hatton MacDonald, D.J.M. Rose, R.J. Johnston, R.H. Bark and J. Pritchard. 2019. Managing Groundwater in a Mining Region: An Opportunity to Compare Best-Worst and Referendum Data. Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics. 63: 897-921.

Duran Vinent, O., R.J. Johnston, M. Kirwan, A. Leroux and V. Martin. 2019. Coastal Dynamics and Adaptation to Uncertain Sea Level Rise:  Optimal Portfolios for Salt Marsh Migration. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 98: 102262.

Johnston, R.J. and K. Moeltner. 2019. Special Flood Hazard Effects on Coastal and Interior Home Values:  One Size Does Not Fit All.  Environmental and Resource Economics 74(1): 181-210.

Jensen, A.K., R.J. Johnston and S. B. Olsen. 2019. Does One Size Really Fit All?  Ecological Endpoint Heterogeneity in Stated Preference Welfare Analysis.  Land Economics 95(3): 307-332.

Johnston, R.J., E.Y. Besedin and B.M. Holland.  2019.  Modeling Distance Decay within Valuation Meta-Analysis.  Environmental and Resource Economics 72(3): 657-690.

Yao, L., J. Deng, R.J. Johnston, I. Khan and M. Zhao.  2018.  Evaluating Willingness to Pay for the Temporal Distribution of Different Air Quality Improvements:  Is China's Clean Air Target Adequate to Ensure Welfare Maximization?  Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics 67(2): 215-232.

Johnston, R.J., J. Rolfe and E. Zawojska.  2018.  Benefit Transfer of Environmental and Resource Values:  Progress, Prospects and Challenges.  International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics 12(2-3): 177-266.

Johnston, R.J., C. Makriyannis and A.W. Whelchel.  2018.  Using Ecosystem Service Values to Evaluate Tradeoffs in Coastal Hazard Adaptation.  Coastal Management 46(4): 259-277.

Olander, L.P., R.J. Johnston, H. Tallis, J. Kagan, L.A. Maguire, S. Polasky, D. Urban, J. Boyd, L. Wainger and M. Palmer.  2018.  Benefit Relevant Indicators:  Ecosystem Services Measures that Link Ecological and Social Outcomes.  Ecological Indicators 85: 1262-1272.

Makryiyannis, C., R.J. Johnston and A.W. Whelchel, 2018.  Are Choice Experiment Treatments of Outcome Uncertainty Sufficient?  An Application to Climate Risk Reductions.  Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 47(3): 419-451.

Olander, L., S., Polasky, J. Kagan, R.J. Johnston, L. Wainger, D. Saah, L. Maguire, J. Biyd and D. Yoskowitz.  2017. So You Want Your Research to be Relevant?  Building the Bridge between Ecosystem Services Research and Practice. Ecosystem Services 26(A): 170-182.

Uchida, H., C.A. Roheim and R.J. Johnston. 2017.  Balancing the Health Risks and Benefits of Seafood:  How Does Available Guidance Affect Consumer Choices?  American Journal of Agricultural Economics  99(4): 1056-1077.

Bauer, D.M., S.K. Swallow, P. Liu and R.J. Johnston.  2017.  Do Exurban Communities Want More Development? Journal of Land Use Science 12(5):  351-374.

Holland, B.M. and R.J. Johnston.  2017.  Optimized Quantity-within-Distance Models of Spatial Welfare Heterogeneity.  Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 85:  110-129.

Johnston, R.J. and A.S. Abdulrahman.  2017.  Systematic Non-Response in Discrete Choice Experiments: Implications for the Valuation of Climate Risk Reductions.  Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy 6(3): 246-267.

Johnston, R.J., K.J. Boyle, W. Adamowicz, J. Benett, R. Brouwer, T.A. Cameron, W.M. Hanemann, N. Hanley, M. Ryan, R. Scarpa, R. Tourangeau and C.A. Vossler.  2017.  Contemporary Guidance for Stated Preference Studies. Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists 4(2):  219-405.

Johnston, R.J., E.T. Schultz, K. Segerson, E.Y. Besedin and M. Ramachandran. 2017. Biophysical Causality and Environmental Preference Elicitation:  Evaluating the Validity of Welfare Analysis over Intermediate Outcomes.  American Journal of Agricultural Economics 99(1):  163-185.

Johnston, R.J., E.Y. Besedin and R. Stapler. 2017.  Enhanced Geospatial Validity for Meta-Analysis and Environmental Benefit Transfer:  An Application to Water Quality Improvements.  Environmental and Resource Economics 68(2): 343-375.

Boyd, J., P. Ringold, A. Krupnick, R.J. Johnston, M.A. Weber and K. Hall.  2016.  Ecosystem Services Indicators:  Improving the Linkage Between Biophysical and Economic Analyses.  International Review of Environmnental and Resource Economics 8: 359-443.

Johnston, R.J., B.M. Holland and L. Yao. 2016.  Individualized Geocoding in Stated preference Questionnaires:  Inplications for Survey Design and Welfare Estimation.  Land Economics 92(4):  737-759.

Johnston, R.J., J. Rolfe, R.S. Rosenberger and R. Brouwer, eds. 2015. Benefit Transfer of Environmental and Resource Values: A Guide for Researchers and Practitioners. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer.

Rolfe, J., R.J. Johnston, R.S. Rosenberger and R. Brouwer. 2015. Introduction: Benefit Transfer of Environmental and Resource Values, chapter 1 in R.J. Johnston, J. Rolfe, R.S. Rosenberger and R. Brouwer, eds. Benefit Transfer of Environmental and Resource Values: A Guide for Researchers and Practitioners. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer, pp. 163-189.

Johnston, R.J., J. Rolfe, R.S. Rosenberger and R. Brouwer. 2015. Introduction to Benefit Transfer Methods, chapter 2 in R.J. Johnston, J. Rolfe, R.S. Rosenberger and R. Brouwer, eds. Benefit Transfer of Environmental and Resource Values: A Guide for Researchers and Practitioners.  Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer.

Rolfe, J., J. Windle and R.J. Johnston. 2015. Applying Benefit Transfer with Limited Data: Unit Value Transfers in Practice, chapter 8 in R.J. Johnston, J. Rolfe, R.S. Rosenberger and R. Brouwer, eds. Benefit Transfer of Environmental and Resource Values: A Guide for Researchers and Practitioners. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer.

Johnston, R.J., M. Ramachandran and G.R. Parsons. 2015. Benefit Transfer Combining Revealed and Stated Preference Data, chapter 9 in R.J. Johnston, J. Rolfe, R.S. Rosenberger and R. Brouwer, eds. Benefit Transfer of Environmental and Resource Values: A Guide for Researchers and Practitioners. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer.

Johnston, R.J. and L.A. Wainger. 2015. Benefit Transfer for Ecosystem Service Valuation: An Introduction to Theory and Methods, chapter 12 in R.J. Johnston, J. Rolfe, R.S. Rosenberger and R. Brouwer, eds. Benefit Transfer of Environmental and Resource Values: A Guide for Researchers and Practitioners.  Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer.

Rolfe, J., R. Brouwer and R.J. Johnston. 2015. Meta-analysis: Rationale, Issues and Applications, chapter 16 in R.J. Johnston, J. Rolfe, R.S. Rosenberger and R. Brouwer, eds. Benefit Transfer of Environmental and Resource Values: A Guide for Researchers and Practitioners. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer.

Johnston, R.J., R.S. Rosenberger, J. Rolfe and R. Brouwer. 2015. Benefit Transfer: The Present State and Future Prospects, chapter 24 in R.J. Johnston, J. Rolfe, R.S. Rosenberger and R. Brouwer, eds. Benefit Transfer of Environmental and Resource Values: A Guide for Researchers and Practitioners. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer.

Duke, J.M., S.J. Dundas, R.J. Johnston and K.D. Messer. 2015. The Effect of Spatial Interdependencies on Prioritization and Payments for Environmental Services. Land Use Policy 48: 341-350.

Johnston, R.J., D. Jarvis, K. Wallmo and D. Lew. 2015. Multi-Scale Spatial Pattern in Nonuse Willingness to Pay: Applications to Threatened and Endangered Marine Species. Land Economics 91(4): 739-761.

Duke, J.M., S.J. Dundas, R.J. Johnston and K.D. Messer. 2014. Prioritizing Payment for Environmental Services: Using Nonmarket Benefits and Costs for Optimal Selection. Ecological Economics 105: 319-329

Johnston, R.J. and M. Ramachandran. 2014. Modeling Spatial Patchiness and Hot Spots in Stated Preference Willingness to Pay. Environmental and Resource Economics 59(3): 363-387.

Johnston, R.J., and K. Moeltner. 2014. Meta-Modeling and Benefit Transfer: The Empirical Relevance of Source-Consistency in Welfare Measures. Environmental and Resource Economics 59(3): 337-361.

Committee on Evaluating the Effectiveness of Stock Rebuilding Plans of the 2006 Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act (Parma, A.M., P.J. Sullivan, J. Collie, T.W. Hartley, W. Heyman, R.J. Johnston, A.E. Punt, K.A. Rose, J. Sanchirico, M.P. Sissenwine and G. Sugihara). 2014. Evaluating the Effectiveness of Fish Stock Rebuilding Plans in the United States. Ocean Studies Board, Division on Earth and Life Studies, National Research Council of the National Academies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Johnston, R.J., J. Sanchirico and D.S. Holland. 2014. Measuring Social Value and Human Well-Being, in Bowen, R.E., M.H. Depledge, C.P. Carlarne and L.E. Fleming, eds. Oceans and Human Health: Social Implications and Well-Being. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell.

Johnston, R.J., S.K. Swallow, D.M. Bauer and E. Uchida. 2014. Connecting Ecosystem Services to Land Use: Implications for Valuation and Policy, chapter 8 in J.M. Duke and J. Wu, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Land Economics. Oxford University Press, pp. 196-225.

Zhao, M., R.J. Johnston and E.T. Schultz. 2013. What to Value and How? Ecological Indicator Choices in Stated Preference Valuation. Environmental and Resource Economics 56(1): 3-25.

Stanley, T.D., H. Doucouliagos, M. Giles, J.H. Heckemeyer, R.J. Johnston, P. Laroche, J.P. Nelson, M. Paldam, J. Poot, G. Pugh, R.S. Rosenberger and K. Rost. 2013. Meta-Analysis of Economics Reporting Guidelines. Journal of Economic Surveys 27(2): 390-394.

Bauer, D.M. and R.J. Johnston. 2013. The Economics of Rural and Agricultural Ecosystem Services: Purism versus Practicality. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 42(1): iii-xv.

Johnston, R.J., E.T. Schultz, K. Segerson, E.Y. Besedin and M. Ramachandran. 2013. Stated Preferences for Intermediate versus Final Ecosystem Services: Disentangling Willingness to Pay for Omitted Ecological Outcomes. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 42(1): 98-118.

Rosenberger, R.S. and R.J. Johnston. 2013 Benefit Transfer, in J. Whitehead and T. Haab, eds. Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO Inc.

Johnston, R.J. 2013. Ecosystem Services, in J. Whitehead and T. Haab, eds. Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO Inc.

Johnston, R.J. and R.S. Rosenberger. 2013. Meta-Analysis, in J. Whitehead and T. Haab, eds. Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: An Enclyclopedia. ABC-CLIO Inc.

Rosenberger R.S. and R.J. Johnston. 2013. Benefit Transfer, in J.F. Shogren, ed. Encyclopedia of Energy, Natural Resource, and Environmental Economics, Vol. 3, pp. 327-333. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Tyrrell, T.J. and R.J. Johnston. 2013. Measuring the Performance of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, chapter 7 in L. Mook, ed. Accounting for the Social Value, University of Toronto Press, pp. 167-186.

Londoño, L.M. and R.J. Johnston. 2012. Enhancing the Reliability of Benefit Transfer Over Heterogeneous Sites: A Meta-Analysis of International Coral Reef Values. Ecological Economics 78(1): 80-89.

Duke, J.M., A.M. Borchers, R.J. Johnston and S. Chatterson. 2012. Sustainable Agricultural Management Contracts: Using Choice Experiments to Estimate the Benefits of Land Preservation and Conservation Practices. Ecological Economics 74(1): 95-103.

Schultz, E.T., R.J. Johnston, K. Segerson and E.Y. Besedin. 2012. Integrating Ecology and Economics for Restoration: Using Ecological Indicators in Valuation of Ecosystem Services. Restoration Ecology 20(3): 304-310.

Johnston, R.J., E.T. Schultz, K. Segerson, E.Y. Besedin and M. Ramachandran. 2012. Enhancing the Content Validity of Stated Preference Valuation: The Structure and Function of Ecological Indicators. Land Economics 88(1): 102-120.

Tyrrell, T.J. and R.J. Johnston. 2012. The Rocket Science of Sustainable Tourism. Tourism Analysis 17(3): 371-376.

Johnston, R.J. and J.C. Bergstrom. 2011. Valuing Farmland Protection: Does Policy Guidance Depend on the Econometric Fine Print? Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy 33(4): 639-660.

Johnston, R.J. and M. Russell. 2011. An Operational Structure for Clarity in Ecosystem Service Values. Ecological Economic 70(12): 2243-2249.

Johnston, R.J., K. Segerson, E.T. Schultz, E.Y. Besedin and M. Ramachandran. 2011. Indices of Biotic Integrity in Stated Preference Valuation of Aquatic Ecosystem Services. Ecological Economics 70(11): 1946-1956.

Roheim, C.R., R.J. Johnston and S. Tuler. 2011. Long-Term Health Effects, Risk Perceptions, and Implications for Agricultural Markets: Modeling Consumption Patterns for Aquacultured Seafood. Journal of Food Distribution Research 42(1): 135-36.

Tyrrell, T.J. and R.J. Johnston. 2011. A Spatial Extension to a Framework for Assessing Direct Economic Impacts of Tourist Events, in S.J. Page and J. Connell, eds. Handbook of Events. Routledge Publishers.

Tyrrell, T.J. and R.J. Johnston. 2011. The Role of Tourism in Sustainable Communities, Chapter 32 in M. Uysal, R.R. Perdue and M.J. Sirgy, eds. Handbook of Tourism and Quality-of-Life (QOL) Research: The Missing Links, Springer.

Johnston, R.J., E.T. Schultz, K. Segerson and E.Y. Besedin. 2011. Bioindicator-Based Stated Preference Valuation for Aquatic Habitat and Ecosystem Service Restoration, in J. Bennett, ed. International Handbook on Non-Marketed Environmental Valuation. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, pp. 159-186.

Thomassin, P.J. and R.J. Johnston. 2011. Evaluating Benefit Transfer for Canadian Water Quality Improvements using US/Canada Metadata: An Application of International Meta-Analysis, in J. Bennett, ed. International Handbook on Non-Marketed Environmental Valuation. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, pp. 353-384.

Holland, D.S., J. Sanchirico, R.J. Johnston and D. Joglekar. 2010 Economic Analysis for Ecosystem Based Management: Applications to Marine and Coastal Environments. Washington, DC: RFF Press.

Johnston, R.J. and R.S. Rosenberger. 2010. Methods, Trends and Controversies in Contemporary Benefit Transfer. Journal of Economic Surveys 24(3): 479-510.

Johnston, R.J. and J.M. Duke. 2010. Socioeconomic Adjustments and Choice Experiment Benefit Function Transfer: Evaluating the Common Wisdom. Resource and Energy Economics 32(3): 421-438.

Johnston, R.J. and P.J. Thomassin. 2010. Willingness to Pay for Water Quality Improvements in the United States and Canada: Considering Possibilities for International Meta-Analysis and Benefit Transfer. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 39(1): 114-131.

Duke, J.M. and R.J. Johnston. 2010. Nonmarket Valuation to Urban Fringe Farm and Forest Preservation, chapter 8, in New Perspectives on Agri-Environmental Policies: A Multidisciplinary and Transatlantic Approach, eds. S. Goetz and F. Brouwer. Oxford, UK, Routledge Publishers, pp. 124-142.