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Klaus Moeltner



Ph.D. Economics, University of Washington, 2000

M.A. Economics, University of Washington, 1998

M.A. International Policy Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, 1994

M.S. Environmental Planning & Engineering,

University of Agriculture and Forestry, Vienna, Austria, 1990


Academic Employment

  • Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech (current)
  • Associate Professor, Department of Resource Economics, University of Nevada, Reno (2006 –2010)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Resource Economics, University of Nevada, Reno (2000 - 2006)

Other Professional Experience

  • Visiting Scholar, Luskin Center for Innovation, School of Public Affairs, UCLA (Aug-Dec. 2010)
  • Visiting Instructor, Free University, Amsterdam (Dec. 2009)
  • Visiting Instructor, University of Innsbruck (June 2008, 2009)
  • Technical specialist, World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1994-1996


  • College of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Natural Resources (CABNR) Outstanding Instructor 2004
  • James O. York Fellowship, University of Washington, 1996
  • Scholarship for Graduate Studies Abroad, Austrian Ministry for Science and Research, 1994-1996

Courses Taught

  • AAEC/ECON 5126 -"Empirical Economics, (second semester of PhD econometrics sequence)
  • AAEC 6524 - Environmental Economic Theory and Policy
  • AAEC 6984 - Bayesian Econometric Analysis

Other Teaching and Advising

As of Spring 2012:

  • Chair for 1 MS thesis
  • Chair / Co-chair for 2 PhD dissertations
  • Committee member for 2 MS theses
  • Committee member for 7 PhD dissertation

Project 1:  Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreak and Home Values


The current outbreak of the Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) in wide parts of the American West has taken epic proportions.  In recent years, between 6 and 10 million acres of forest have been lost annually to MPB infestation.  A key question for forest managers and municipal planners is how this loss in environmental quality affects home values.  Using a large data set of home sales for hundreds of western Counties and state-of-the art property valuation techniques, the objective of this project is to provide estimates of past, current, and future home value losses due to the outbreak.

In this year of the project we are focusing on the Colorado Front Range, one of the most heavily affected areas. We find strong evidence that the MPB has caused millions of dollars worth of damages due to declining property values over the last few years. Given the irreversibility of the infestation and the long-term nature of the inflicted forest damages, this has widespread public finance implications for selected communities.

AAEC Collaborators:

Kevin Boyle (faculty), Jed Cohen (graduate student)

Project 2: Residential outdoor water use


We manage several ongoing projects in the Reno / NV area on residential water use and conservation. For example, we are interested to see if households that receive different types of appeal letters for conservation reduce outdoor irrigation. How long does the effect last? We also want to know if there are "spillover" effects - do their neighbors also react to those letters, even though they themselves did not receive one? This can inform the local utility on the optimal design and net benefits of this kind of outreach.

Another research question is if the officially mandate watering schedule (example: Wednesday, Saturday) induces wasteful behavior as households are forced to ignore time-varying adverse conditions such as high winds. Should households be allowed to pick their own watering days?

Furthermore, we are interested in how membership in a Home Owners' Association (HOA), which generally have their own regulations on landscaping, affects water use. Are HOA members more likely to over-water to keep their lawns green? Are they more likely to follow the official watering rules (the "police-thy-neighbor" effect) or less likely (the "keep lawns green at all cost" effect? This will tell us if HOA-internal regulations may be undermining the official  watering rules issued by the local utility.

Another, related, project looks at the role of length of local residence on watering behavior. Are newcomers more or less likely to conserve water and follow the official watering rules? Does it matter where they moved from? How long does it take until they "blend in"? This can provide general insight in household adaptation with respect to climate change.

AAEC Collaborators:

Vanessa Vinoles, Sapna Kaul (graduate students)

Project 3: Optimal labor contracts for cloud identification


Images collected through remote sensing need to be examined for cloud and cloud shadow before they can be utilized for further analysis. Given the large volume of images and the limited training and expertise needed to perform this task, we envision outsourcing this work to a global community of online cloud identifiers (CIs).  However, little is known about the productivity and quality of work that can be expected from such an arrangement. We are therefore conducting a labor experiment with VT students to see how wages, image complexity, experience, and payment scheme affect performance. This will provide insights on how to design optimal contracts when we go "global".

AAEC collaborators:

Kevin Boyle (faculty)

Selected recent publications

  • Kobayashi, M., K. Moeltner, K. Rollins, (2012). Latent Thresholds Analysis of Choice Data under Value Uncertainty. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 94(1), p. 189-208
  • Moeltner K., R. von Haefen, (2011).  Microeconometric Strategies for Dealing with Unobservables and Endogenous Variables in Recreation Demand Models.  Annual Review of Resource Economics, 3, p.375-396
  • Dekker T., R, Brouwer, M. Hofkes, K. Moeltner, (2011). The Effect of Risk Context on the Value of a Statistical Life: A Bayesian Meta-model. Environmental and Resource Economics, 49, p.597-624
  • Moeltner, K., J. S. Shonkwiler, (2010). Intercept and Recall: Examining Avidity Carryover in On-Site Collected Trip Reports. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 15(7), p.418-427
  • Davis A., K. Moeltner, (2010). Valuing the Prevention of an Infestation: The Threat of the New Zealand Mud Snail in Northern Nevada. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, 39 (1), p.56-74.
  • Moeltner, K., R. Johnston, R. S. Rosenberger, J. M. Duke, (2009). Benefit Transfer from Multiple Contingent Experiments: A Flexible Two Step Model Combining Individual Choice Data with Community Characteristics. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 91 (5), p. 1335-42.
  • Moeltner, K., R. Woodward (2009). Meta-Functional Benefit Transfer for Wetland Valuation: Making the Most of Small Samples. Environmental and Resource Economics, 42 (1), p. 89-109.
  • Moeltner, K., R. S. Rosenberger (2008), Meta-Regression and Benefit Transfer: Data Space, Model Space, and the Quest for 'Optimal Scope'. B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, 8 (1), Contributions.
  • Moeltner, K., K.J. Boyle, R. W. Paterson (2007). Meta-Analysis and Benefit-Transfer for Resource Valuation: Addressing Classical Challenges with Bayesian Modeling. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 53 (2), p.250 – 269.
  • Curtis, K. R., K. Moeltner, (2007). Consumer Risk Perception and Purchase Propensity for Genetically Modified Foods in Romania. Agribusiness. 23 (2), p. 263-278.
  • Curtis, K. R., K. Moeltner, (2006). Genetically Modified Food Market Participation and Consumer Risk Perceptions: A Cross-Country Comparison. Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, 54(2), p. 289-310.
  • Englin, J. E., J. McDonald, K. Moeltner, (2006). Valuing Ancient Forest Ecosystems: An Analysis of Backcountry Hiking in Jasper National Park. Ecological Economics. 57, (4), p. 665-678.
  • Moeltner, K., J. S. Shonkwiler, (2005). Correcting for On-Site Sampling in Random Utility Models. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 87(2), p. 327-339.
  • Hagerty, D., K. Moeltner, (2005). Specification of Driving Costs in Models of Recreation Demand. Land Economics, 81(1), p.127-143
  • Manley, J., G. C. van Kooten, K. Moeltner, D. W. Johnson (2005) Creating Carbon Offsets in Agriculture through Zero Tillage: A Meta-Analysis of Costs and Carbon Benefits. Climatic Change, 68, 41-65.
  • Englin, J. E., K. Moeltner, (2004). The Recreational Value of Snowfall to Skiers and Boarders. Environmental and Resource Economics, 29(1), p. 123-136..
  • Moeltner, K., J. E. Englin (2004). Choice Behavior Under Time-Variant Quality: State Dependence Versus 'Play-It-By-Ear' in Selecting Ski Resorts. Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, 22(2), p. 214-224.
  • Moeltner, K., S. Stoddard. (2004) A Panel Data Analysis of Non-Residential Customers' Water Price Responsiveness Under Block Rates, Water Resources Research, 40(1).
  • Moeltner, K. (2003) Addressing Aggregation Bias in Zonal Recreation Models. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 45(1), p.128-144.
  • Moeltner, K., C.G. van Kooten (2003). Voluntary Environmental Action and the Profit Motive: The Case of Forest Certification. Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 28(2),p. 302-315.
  • Moeltner, K., D. F. Layton. (2002). A Censored Random Coefficients Model for Pooled Survey Data with Application to the Estimation of Power Outage Costs. Review of Economics and Statistics, 84 (3), p. 552-561.

Book Chapters

  • K. Moeltner (forthcoming).  Optimal Scope and Bayesian Model Search in Benefit Transfer, in Benefit Transfer of Environmental and Resource Values:  A Handbook for Researchers and Practitioners, R. Brouwer, R. Johnston, J. Rolfe, and R. Rosenberger, eds., Springer Publishing.
  • K. Moeltner, J. J. Murphy,  J. K. Stranlund, and M.A. Velez (2011).  Institutional Heterogeneity in Social Dilemma Games: A Bayesian Examination, in Handbook on Experimental Economics and the Environment, J. List and M. Price, eds., Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Layton, D. F., K. Moeltner (2005). The Cost of Power Outages to Heterogeneous Households - An Application of the Gamma-Lognormal Distribution,  in Applications of Simulation Methods in Environmental and Resource Economics, R. Scarpa and A. Alberini, eds., Springer Publishing, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.
    Klaus Moeltner

Klaus Moeltner Vitae (PDF | 53KB)