Interim Chair



Sammy Zahran is Professor and Interim Chair in the Department of Economics.  Sammy is also a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology in the Colorado School of Public Health. From 2012-2014, he was Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Fellow at Columbia University.  In 2010, Sammy was awarded the prestigious Monfort Professorship at Colorado State University.  His academic writings focus on the health and human capital costs of environmental externalities.  His published research appears in Health Economics, Law and Policy, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Risk Analysis, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Ecological Economics, Environmental Science and Technology, Climatic Change, Science of the Total Environment, Environmental Research, Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, Environment International, American Journal of Public HealthInternational Journal of Epidemiology, Journal of Applied Statistics, and Economics of Transportation.


Altringer, L., Zahran, S., Shwiff, SA., Begier, MJ., Anderson, A. (2022). Spillover delay effects of damaging wildlife strike events at U.S. airports.  Economics of Transportation. 30: 100252.

Mushinski, D., Zahran, S., Fraizer, A. (2021). Physician behaviour, malpractice risk and defensive medicine: an investigation of cesarean deliveries.  Health Economics, Policy and Law. (1): 1-19.

Zahran, S., Mushinski, D., McElmurry, SP., Keyes, C. (2020). Water lead exposure risk in Flint, Michigan after switchback in water source: Implications for lead service line replacement policy.  Environmental Research. 181: 108928.

Zahran, S., Iverson, T. McElmurry, SP., Weiler, S., Levitt, R. (2019). Hidden Costs of Blight and Arson in Detroit: Evidence From a Natural Experiment in Devil's Night.  Ecological Economics. 157: 266-277.

Zahran, S., Mushinski, D., Li, HH., Breunig, I., McKee, S. (2019). Clinical Capital and the Risk of Maternal Labor and Delivery Complications: Hospital Scheduling, Timing, and Cohort Turnover Effects. Risk Analysis. 39(7): 1476-1490.

Zahran, S., McElmurry, SP, Kilgore, P., Mushinski, D., Love, N. Swanson, M. (2018). Assessment of the Legionnaires' Disease outbreak in Flint, Michigan.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 115 (8): E1730-E1739.

Zahra, S., Dong, C., Taylor, MP. (2018). The effect of contemporary mine emissions on children's blood lead levels.  Environment International.  122; 91-103.

Zahran, S., Iverson, T., McElmurry, SP., Weiler, S.  (2017). The Effect of leaded gasoline on blood lead in children. Journal of Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. 4(2): 575-610.

Zahran, S., McElmurry, SP., Sadler, R.  (2017). Four phases of the Flint water crisis: Evidence from blood lead levels in children.   Environmental Research. 157:160-172

Underwood, A., Zahran, S. (2015). The carbon implication of declining household scale economies.  Ecological Economics.  116: 182-190.

Zahran, S. et al. (2015). Stress and telomere shortening among central Indian conservation refugees.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112 (9): E928–E936.

Iverson, T., Denning, S., Zahran, S. (2015). When the long run matters: the joint effect of carbon decay and discounting.  Climatic Change. 129: 57–72.

Zahran, S., Iverson, T., Weiler, S. (2014). Evidence that the accuracy of self-reported lead emissions data improved: A puzzle and discussion.  Journal of Risk and Uncertainty. 49: 235–257.

Zahran, S., Magzamen, S., Breunig, IM, Mielke, HW.  (2014). Maternal exposure to neighborhood soil Pb and eclampsia risk in New Orleans, Louisiana (USA): Evidence from a natural experiment in flooding.  Environmental Research. 133: 274-81.

Zahran, S., Laidlaw, MAS, McElmurry, SO., Filippelli, GM., Taylor, MP. (2013). Linking source and effect: Resuspended soil lead, air lead, and children’s blood lead levels in Detroit, Michigan.  Environmental Science and Technology. 47(6): 2839-45.

Zahran, S, Breunig, IM, Link, BG, Weiler, S.  (2013). A quasi-experimental analysis of maternal altitude exposure and infant birth weight.  American Journal of Public Health. 104(1): S166–S174.

Zahran, S., D. Tavani, S. Weiler. (2013). Daily variation in natural disaster casualties: Information flows, safety, and opportunity costs  in tornado versus hurricane strikes.  Risk Analysis. 33(7): 1265-1280.


  • Econ 240 Issues in Environmental Economics


    This course is an introduction to environmental issues from an economic perspective, including: environmental valuation and risk assessment, property rights, externalities, and environmental problems, sustainable development, population growth, natural resource and environmental economics, common-pool resources, air pollution, climate change, water pollution, the economics of hazardous waste, and development economics and poverty.

  • Econ 317 Population Economics


    This course is an introduction to population issues from an economic perspective. Population issues examined include: population growth and national accounts, the demographic transition, the economic determinants of mortality and morbidity, fertility, family planning, and economic empowerment of women, age structure and the demographic dividend, the economics of family structure, and the economic sources and consequences of migration.

  • Econ 325 Health Economics


    This course is an introduction to health economics. Topics covered include: demand for health care, the Grossman model, disparities in health and the political economy of health, supply of health care (including the labor market for physicians and the hospital industry), demand for health insurance and issues of moral hazard and adverse selection, health policy (including various national models of health insurance and health care delivery), and issues in public health economics and economic epidemiology (like population aging, obesity, environmental health, and infectious diseases). The main objective of the course is to equip students with analytic tools to understand health care markets and health outcomes.

  • Econ 698 Economic Science Replication Workshop


    This course is an introduction to economic research through the replication and modest extension of a published, peer-reviewed empirical paper in economic science. The course will operate as a workshop, involving weekly roundtable progress reports, and discussions of the mechanics of replicating/doing economic research. By replicating and modestly extending a published research paper, students will learn how economic scientists develop and motivate answerable research questions, detail falsifiable hypotheses that follow logically from theory, develop strategies of data collection to quantify elements of theory, evaluate the reliability and validity of data sources used, develop strategies for assembling and cleaning datasets in preparation for econometric analyses, select econometric procedures sensitive to data structure or the measurement precision of variables toward the aims of theory testing or parameter estimation, write code and record work flow to enable replication of empirical claims, interpret data regularities to adjudicate hypotheses, develop ancillary tests to guard against hasty generalizations/conclusions, and sequentially unfold econometric results to persuade/convince the scientific community of conclusions reached.