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Patricia A. Champ

Patricia A. Champ


240 West Prospect Road
Fort Collins, CO 80526
Contact Patricia A. Champ

Current Research

My research focuses on three broad areas: Economic Valuation Methods, Economic and Social Analysis of Natural Hazards (wildfire, invasive species and climate change), and Measurement of Public Preferences, Attitudes and Behaviors. Within the realm of economic valuation methods, I largely focus on nonmarket valuation. I have conducted many studies to investigate the validity of nonmarket valuation techniques. I have also been involved in nonmarket valuation applications to investigate a wide range of environmental questions. For example, I have recently conducted a series of studies that consider different nonmarket valuation approaches to measuring the economic costs associated with exposure to wildfire smoke. In addition to nonmarket valuation, I am interested in how and why humans adapt to natural hazards. I also focus on survey research techniques for measuring preferences and attitudes.

Research Interests

My interests include validity issues associated with nonmarket valuation methods, survey research issues, allocation mechanisms for recreational opportunities on public lands, and issues associated with institutional arrangements and incentives. Economic valuation of natural resources. Environmental, economic, and institutional aspects of water resource management.

Past Research

Management for the 'greatest good for the greatest number in the long run' requires knowledge about what the 'greatest good' is. In the context of managing environmental amenities, many of the benefits are not captured in markets. Therefore nonmarket valuation is essential to understand how management decisions affect the public or how costs compare to benefits. This notion is evident in the increased focus on valuing ecosystem services. Research on nonmarket valuation is essential to improve our understanding of public preferences related to management of environmental amenities. Much of my research has investigated approaches to improivng the validity of nonmarket valuation techniques. In the context of applications, I have conducted studies that involved valuation of a wide variety of environmental goods and services from endangered species to health effects of wildfire smoke exposure. Another research focus has been on natural hazards. My research aims to provide an understanding of the human/natural hazard nexus in an effort to develop information that can be used to develop better programs and policies.

Why This Research is Important

My past research includes: 1) a series of studies on the validity of nonmarket valuation techniques. 2) an edited book (A Primer on Nonmarket Valuation) that is one of the few books on nonmarket valuation that is accessible to a broad audience. 3) A suite of studies on wildfire and homeowners living in the wildland urban interface.


  • University of Wisconsin, B.A., Economics and International Relations, 1984
  • University of Wisconsin, M.A., Economics, 1987
  • University of Wisconsin, Ph.D., Agricultural and Applied Economics, 1994
  • Featured Publications


    Byerly, Hilary; Meldrum, James R.; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Champ, Patricia A.; Gomez, Jamie; Falk, Lilia; Barth, Chris, 2020. Developing behavioral and evidence-based programs for wildfire risk mitigation
    Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Champ, Patricia A.; Riley, Jonathan; Barth, Christopher M.; Donovan, Colleen; Meldrum, James R.; Wagner, Carolyn, 2020. Living with wildfire in the Squilchuck Drainage-Chelan County, Washington: 2020 data report
    Meldrum, James R.; Champ, Patricia A.; Bond, Craig; Schoettle, Anna W., 2020. Paired stated preference methods for valuing management of white pine blister rust: Order effects and outcome uncertainty
    Champ, Patricia A.; Meldrum, James R.; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Warziniack, Travis; Barth, Christopher M.; Falk, Lilia C.; Gomez, Jamie B., 2019. Do actions speak louder than words? Comparing the effect of risk aversion on objective and self-reported mitigation measures
    Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Meldrum, James R.; Wilson, Pamela; Champ, Patricia A.; Barth, Christopher M.; Boag, Angela, 2019. Living with Wildfire in Montezuma County, Colorado: 2015 Data Report
    Meldrum, James R.; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Wilson, Pamela; Champ, Patricia A.; Barth, Christopher M.; Boag, Angela, 2019. Living with wildfire in Archeluta County, Colorado: 2015 data report
    Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Meldrum, James R.; Wilson, Pamela; Champ, Patricia A.; Barth, Christopher M.; Boag, Angela, 2019. Living with wildfire in La Plata County, Colorado: 2015 data report
    Warziniack, Travis; Champ, Patricia A.; Meldrum, James; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Barth, Christopher M.; Falk, Lilia C., 2018. Responding to risky neighbors: Testing for spatial spillover effects for defensible space in a fire-prone WUI community
    Meldrum, James R.; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Champ, Patricia A.; Falk, Lilia; Wilson, Pamela; Barth, Christopher M., 2018. Wildland-urban interface residents’ relationships with wildfire: Variation within and across communities
    Meldrum, James R.; Falk, Lilia C.; Gomez, Jamie; Barth, Christopher M.; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Warziniack, Travis; Champ, Patricia A., 2017. Living with wildfire in Telluride Fire Protection District, Colorado
    Miller, Sue; Schoettle, Anna W.; Burns, Kelly; Sniezko, Richard; Champ, Patricia A., 2017. Preempting the pathogen: Blister rust and proactive management of high-elevation pines
    Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Meldrum, James R.; Champ, Patricia A.; Barth, Christopher M., 2017. Where you stand depends on where you sit: Qualitative inquiry into notions of fire adaptation
    Champ, Patricia A.; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah, 2016. Is seeing believing? Perceptions of wildfire risk over time
    Kochi, Ikuho; Champ, Patricia A.; Loomis, John B.; Donovan, Geoffrey H., 2016. Valuing morbidity effects of wildfire smoke exposure from the 2007 Southern California wildfires
    Dickinson, Katherine; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Champ, Patricia A.; Flores, Nicholas, 2015. Catching fire? Social interactions, beliefs, and wildfire risk mitigation behaviors
    Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Meldrum, James R.; Champ, Patricia A., 2015. Climate change beliefs and hazard mitigation behaviors: Homeowners and wildfire risk
    Meldrum, James R.; Barth, Christopher M.; Colter Falk, Lilia; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Warziniack, Travis; Champ, Patricia A., 2015. Living with wildfire in Delta County, Colorado: cross-community comparisons
    Meldrum, James R.; Champ, Patricia A.; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Warziniack, Travis; Barth, Christopher M.; Falk, Lilia C., 2015. Understanding gaps between the risk perceptions of wildland-urban interface (WUI) residents and wildfire professionals
    Gebert, Krista; Jones, Greg; Champ, Patricia A.; Czaja, Mike; Oliver, Chuck; Cruz, Paul E.; Clement, Jessica, 2014. Beetles among us: Social and economic impacts of the MPB epidemic [Chapter 6]
    Meldrum, James R.; Champ, Patricia A.; Warziniack, Travis; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Barth, Christopher M.; Falk, Lilia C., 2014. Cost shared wildfire risk mitigation in Log Hill Mesa, Colorado: Survey evidence on participation and willingness to pay
    Hines, Sarah; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Champ, Patricia A.; Joyce, Linda A.; Robichaud, Pete R.; Ryan-Burkett, Sandra E., 2014. Our relationship with a dynamic landscape: Understanding the 2013 Northern Colorado Flood
    Miller, Sue; Champ, Patricia A.; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah, 2013. Fire on the mountain: What motivates homeowners to reduce their wildfire risk?
    Maher, Kimberley; Little, Joseph; Champ, Patricia A., 2013. Insights from a harvest trip model for non-timber forest products in the interior of Alaska
    Meldrum, James R.; Barth, Christopher M.; Falk, Lilia Colter; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Warziniack, Travis; Champ, Patricia A., 2013. Living with wildfire in Log Hill Mesa, Colorado
    Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Dickinson, Katherine L.; Champ, Patricia A.; Flores, Nicholas, 2013. Social amplification of wildfire risk: The role of social interactions and information sources
    Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Champ, Patricia A.; Telligman, Amy L., 2013. Understanding change: Wildfire in Boulder County, Colorado
    Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Champ, Patricia A., 2013. Understanding change: Wildfire in Larimer County, Colorado
    Nawrotzki, Raphael J.; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Hunter, Lori M.; Champ, Patricia A., 2013. Wildfire-migration dynamics: Lessons from Colorado's Fourmile Canyon Fire
    Pitts, Heidi M.; Thacher, Jennifer A.; Champ, Patricia A.; Berrens, Robert P., 2012. A hedonic price analysis of the outfitter market for trout fishing in the Rocky Mountain West
    Ham, Charlotte; Champ, Patricia A.; Loomis, John B.; Reich, Robin M., 2012. Accounting for heterogeneity of public lands in hedonic property models
    Meyer, Kristen E.; Dwire, Kathleen A.; Champ, Patricia A.; Ryan-Burkett, Sandra E.; Riegel, Gregg M.; Burton, Timothy A., 2012. Burning questions for managers: Fuels management practices in riparian areas
    Rosenberger, Randall S.; Bell, Lauren A.; Champ, Patricia A.; Smith, Eric. L., 2012. Nonmarket economic values of forest insect pests: An updated literature review
    Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Champ, Patricia A.; Flores, Nicholas, 2012. Trying not to get burned: Understanding homeowners' wildfire risk-mitigation behaviors
    Kochi, Ikuho; Champ, Patricia A.; Loomis, John B.; Donovan, Geoffrey H., 2012. Valuing mortality impacts of smoke exposure from major southern California wildfires
    Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Champ, Patricia A., 2011. Fourmile Canyon: Living with wildfire
    Bond, Craig A.; Champ, Patricia A.; Meldrum, James; Schoettle, Anna W., 2011. Investigating the optimality of proactive management of an invasive forest pest
    Champ, Patricia A.; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Flores, Nicholas, 2011. Living with wildfire in Boulder County, Colorado, 2007
    Champ, Patricia A.; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Flores, Nicholas, 2011. Living with wildfire in Larimer County, Colorado, 2007
    Moore, Rebecca; Bishop, Richard C.; Provencher, Bill; Champ, Patricia A., 2010. Accounting for respondent uncertainty to improve willingness-to-pay estimates
    Champ, Patricia A.; Donovan, Geoffrey H.; Barth, Christopher M., 2010. Homebuyers and wildfire risk: A Colorado Springs case study
    Champ, Patricia A.; Donovan, Geoffrey H.; Barth, Christopher M., 2010. Homebuyers and wildfire risk: a Colorado Springs case study
    Bond, Craig A.; Champ, Patricia A.; Meldrum, James; Schoettle, Anna W., 2010. Proactive or reactive? Optimal management of an invasive forest pest in a spatial framework
    Champ, Patricia A.; Moore, Rebecca; Bishop, Richard C., 2009. A comparison of approaches to mitigate hypothetical bias
    Champ, Patricia A.; Donovan, Geoffrey; Barth, Christopher, 2008. Wildfire risk and home purchase decisions.
    Duffield, John W.; Neher, Chris J.; Patterson, David A.; Champ, Patricia A., 2007. Field testing existence values for riparian ecosystems
    Donovan, Geoffrey H.; Champ, Patricia A.; Butry, David T., 2007. Measuring the efficacy of a wildfire education program in Colorado Springs
    Donovan, Geoffrey H.; Champ, Patricia A.; Butry, David T., 2007. Wildfire risk and housing prices: a case study from colorado springs
    Brenkert, Hannah; Champ, Patricia A.; Flores, Nicholas, 2005. Mitigation of wildfire risk by homeowners
    Champ, Patricia A.; Flores, Nicholas E.; Brown, Thomas C.; Chivers, James, 2002. Contingent valuation and incentives
    Loomis, John B.; Peterson, George; Champ, Patricia A.; Brown, Thomas C.; Lucero, Beatrice, 1998. Paired comparison estimates of willingness to accept versus contingent valuation estimates of willingness to pay
    Champ, Patricia A.; Bishop, Richard C.; Brown, Thomas C.; McCollum, Daniel W., 1997. Using donation mechanisms to value nonuse benefits from public goods
    Brown, Thomas C.; Champ, Patricia A.; Bishop, Richard C.; McCollum, Daniel W., 1996. Which response format reveals the truth about donations to a public good?
    A drawing showing people making homes more ignition resistant, reducing fuels, and learning about risks.
    In the context of wildfire risk mitigation on private property, we used household survey data on both people’s willingness to take risks across a wide range of activities (for example, driving and financial investments) and how they would rate their property on several measures of wildfire risk (for example, amount of defensible space). We paired these responses with assessments of the same parcels conducted by a wildfire professional, then examined the relationship between risk preferences and wildfire risk mitigation using both the self-reported and objective measures.
    Wildfire in a wildland-urban interface (photo by Kari Greer)
    Motivated by the combination of high wildfire risk and the concentration of substantial social and economic values within the study area, a collaboration involving the Rocky Mountain Research Station, the Bureau of Land Management, the University of Colorado, and a local wildfire council conducted research on wildfire risk faced by wildland-urban interface homeowners in western Colorado. The unique research effort pairs parcel level wildfire risk assessments conducted by wildfire professionals with residents’ perceptions of wildfire risk.
    Water from the Big Thompson River washes through a wide landscape in Johnstown, CO (photo by Jenny Sparks, Loveland Reporter-Herald).
    In September 2013, the Colorado Front Range underwent catastrophic flooding during a week-long rain event when 8 to 18 inches of rain fell over the mountain front and neighboring plains. The flood caused considerable damage to property and infrastructure over 1150 square miles, including substantial portions of the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest. 
    Homeowners who choose to build or buy homes in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) are sometimes viewed as irresponsible for expecting their homes to be protected by government firefighters when a wildfire breaks out, or for counting on their insurance companies to cover any property losses. But is this really a fair assessment?
    RMRS and partners have developed a strategy to sustain healthy high elevation pine populations and mitigate the impact of invasion by the non-native pathogen that causes the lethal disease white pine blister rust. This approach provides the science foundation for proactive management.