Steven M. Smith

Associate Professor, Economics and Business
 Steven Smith


Steven M. Smith is an Associate Professor of Economics and Business. He joined the Mines faculty in 2017 following a post-doctoral fellowship at Haverford College. His research focuses on how society determines the governance of natural resources and the implications of those governance structures. Water is frequently a central feature of the research. Accordingly, he is also an Affiliate Faculty of the Hydrologic Sciences and Engineering Program at Mines.



  • Ph.D., Economics, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2014
  • M.A., Economics, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2011
  • B.A., Mathematics, DePauw University, 2007


Research Areas

  • Natural resource economics
  • Economic history
  • New institutional economics
  • Water Economics


Courses Taught

  • EBGN 409/509 Mathematical Economics
  • EBGN 434 Property Rights and Natural Resources
  • EBGN 598C Economics of Water



“Instream Flow Rights within the Prior Appropriation Doctrine: Insights from Colorado.” Natural Resources Journal. Vol. 59, No. 1 (forthcoming, 2019)

“The Role of Irrigation in the Development of Agriculture in the United States.” (with Eric Edwards) Journal of Economic History. Vol. 78, No. 4 (December, 2018)

“Economic Incentives and Crowding-in Social Norms in a Groundwater Commons.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. Vol. 90 (July 2018)

“From Decentralized to Centralized Irrigation Management.” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. Vol. 151 (July 2018)

“Wealth and the Distribution of Benefits from Tropical Forests: Implications for REDD+.” (with Krister Andersson, Lee J. Alston, Amy Duchelle, Esther Mwangi, Anne Larson, Claudio de Sassi, Erin Sills, William D. Sunderlin and Grace Wong) Land Use Policy. Vol. 72 (March 2018)

“Responding to a Groundwater Crisis: The Effects of Self-Imposed Economic Incentives.” (with Krister Andersson, Kelsey Cody, Michael Cox and Darren Ficklin) Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. Vol. 4, No. 4 (December 2017) 

“Common Property Resources and New Entrants: Uncovering the Bias and Effects of New Users.” Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. Vol. 3, No. 1 (March 2016)

“Emergence of Collective Action in a Groundwater Commons: Irrigators in the San Luis Valley of Colorado.” (with Kelsey Cody, Michael Cox and Krister Andersson) Society and Natural Resources. Vol. 4, Issue 28 (April 2015)

“Payment for Environmental Services: Hypotheses and Evidence.” (with Lee J. Alston and Krister Andersson) Annual Review of Natural Resource Economics. Vol. 5. (October 2013). Earlier version published as NBER Working Paper No. 18740 (January 2013)