Chuan Tang


I am an Environmental Economist and Data Scientist. I am currently working as a Global Environmental Data Scientist at Bayer CropScience (St. Louis, U.S.). I have been engaged in a wide range of economic research projects related to natural resources, energy infrastructure, public land designation, and national land conservation practices. Feel free to get in touch with any questions!

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Featured Research

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Mercury Pollution, Information, and Property Values

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management

In the State of New York, atmospheric deposition of mercury ranks among the 10 most prevalent causes of adverse impacts on water quality. This paper examines the impacts of mercury pollution by exploring the relationship between property values and fish consumption advisory (FCA) designation on New York lakes. We find that New York State property values within one mile of an FCA-designated lake decrease by 6 to 7 percent on average. This negative impact decreases as the distance between properties and lakes increases. Regressions using samples derived with Mahalanobis metric matching find an even larger FCA effect, ranging from 7 to 10 percent. Our results can serve as a partial indication of the benefits of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), which includes the first mercury emission standard in the United States.

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Economic Benefits of Nitrogen Reductions in Iowa

Iowa agriculture provides tremendous benefits to the state, national, and global economy. The intense nature of the state’s agricultural activities is not without cost. Agricultural industry is a large contributor to water quality problems both within the state as well as in downstream rivers, streams, and the Gulf of Mexico. This research encompasses the most updated knowledge and economic analysis of nitrate pollution in the State of Iowa, including treatment costs and human health impacts associated with nitrate in drinking water as well as recreational benefits of improved water quality of Iowan lakes.


Media Coverage: Drovers; The Gazette; The Progressive Farmer

Image Credit: Gozo News
Image Credit: Jacques Boissinot

Rail Accidents and Property Values in a Production Era of Unconventional Energy

This paper evaluates the implicit cost of train derailments involving hazardous materials using property values as a metric. We estimate the effect of 33 derailments on property values in New York State between 2004 and 2013. Employing a difference-in-differences (DiD) strategy, we find that, on average, a derailment depreciates housing values by 5 to 7 percent for properties within one mile of derailment sites. The prices of affected properties return to pre-accident levels after 480 days. In addition, we find that the impacts of derailments on property values are limited to the local area. These results provide empirical evidence for evaluating transportation alternatives and policy options in the current era of U.S. energy transformation resulting in substantial increases in the rail shipment of fuels.

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Research In Progress

A multi-dimensional Valuation Indicator for Ecosystem Service Valuation

Economic valuations of ecosystem services have become a strong bond bridging natural sciences and social activities and are expected to be a key factor influencing policy decisions for coping with the accelerating degradation of ecosystem services and biodiversity. However, utilizing monetary values based exclusively on traditional economic valuation methods (people’s preferences) without input of biological perspectives would bias the actual values of ecosystem services, and eventually misguide the process of evaluating the “trade-offs” in natural resource management. In order to better inform policymakers, there is an increasing need to combine direct biophysical measurements and other ecosystem information with economic valuation to estimate the value of ecosystem services at the scale of policy decisions.

This study is aiming to develop a multi-dimensional valuation indicator to improve the evaluation of ecosystem services, which extends the boundary of traditional economic valuation work through an interdisciplinary approach. A multi-dimensional (composite) valuation indicator for ecosystem services will synthesize the non-market valuation results and information relating to social activities, environmental and biological implications.

This indicator can serve as an important communication tool that facilitates a simplification of the complexity in human-environmental systems. It will (1) provide policymakers with comprehensive information on the "total value" of particular ecosystems; (2) support policy development and priority setting, by identifying key factors that impose pressures or limits on ecosystem services; and (3) help monitor the effects of policy actions including modeling "what-if" scenarios, which will allow policy makers to evaluate the consequences of proposed changes or status quo management.

Teaching Statement

I am devoted to a teaching philosophy that maintains a dedicated, flexible, and enthusiastic mind, as well as excellent knowledge of the subject and continuous commitment for improvement. And I am committed to developing an open, inclusive class climate for students with different backgrounds. Problems related to the environment, economics and policy are complex and changing. A “Silver-bullet” solution is normally unavailable in terms of environmental issues. My diverse research experiences and background allows me to guide my students to view and to understand environmental issues from different lenses.

I am enthusiastic about instructing and working with students, and I have experience in teaching and mentoring both undergraduate and graduate students from various backgrounds. I have designed and taught BY610 Ecological Statistics & Experimental Design with Dr. Tom Langen and EV610 Interdiscplinary Seminar Course for Grad Students. I have also served as mentor for undergraduate students from Middlebury College and Edgewood College in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. I am also a guest speaker of Econ 581 Advanced Environmental Economics at Iowa State University.

Additionally, I have been invited to give lectures on my research to the general public, stakeholders, and policymakers, including presentations at Iowa Learning Farms and the Iowa Watershed Planning Advisory Council.

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