Martin D. Smith

Martin D. Smith

George M. Woodwell Distinguished Professor of Environmental Economics

Smith studies the economics of the oceans, including fisheries, marine ecosystems, seafood markets, and coastal climate adaptation. He has written on a range of policy-relevant topics, including economics of marine reserves, seasonal closures in fisheries, ecosystem-based management, catch shares, nutrient pollution, aquaculture, genetically modified foods, the global seafood trade, organic agriculture, coastal property markets, and coastal responses to climate change. He is best known for identifying unintended consequences of marine and coastal policies that ignore human behavioral feedbacks. Smith’s methodological interests span micro-econometrics, optimal control theory, time series analysis, and numerical modeling of coupled human-natural systems. Smith’s published work appears in The American Economic Review, Nature, Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, the Review of Economics and Statistics, and a number of other scholarly journals that span environmental economics, fisheries science, marine policy, ecology, and the geo-sciences. Smith has received national and international awards, including the Quality of Research Discovery from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, Outstanding Article in Marine Resource Economics, and an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, and the Research Council of Norway. Smith has served as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Marine Resource Economics, Co-Editor of the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, and Co-Editor of the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. He served as a member of the Scientific and Statistical Committee of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and currently serves on the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies.

In The News


Smith, Martin D. “Subsidies, efficiency, and fairness in fisheries policy..” Science (New York, N.Y.) 364, no. 6435 (April 2019): 34–35.
Ferraro, Paul J., James N. Sanchirico, and Martin D. Smith. “Causal inference in coupled human and natural systems..” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 116, no. 12 (March 2019): 5311–18.
Asche, F., and M. D. Smith. “Viewpoint: Induced Innovation in Fisheries and Aquaculture.” Food Policy 76 (April 1, 2018): 1–7.
Birkenbach, Anna M., David J. Kaczan, and Martin D. Smith. “Catch shares slow the race to fish..” Nature 544, no. 7649 (April 5, 2017): 223–26.
Smith, Martin D., Atle Oglend, A Justin Kirkpatrick, Frank Asche, Lori S. Bennear, J Kevin Craig, and James M. Nance. “Seafood prices reveal impacts of a major ecological disturbance..” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114, no. 7 (February 2017): 1512–17.
Huang, L., and M. D. Smith. “The dynamic efficiency costs of common-pool resource exploitation.” American Economic Review 104, no. 12 (January 1, 2014): 3991–4026.
Smith, Martin D. “The New Fisheries Economics: Incentives Across Many Margins.” Annual Review of Resource Economics, Vol 4 4 (2012): 379-+.
Zhang, J., and M. D. Smith. “Estimation of a generalized fishery model: A two-stage approach.” Review of Economics and Statistics 93, no. 2 (2011): 690–99.
Smith, Martin D., Frank Asche, Atle G. Guttormsen, and Jonathan B. Wiener. “Food safety. Genetically modified salmon and full impact assessment..” Science 330, no. 6007 (November 19, 2010): 1052–53.
Smith, Martin D., John Lynham, James N. Sanchirico, and James A. Wilson. “Political economy of marine reserves: understanding the role of opportunity costs..” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107, no. 43 (October 26, 2010): 18300–305.
Smith, M. D., J. N. Sanchirico, and J. E. Wilen. “The economics of spatial-dynamic processes: Applications to renewable resources.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 57, no. 1 (2009): 104–21.
Smith, M. D., J. M. Slott, D. McNamara, and A. B. Murray. “Beach nourishment as a dynamic capital accumulation problem.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 58, no. 1 (2009): 58–71.

Recent Grants


ENVIRON 569: Should I Eat Fish? Economics, Ecology and Health (ENVIRON 569: Should I Eat Fish? Economics, Ecology and Health)
ECON 753: Natural Resource Economics (ECON 753: Natural Resource Economics)
ENVIRON 834S: Environmental Social Science Research Workshop (ENVIRON 834S: Environmental Social Science Research Workshop)
PUBPOL 584: Resource & Environmental Economics II (PUBPOL 584: Resource & Environmental Economics II)
ENVIRON 829: Natural Resource Economics (ENVIRON 829: Natural Resource Economics)

Contact Information

9 Circuit Drive, Grainger Hall 4116
Durham, NC 27708
Box 90328
Durham, NC 27708-0328


Ph.D., University of California at Davis (2001)
B.A., Stanford University (1992)

Additional Resources