Sammy Zahran

Contact Information

Role: Faculty

Position: Professor

Department: Economics and Environmental Affairs


Sammy Zahran is an Associate Professor of Demography in the Dept of Economics.  Sammy is also an Associate Professor in the Dept 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 published research appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Risk Analysis, Journal of Risk and UncertaintyEcological Economics, Environmental Science and Technology, Climatic Change, Science of the Total EnvironmentEnvironmental Research, Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (JAERE), Environment International, American Journal of Public Health, and the International Journal of Epidemiology.



PhD, University of Tennessee


2018                     Zahran, S., McElmurry, S.P., Kilgore, P., Mushinski, D., Love, N. Swanson, M. Assessment of the Legionnaires' Disease outbreak in Flint, Michigan.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

2017                     Zahran, S., Iverson, T., McElmurry, S., Weiler, S.  The Effect of leaded gasoline on blood lead in children.  Journal of Association of Environmental and Resource Economists

2017                     Zahran, S., McElmurry, S., Sadler, R.  Four phases of the Flint water crisis: Evidence from blood lead levels in children.          Environmental Research

2015                     Underwood, A., Zahran, S. The carbon implication of declining household scale economies.  Ecological Economics

2015                     Iverson, T., Denning, S., Zahran, S. When the long run matters: the joint effect of carbon decay and discounting.  Climatic Change

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

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

2013                     Zahran, S., Laidlaw, MAS, McElmurry, S., Filippelli, GM., Taylor, M. Linking source and effect: Resuspended soil lead, air lead, and children’s blood lead levels in Detroit, Michigan.  Environmental Science and Technology.

2013                     Zahran, S, Breunig, IM, Link, BG, Weiler, S.  A quasi-experimental analysis of maternal altitude exposure to infant birth weight.  American Journal of Public Health. 

2013                     Zahran, S., D. Tavani, S. Weiler.  Daily variation in natural disaster casualties: Information flows, safety, and opportunity costs  in tornado versus hurricane strikes.  Risk Analysis



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. Course content includes: 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). 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 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 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, develop strategies for assembling and cleaning datasets in preparation for econometric analyses, select econometric procedures sensitive to data structure or the measurement precision variables toward the aims of theory testing or parameter estimation, write code and record keep workflow to enable replication of empirical claims, interpret data regularities to adjudicate hypotheses, develop ancillary tests to guard against hasty generalization/conclusions, and sequentially unfold econometric results to persuade/convince the scientific community of conclusions reached.