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Elena Besedin, Ph.D.

Principal Associate, Environment & Resources

Elena Besedin, Ph.D. Elena Besedin, Ph.D.
Elena Besedin is an expert in economic analysis of environmental policy and resource management alternatives with a particular focus on aquatic resources. She has over 20 years of experience in applying economics, nonmarket valuation, integrated ecological and economic modeling, and benefit cost analysis to support sound public policy decisions. 

Much of her recent work has focused on designing and implementing state-of-the-art approaches aimed at improving the practice of monetizing benefits within the regulatory context, including application of revealed preference methods, design of stated preference survey instruments, development of innovative benefit transfer approaches based on state-of-art meta-analyses of resource valuation studies.

Over her tenure at Abt Associates, Besedin has led a number of large-scale, multi-million dollar multidisciplinary projects.  Among projects she has managed for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are benefits analyses for several high profile CWA regulations developed by EPA’s Office of Water including the CWA §316(b) Existing Facilities Rule, Steam Electric Effluent Limitation Guidelines, and Long-term Urban Stormwater Initiative. 

She leads a variety of projects involving economic analysis support and other technical services for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. 

Besedin holds a PhD in Environmental and Resource Economics from the University of Rhode Island.
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  • Aquatic resources
  • Benefit-cost analysis
  • Ecosystem service analysis and valuation
  • Human health benefits
  • Integrated ecological-economic modeling
  • Non-market valuation

Key Projects

  • Supporting the estimation of benefits of Chesapeake Bay restoration via Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL), EPA’s National Center of Environmental Economics 
  • Benefit analyses of the Long-Term Urban Stormwater Initiative, EPA’s Office of Water
  • Benefit analysis of the Steam Electric Effluent Limitation Guidelines, EPA’s Office Water 


  • The Editorial Board of the Agricultural and Resource Economics Review (ARER) named “Stated Preference for the Intermediate versus Final Ecosystem Services: Disentangling Willingness to Pay for Omitted Ecological Outcomes”—an article co-authored by Dr. Besedin—the 2013 ARER Article of the Year. June 2014.
  • Abt Associates’ prize for the best scholarly article.

Selected Publications

Book Chapters
  • Johnston, R., E. Schultz, K. Segerson and E. Besedin. 2010. “Bioindicator-Based Stated Preference Valuation for Aquatic Habitat and Ecosystem Service Restoration”, in Bennett, J. ed. International Handbook on Non-Marketed Environmental Valuation. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, forthcoming
  • Johnston, Robert J. and Elena Y. Besedin.  2009. "Estimating Willingness to Pay for Aquatic Resource Improvements Using Benefits Transfer." In: Thurston, Hale, et al., Eds. 2009. Environmental Economics for Watershed Protection. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
  • Mazzotta M.J., E.Y. Besedin, and A. Speers. 2013. A Meta-Analysis of Hedonic Studies to Assess the Property Value Effects of Low Impact Development. Resources. Special issue: Ecosystem Service Valuation, Its Measurement and Uses, in press.
  • Johnston, R.J., E.T. Schultz, K. Segerson, E.Y. Besedin and M. Ramachandran. 2013. Stated Preferences for Intermediate versus Final Ecosystem Services: Disentangling Willingness to Pay for Omitted Ecological Outcomes. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 42(1): 98-118.
  • Schultz, E.T., R.J. Johnston, K. Segerson and E.Y. Besedin. 2012. Integrating Ecology and Economics for Restoration: Using Ecological Indicators in Valuation of Ecosystem Services. Restoration Ecology 20(3): 304-310.
  • Johnston, R.J., E.T. Schultz, K. Segerson, E.Y. Besedin and M. Ramachandran. 2012. Enhancing the Content Validity of Stated Preference Valuation: The Structure and Function of Ecological Indicators. Land Economics 88(1): 102-120.
  • Johnston, R.J., K. Segerson, E.T. Schultz, E.Y. Besedin and M. Ramachandran. 2011.  Indices of Biotic Integrity in Stated Preference Valuation of Aquatic Ecosystem Services. Ecological Economics 70(11): 1946-1956.