Assistant Professor

Dr. Trisha Shrum is a behavioral and environmental economist focused on using transdisciplinary theory, collaborations, and methodologies to improve our understanding of the drivers of decision-making, especially for decisions that relate to climate change and natural resources. Her academic background in ecology and evolutionary biology, environmental science, economics, and policy, as well as her professional work in government and non-governmental organizations, provides a broad base of knowledge and experience that is vital for understanding complex environmental problems.

Utilizing a theoretical foundation of behavioral economics, psychology, and decision theory, Dr. Shrum studies two key components of decision-making: 1) individual preferences, which may be well-established, slowly evolving, or rapidly formulated, and 2) evaluations of outcome-specific costs and benefits, which often involve risk and uncertainty. Her current research focus is on the evolution of individual-level preferences for pro-environmental behavior and the role of information availability on individual’s evaluations of risks and benefits.

Dr. Shrum specializes in designing randomized control experiments and collaborates with scientists across many fields, applying these methods to explore research questions related to environmental and agricultural policy, risk communication, and risk management behavior. She has worked on a wide variety of topic areas, including intergenerational climate change impacts, extreme climate events, carbon dioxide removal, energy efficiency, natural resource management, biosecurity, cattle ranching, and, most recently, COVID-19.

Before coming to UVM, Dr. Shrum co-founded an award-winning non-profit project called DearTomorrow, which asks people to write, share, and archive letters to the next generation about their personal climate legacy and the role they want to play in addressing the climate emergency. The work of DearTomorrow has reached millions of people and has been covered by NPR, the Scientific American, the New York Times, Vox, Burlington’s own Seven Days magazine, and many other news media organizations. She continues to volunteer as an advisor to DearTomorrow and brings her experience as a social entrepreneur to the courses she teaches on Community Entrepreneurship.

At UVM, she serves as a faculty member of the Department of Community Development & Applied Economics, the Masters of Public Administration Program, and the Sustainable Development, Policy, Economics, & Governance Doctoral Program. She is a faculty fellow in the Social Ecological Gaming and Simulation (SEGS) Lab Research Fellow and a faculty affiliate in the Gund Institute for the Environment Faculty.


  • Shrum, T.R. (2021). The salience of future impacts and the willingness to pay for climate change mitigation: an experiment in intergenerational framing.” Climatic Change 165(1): 1-20.
  • Clark, E.M., Merrill, S.C., Trinity, L., Bucini, G., Cheney, N., Langle-Chimal, O., Shrum, T.R.,Koliba, C., Zia, A., Smith, J. (2021). Emulating Agricultural Disease Management: ComparingRisk Preferences Between Industry Professionals and Online Participants Using Experimental Gaming Simulations and Paired Lottery Choice Surveys. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 7: 1-12.
  • Balch, J., Iglesias, V., Braswell, A., Rossi, M., Joseph, M.B., Mahood, A.L., Travis, W., Shrum, T.R., White, C.T., Scholl, V. and McGuire, B. (2020). Social-environmental extremes: Rethinking extraordinary events as outcomes of interacting biophysical and social systems. Earth’s Future, 8, e2019EF001319.
  • Shrum, T.R.,Markowitz, E., Buck, H., Gregory, R., van der Linden, S., Attari, S. Z., Van Boven, L. (2020). Behavioural frameworks to understand public perceptions of and risk response to carbon dioxide removal. The Royal Society: Interface Focus, 10(5), 20200002.
  • Clark, E.M.,Merrill, S.C., Trinity, L., Bucini, G., Cheney, N., Langle-Chimal, O., Shrum, T.R., Koliba, C., Zia, A. and Smith, J.M. (2020). Using Digital Field Experiments to Elicit Risk Mitigation Behavioral Strategies for Disease Management Across Agricultural Production Systems. PLoS ONE, 15(3): 1-18.
  • Shrum, T.R., Travis, W.R., Williams, R, Lih, E. (2018). Managing Climate Risks on the Ranch with Limited Drought Forecasts. Climate Risk Management, 20: 11-26.

Working Papers & Pre-Prints

  • Shrum, T.R., Nowak, S.A., Merrill, S.C., Hanley, J.P., Liu, T., Clark, E.M., Zia, A., Koliba, C. Pro-Environmental Attitudes, Altruism, and COVID-19 Risk Management Behavior. Under review at Environmental Health Perspectives. Preprint:
  • Shrum, T.R., Molokandov, R. (2021). Endogenous Preferences, Intrinsic Motivation, and the Evolution of Pro-Environmental Behavior. SSRN Working Paper.

For an up-to-date publications list, see Dr. Shrum’s Google Scholar Profile.

Associations and Affiliations

  • Association of Environmental and Resource Economics
  • American Economic Association
Trisha Shrum Headshot

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Climate Change, Behavioral Science, Environmental Economics, Behavioral Economics, Experimental Economics, Environmental Policy, Risk & Uncertainty


  • BA in Environmental Science, University of Kansas, 2006
  • BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas, 2006
  • MESc, Yale School of the Environment, 2009
  • Ph.D. Public Policy, Harvard University, 2016


  • 802.656.8117
Office Location:

Morrill Hall 102

Courses Taught

  • CDAE 166: Introduction to Community Entrepreneurship
  • CDAE 267: Strategic Planning for Community Entrepreneurs
  • CDAE 370: Political Economy of Sustainable Development