Payal Shah



Payal Shah is a research scientist at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Graduate University. Her research focuses on issues of environmental conservation and sustainability of natural resources. She uses economic theory and statistical methods, combined with tools from ecology and biogeography, to evaluate the impact of conservation policies and to develop optimal strategies for conservation efforts in the face of environmental and economic uncertainties. Payal received a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics (2013) and a M.Sc. in Agricultural and Consumer Economics (2009) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She also has an MBA in Finance (2004) from Management Development Institute, India. Payal’s research has been published as journal articles in leading international journals including Environmental Research Letters, Resource and Energy Economics, Land Economics, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Methods in Ecology and Evolution, Conservation Biology, Sustainability and PLOS One.

View Curriculum Vitae 

Main research topics:


1) Quantifying the impact of policy interventions for marine and terrestrial conservation using quasi-experimental methods

2) Using portfolio optimziation to incorporate the role of climate uncertainty in the systematic conservation planning framework

3) Valuation of ecosystem services using contingent valuation methods

4) Using stochastic optimization tools for designing ​optimal conservation policy to deal with environmental and economic stochasticities



Peer Reviewed Articles

  • Ando, Amy W. and Shah, Payal. 2010. Demand-side factors in optimal land conservation choice, Resource and Energy Economics, 32, 203-221.

  • Shah, Payal and Baylis, Kathy. 2015. Evaluating the Impact of Protection on Deforestation in Indonesia between 2000 and 2010 using Remote Sensing Data. PLoS ONE 10(6): e0124872. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0124872

  • Shah, Payal and Ando, Amy W. 2015. Downside vs. symmetric risk in natural resource portfolio design to manage climate-change uncertainty. Land Economics91(4), 664-687.

  • Ando, Amy, W. and Shah, Payal. 2016. The Economics of Conservation and Finance: A Review of the Literature. International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, 8 (3–4), 321-357.

  • Shah, Payal and Ando, Amy W. 2016. Permanent and Temporary Policy Incentives for Conservation under Stochastic Returns from Competing Land Uses. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, p.aaw032.

  • Shah, Payal, Mallory, Mindy, Ando, Amy W., and Guntenspergen, Glenn. 2016. Fine‐resolution conservation planning with limited climate‐change information. Conservation Biology.

  • Schwanitz, Valeria Jana, Wierling, August and Shah, Payal. 2017. Assessing the Impact of Renewable Energy on Regional Sustainability—A Comparative Study of Sogn og Fjordane (Norway) and Okinawa (Japan). Sustainability, 9(11), p.1969.

  • Mcclenachan, Loren, Matsuura, Ryunosuke., Shah, Payal. and Dissanayake, Sahan. 2018. Shifted historical baselines reduce willingness to pay for conservation. Frontiers in Marine Science, 5, p.48.

  • Shah, Payal, Dissanayake, Sahan, T. M., Fujita, Yoko and Nunes, Paulo, A.D. 2019. Impact of a local, coastal community based management regimw when defining marine protectde areas: Empirical results from a study in Okinawa, Japan. PLOS One.

  • Yamaguchi, Rintaro and Shah, Payal. 2020. Spatial Discounting of Ecosystem Services. Resource and Energy Economics, 101186.

  • Shah, Payal, Baylis, Kathy, Busch, Jonah and Engelmann, Jens. 2021. What determines the effectiveness of national protected area networks?. Environmental Research Letters.

  • Popov, V., Shah, P., Runting, R. K., & Rhodes, J. R. 2021. Managing risk and uncertainty in systematic conservation planning with insufficient information. Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

  • Rhodes, J.R., Armsworth, P.R., Iacona, G., Shah, P., Gordon, A., Wilson, K.A., Runting, R.K. and Bryan, B.A., 2022. Flexible conservation decisions for climate adaptation. One Earth5(6), pp.622-634.

Book Chapter

  • Shah, Payal, Dissanayake, Sahan, T.M., Carlson, Nils, Fujita, Yoko, and Nunes, Paulo A.L.D. 2016. Preferences for marine protection in Okinawa: A comparison of management options and two groups of beneficiaries. Handbook on the Economics and Management for Sustainable Oceans, UN Environmental Programme and Edward Elgar Publishing House, UK

Technical Report

  • Loechl, Paul, M., Kemme, Michael, R., Shah, Payal, S., & Goran, William, D. 2012. Resource Efficiency in the US Army Corps of Engineers: Examination of Strategies to Reduce Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions (No. ERDC/CERL-TR-12-17). Engineer Research and Development Center Champaign IL Construction Engineering Research Lab.

Working Papers

  • Sims, Charles, Shah, Payal, and Ando, Amy. Multidimensional risk diversification for invasive species management. In preparation.
  • Ishihama, Fumiko and Shah, Payal. Systematic conservation planning using Marxan and portfolio theory for Mt. Daisetsu National Park. In preparation.
  • Shah, Payal, Dudley, Kenneth and Economo, Evan. Coupled Terrestrial Runoff and Ocean Systems Model for Land-to-sea Sediment Distribution in Okinawa. In preparation.
  • Mieno, Taro, Tanaka, Kenta, Shah, Payal. Optimal timing of irreversible land use conversion under uncertainty: an experimental approach. In preparation.
  • Ando, Amy W., Mallory, Mindy, and Shah, Payal. Portfolio analysis with spatial targeting and projects to reduce effects of climate change. In preparation.