Inspired by interdisciplinary collaboration, my research blends theoretical and empirical economic modeling to inform policy discussions on issues relevant to California’s agriculture and natural resources. In particular, my research compares the economic impacts of different policy instruments for managing water. My current work relates to the changing regulatory structure of groundwater in California, the potential for groundwater markets, and the role that water prices can play in agricultural adaptation to climate change.


Ellen M. Bruno and Richard J. Sexton. (2020). “The Gains from Agricultural Groundwater Trade and the Potential for Market Power: Theory and ApplicationAmerican Journal of Agricultural Economics 102.3: 884-910.

Alyssa J. DeVincentis, Sam Sandoval Solis, Ellen M. Bruno, Amber Leavitt, Anna Gomes, Sloane Rice, and Daniele Zaccaria. (2020). “Using Cost-Benefit Analysis to Understand Adoption of Winter Cover Cropping in California’s Specialty Crop Systems.” Journal of Environmental Management 261: 110025.

Tina L. Saitone and Ellen M. Bruno. (2020). “Cost Effectiveness of Livestock Guardian Dogs for Predator Control.Wildlife Society Bulletin 44.1: 101-109.

Working Papers

Missing Markets: Evidence on Agricultural Water Demand from Volumetric Pricing” (with Katrina Jessoe). Revised and resubmitted to Journal of Public Economics.

“Untapped Potential: Leak Reduction is the Most Cost-Effective Urban Water Management Tool.” (with Amanda Rupiper, Joakim Weill, Katrina Jessoe, and Frank Loge).


2020 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics: “Assessing Measurement Error in Remotely Sensed Land Use Data for Economic Applications”

2020 National Science Foundation RAPID: “Compounding Human and Natural Disasters: Implications for the Agricultural Sector” (With David Zilberman and Ashok Mishra)

2018 California Institute for Water Resources and U.S. Geological Survey: “Groundwater Regulation and Land Fallowing: How Does Water Scarcity Impact Land Use?”

2018 California Water Resources Control Board: “Life Cycle Cost and Economic Analysis for Water Loss Performance Standards” (with K. Jessoe and F. Loge)

2018 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics : “The Economics of Groundwater Quality in California Agriculture”

2017 – 2018 UC Water Challenge: “Sustainable Groundwater in California: Managing Water Use with Economic Instruments” (with Katrina K. Jessoe, Richard J. Sexton, and W. Michael Hanemann)

2017 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics: “Managing Agricultural Water Use for Sustainable Groundwater in California” (with Katrina K. Jessoe and Richard J. Sexton)

2017 Giannini Foundation Agricultural Economics Graduate Student Fellowship

2014 – 2016 National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education & Research Traineeship in Climate Change, Water, and Society


2019 Award for Most Downloaded Article in the 2018-2019 Issue of ARE Update

2019 Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, Agricultural & Applied Economics Association

2019 Gordon A. King award for Best Dissertation, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis

2017 Award for Most Downloads of an Article in the 2016-2017 Issue of ARE Update

2017 Outstanding Graduate Paper Award, Western Agricultural Economics Association

2013 Joel Dean Award for Excellence in Management Science, UC San Diego

Photograph of rice fields by Olena Sambucci.