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Marta Vicarelli - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

Marta Vicarelli

Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Policy | University of Massachusetts Amherst


Marta Vicarelli's research focuses on the risks and the socioeconomic impacts of climate variability and climate change.

Expertise (5)

Economics of Sustainability

Political Economy of the Environment

Environmental Policy

Environmental Economics

Socioeconomic Impacts of Climate Change


Marta Vicarelli's work focuses on the risks and the socioeconomic impacts of climate variability and climate change; the economics of disaster risk-reduction based on the use of ecosystems; the economics of sustainable architecture, energy-efficient infrastructure, and green urbanism; and renewable energy.

Social Media






Marta Vicarelli, Massachusetts Municipalities Views about Climate Resilience Wait...What?! The Shifting Climate of the Women’s Workforce in Western MA


Education (4)

Columbia University: Ph.D., Sustainable Development

Columbia University: Master's Degree, International Affairs

Ecole Polytechnique: M.A., Environmental Economics

Ecole Normale Superieure: B.S., Oceanography and Atmospheric Science

Select Media Coverage (2)

‘Walking into the lion’s den’: Cities and towns say they need help as climate change dangers grow

The Boston Globe  


UMass Amherst's Marta Vicarellis comments on her recent report on Climate Resilience in the Commonwealth. Vicarelli says researchers were surprised by the breadth of the responses they received from 40 coastal and 71 inland municipalities. “They actually poured their hearts into these answers,” she says. “The respondents know their stuff, and they know what they need.


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UMass survey illuminates significant municipal impacts of the pandemic



A recent survey conducted by the School of Public Policy’s Socioeconomic Policy Lab found the majority of cities and towns in Massachusetts reported “significant to extreme” impacts on municipal operations and the local economy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Principal investigator Marta Vicarelli says the data “will allow us to assess how needs, priorities and resources are distributed across Massachusetts municipalities as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis.”

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Select Publications (5)

Economic benefits of ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction and ecosystem-based climate change adaptation: a global review


2023 Ecosystems and ecosystem services may contribute to reduction in disaster risk, sustainable development and climate change adaptation. The potential of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) is now recognized by major national policies and international framework agreements. However, to date there is limited scientific evidence about their economic viability and equity impacts. In this study we developed a global database of 406 observations from 87 peer-reviewed studies published between 2000 and 2020, completing economic evaluations of NbS for Ecosystem-based Climate Adaptation (EbA) and Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR).

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El Niño and children: Medium-term effects of early-life weather shocks on cognitive and health outcomes

World Development

2022 The fact that shocks in early life can have long-term consequences is well established in the literature. This paper examines the effects of extreme precipitations on cognitive and health outcomes and shows that impacts can be detected as early as 2 years of age. Our analyses indicate that negative conditions (ie, extreme precipitations) experienced during the early stages of life affect children’s physical, cognitive and behavioral development measured between 2 and 6 years of age. Affected children exhibit lower cognitive development (measured through language, working and long-term memory and visual-spatial thinking) in the magnitude of 0.15 to 0.19 SDs. Lower height and weight impacts are also identified.

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Scientific evidence of the economic benefits of ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction and ecosystem-based climate change adaptation

EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts

2022 Ecosystems and ecosystem services are key to helping achieve reduction in disaster risk, sustainable development, and climate change adaptation, and this is now recognized by major international framework agreements (Convention on Biological Diversity, 2014; United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, 2015-2030). However, there is limited knowledge about the cost efficiency and socio-economic equity outcomes of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) compared to traditional engineered strategies.

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Scientific evidence for ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction

Nature Sustainability

2021 Ecosystems play a potentially important role in sustainably reducing the risk of disaster events worldwide. Yet, to date, there are few comprehensive studies that summarize the state of knowledge of ecosystem services and functions for disaster risk reduction. This paper builds scientific evidence through a review of 529 English-language articles published between 2000 and 2019. It catalogues the extent of knowledge on, and confidence in, ecosystems in reducing disaster risk. The data demonstrate robust links and cost-effectiveness between certain ecosystems in reducing specific hazards, something that was revealed to be particularly true for the role of vegetation in the stabilization of steep slopes.

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Differences in Nature Based Solutions perception and implementation strategies across academic disciplines, an empirical analysis

EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts

2021 This study investigates using a survey how disciplinary scholars perceive Nature Based Solutions (NBS) and how they differ in their NBS implementation approach at the local level. Respondents participated in the 2020-2021, a ten-week course (online from Dec. 3, 2020, to Jan. 26, 2021) with a focus on Disaster Risk Reduction and Water Security. Supported by the United Nations Environmental Program and the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR), a global alliance of UN agencies, NGOs, and institutes, the Winter School Program is delivered via a partnership model between the University of Massachusetts Amherst's School of Public Policy and Department of Economics,

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