College of Agriculture and Bioresources

Research Area(s)

  • Agricultural economics and policy
  • Computational economics
  • Transportation economics
  • Experimental and behavioral economics
  • Industrial organization


Agricultural and Resource Economics

Brief Biography

Prof. Nolan is an expert in transportation economics and industrial organization, specializing on the evaluation of market structure and industry productivity. His research examines various economic issues in freight transportation, both domestic and international. He also studies agricultural and resource transportation modes, including trucking, railroads, air cargo and maritime shipping. In 2022, Prof. Nolan co-edited a book on the international air cargo industry (Emerald Publishing). He is also a former president of the U.S. Transportation Research Forum (TRF) and has served as Editor of the Journal of the Transportation Research Forum (JTRF, Elsevier) since 2016.

Research Interests

While transportation and agriculture are broad research fields, I have focused my primary research in the narrower but historically important field of agricultural transportation. To this end, I have used a variety of tools (i.e. econometric, computational) to study the nature of competition and market structure in agricultural transportation markets, particularly in the trucking and rail sectors used for grain movements across Western Canada. I am also interested in further exploring the use of geographic information systems (GIS) to support spatial economic analysis of infrastructure capacity in freight transportation. Given my affiliation with the Social Science Research Laboratory at the U. of Saskatchewan, I am also developing several economic experiments to study on-going agricultural transportation issues, particularly with respect to the evolving structure of modern agricultural supply chains and the changing interface among supply chain participants. And most recently, I am expanding my research towards other key freight modes, particularly the maritime freight sector (the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway) in order to examine how this market has affected agricultural and other bulk shippers in Canada and the U.S.


B.A. (Economics and Statistics) – Concordia University (Montreal)

M.A. (Economics) – York University (Toronto)

M.Sc (Mathematical Behavioral Social Sciences) – University of California, Irvine

Ph.D (Economics) – University of California, Irvine

Selected Recent Publications

Nolan, J., and Z. Laulederkind (2024) “Starting from the backhaul: Evaluating the effects of Covid-19 on airline traffic flows”. To appear, Advances in Airline Economics, 11, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, U.K. (book chapter).

Nolan, J., M. Guo, and Z. Laulederkind (2024) “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Evaluating regulatory decisions made by the Surface Transportation Board”. Journal of Transportation Law, Logistics and Policy, 91(1), 23-41.

Su, C., J. Nolan and R. Schoney (2023) “Buy, sell or rent the farm: succession planning and the future of farming on the Great Plains”, Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, 18, 627-669.

Sun, R., J. Nolan and S. Kulshreshtha (2022) “Agent-based modeling of policy induced agri-environmental technology adoption”, Springer Nature: Business and Economics 2, 101, DOI 10.1007/s43546-022-00275-6.

Nolan, J. and Z. Laulederkind (2022) “Plane to see? Empirical analysis of the 1999-2006 air cargo cartel”. Ch. 10 in ‘Airline Cargo Operations’, in J. Peoples and J. Nolan (Eds) (Advances in Airline Economics, Volume 9), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, U.K. (book chapter)  

Jiang, S., W. Wilson and J. Nolan (2021) “Exit decisions in the Canadian grain elevator industry”, Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, 22, 1-19, DOI:10.1007/s10842-021-00373-5.

Brown, B., J. Nolan and R. Schoney (2021) “Assessing the Food vs. Fuel issue: An agent-based simulation”, Energy Policy, 159, DOI:10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112553.

Anderson, L., R. Schoney and J. Nolan (2021) “Assessing the consequences of second-generation bioenergy crops for grain/livestock farming on the Canadian Prairies: An agent-based simulation”, Journal of Simulation, 17(2), 149-163.

Wood, J., and J. Nolan (2021) “Plant location decisions in the ethanol industry: A dynamic and spatial analysis”, Computational Economics, 58, 103-132.

Selected Awards

  • Winner of the Distinguished Transportation Researcher Award, 65th Transportation Research Forum (TRF) in Fairfax, VA. This award is given once a year by TRF and has been awarded in the past to Nobel Laureates, along with other academics in the transportation economics field. I am only the second Canadian to receive the award since its inception in 1977 (2024).
  • “Certificate of Recognition” from TRB Committee AT 010 (Freight Transportation Economics and Regulation) for my contribution as Committee Research Coordinator over the past 5 years, Washington, D.C., January (2024).
  • Invited presentation/session on agent-based modeling in agricultural and resource economics, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society Agri-Food Policy conference, Ottawa (2023).
  • Invited presentation on reciprocal switching (rail competition), First Virtual International Symposium on the introduction of competition in the railway industry: International Practices, organized by the Mexican Regulatory Agency for Rail Transport (ARTF)(2022). 
  • Professor of the Year Award, Agricultural Students Association, U. of Saskatchewan (2017-2018).
  • Canadian Agricultural Economics Society - Honorable mention, Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics Outstanding Article Award (V63, 2015) “Identifying Strategies to Mitigate Handling Risks in the Canadian Grain Supply Chain” (with H. Ge and R. Gray) (2016).
  • Provost College Teaching Award, University of Saskatchewan, College of Agriculture and Bioresources (2016).

Funding Sources

United States Dept. of Agriculture (2016, 2017, 2024)

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (2017-2023)

MITACS (2020)

Canadian Transportation Agency (2019)

Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure (2016)

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (2015)

Farm Credit Canada (2014)


AREC 342 Industrial Organization of Agricultural Markets (undergrad)

AREC 420 Operations Management for Agriculture (undergrad)

AREC 445 Competition, Regulation and Anti-Trust: Theory and Applications (undergrad)