Murphy received a Ph.D. from the Resource Economics Department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2001. She has held faculty positions in the economics departments at Middlebury College and the University of Massachusetts-Boston, where she taught microeconomics, statistics, econometrics, environmental and natural resource economics, and risk analysis. In 2004, she was appointed as an Environmental Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science's (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellowship Program, under which she served as an economist for the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water. Murphy joined the Social Sciences Branch in the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in 2011.
Murphy is the NEFSC point of contact for economic and social fisheries performance measures. Since joining the NEFSC, she has been the lead for the SSB's commercial fishing cost survey and the lead author on the annual Northeast Multispecies (Groundfish) performance report. Her research interests include improving understanding and modeling of fishermen's decision-making around entry and exit into fisheries. She is also engaged in assessing commercial fishing safety across fisheries, and the impact different fisheries management regimes may have on safety at sea.