Upcoming Seminar

"How accurate must forecasts be to generate value for users? Reflections from a framed field experiment"

Friday, January 13

10:40 am

1151 McCarty A

Guest Speaker: Dr. Yoko Kusunose

Seminar Abstract:

We believe that better forecasts provide more value to end users. However, economic theory suggests that, while high-quality information is of high value to users, low-quality information may be of zero value. In terms of forecasts and their accuracy, this implies the existence of threshold level of accuracy, below which forecasts may be useless. We search for such a threshold using the context of the early-spring top-dressing decision for winter wheat in Kentucky, a decision that relies on expectations of precipitation conditions one to three weeks into the future. We present findings and reflections from a framed field experiment in which farmers are presented with precipitation forecasts of varying levels of accuracy and then asked to respond with their best top-dressing strategy in terms of timing and application rates. Preliminary analysis suggests that farmers pay attention to the qualitative nature of the forecast (e.g. average, wetter, or drier) but not as much to the accuracy associated with the forecast.

Yoko Kusunose is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Kentucky. She works primarily in development economics, with a focus on production risk, coping mechanisms, income portfolios, and input decisions of agricultural households. Her other research interests include the value of weather and climate forecasts and food policy in general. She received her PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California-Davis, and earned her undergraduate degree from Stanford University. She grew up near Seattle.

"The Medium-Term Impacts of Girl-Friendly Schools: Seven-Year Evidence from School Construction in Burkina Faso"

Monday, December 5, 2016, 1151 McCarty A

1:30 pm - Meet and Greet

2:00 pm - Seminar

Dr. Harounan Kazianga

Seminar Abstract:

We evaluate the long-term effect of a "girl-friendly" primary school program in Burkina Faso, using a regression discontinuity design. The intervention consisted of upgrading existing three-classroom schools to six-classroom schools to accommodate more grades. After six years, the program increased enrollment by 15.5 percentage points and increased test scores by 0.29 standard deviations. Students in treatment schools progress further through the grades, compared to students in non-selected schools. These upgraded schools are effective at getting children into school, getting children to start school on time, and keeping children in school longer. Overall, we find that the schools sustain the large impacts observed about three years earlier, with enrollment declining slightly from 18.5 to 14.9 for the cohorts of children who were exposed to both the first and second phases of the intervention.

"Seeing is Believing?

Evidence from an Extension Network Experiment"

Monday, November 14, 2016, 1151 McCarty A

1:30 pm - Meet and Greet

2:00 pm - Seminar

Dr. Valerie Mueller

Seminar Abstract:

Extension is designed to enable lab-to-farm technology diffusion. Decentralized models assume that information flows from researchers to extension workers, and from extension agents to contact farmers (CFs). CFs should then train other farmers in their communities. Such a modality may fail to address informational inefficiencies and accountability issues. We run a field experiment to measure the impact of augmenting the CF model with a direct CF training on the diffusion of a new technology. All villages have CFs and access the same extension network. In treatment villages, CFs additionally receive a three-day, central training on the new technology. We track information transmission through two nodes of the extension network: from extension agents to CFs, and from CFs to other farmers. Directly training CFs leads to a large, statistically significant increase in adoption among CFs. However, higher levels of CF adoption have limited impact on the behavior of other farmers.

"What is Driving Farmland Rental Prices in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Evidence fro Malawi"

Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 1151 McCarty A

1:30 pm - Meet and Greet

2:00 pm - Seminar

Dr. Jacob Ricker-Gilbert

Seminar Abstract:

Informal land markets, particularly land rental markets, are emerging rapidly in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). While there is a growing literature on smallholder farm households’ participation in these markets, relatively little is known about the factors affecting land rental prices. This study aims to fill that gap using panel data from Malawi to estimate the effects of plot-, household- and community-level variables on plot-level land rental prices. Of particular interest is the potential effect of Malawi’s Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) on land rental prices, as evidence from other parts of the world indicates that part of the value of agricultural subsidies is often transferred into land rental prices. Our results suggest that FISP has had no substantive effect on land rental prices in Malawi to date, perhaps because the effect of FISP on maize productivity has been modest. Geographical variables, however, do influence land rental prices in Malawi: increasing population density and greater proximity to a border crossing are associated with higher average rental prices, ceteris paribus.

W. W. McPherson Distinguished Lecture Series in International Development

"The Inequality of Human Capital among China's Children and China's Future Growth and Stability"

Friday, September 30, 2016

10:30 am - 12 pm, J. Wayne Reitz Union, University of Florida

Dr. Scott Rozelle, Stanford University

Seminar Abstract:

Despite the recent robust growth, there is concern that as China moves up the income ladder that its high level of inequality may be a breeding ground for future instability. China’s Gini today means that China’s income distribution is one of the most unequal in the world!! It also is rising extremely fast at a time when other middle-income countries are experiencing falling inequality. It has become such an important issue that the new president of China, Xi Jinping, is—at least publically—making the reduction of inequality one of the top priorities of his new development agenda.

But, the focus on income equality today may be missing the factors that will determine equality in the next generation (the time when growth will be lower and when large inequities in the population might really create serious friction and instability). One of the largest sources of inequality in the future is the inequality of human capital among young cohorts today.

The overall goal of the presentation will be to document China human capital inequality gaps for children ages 6 months to college age.

To meet this goal, the presentation will draw on numerous sources of data and spells of field work. We will look at gaps in health, nutrition, and education. The gaps will be measured for rural-urban; Han-minority; interregional; and more. Among other empirical exercises, we will examine issues the cognitive and non-cognitive skills of children 6 to 12 months old; educational readiness of preschool-aged children; the rates of micro-nutrient deficiencies; intestinal worm burdens; share of children with uncorrected vision problems in primary schools; test scores between Han and minority students in the far West; drop outs from junior high school; the educational performance of VET students between inland and coastal provinces; access to financial aid for high school students; and inequality of access to higher education.

In addition—and perhaps more importantly, we will look at ways that have been shown to shrink the inequality. The efforts will be looked at in terms of efficacy and cost-effectiveness and scalability. Barriers to implementing the solutions by policy makers will also be discussed.


Scott Rozelle, Ph.D. Cornell University, 1991, holds the Helen Farnsworth Endowed Professorship at Stanford University and is Senior Fellow in the Food Security and Environment Program and the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Freeman Spogli Institute (FSI) for International Studies. For the past 30 years, he has worked on the economics of poverty reduction by focusing on issues of agriculture, resources and the environment. Currently, his work on poverty has its full focus on human capital, including issues of rural health, nutrition, and education. With his coauthors, Dr. Rozelle has published more than 400 papers and books. Among his publications, he has published papers in Science, Nature, American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Literature, etc.

He is also an adjunct professor at five universities in China and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Dr. Rozelle's research focuses almost exclusively on China’s rural economy. For the past 19 years, Rozelle has been the chair of the International Advisory Board of the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). In recent years Rozelle spends most of his time co-directing the Rural Education Action Project (REAP), a research organization with collaborative ties to CAS, Peking University, Tsinghua University and other universities that run studies to evaluate China’s new education and health programs.

In recognition of this work, Dr. Rozelle has received numerous honors and awards. Among them, he became a Yangtse Scholar (Changjiang Xuezhe) in Renmin University of China in 2008. In 2008 he also was awarded the Friendship Award by Premiere Wen Jiabao, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a foreigner. In 2009, Rozelle also received in 2009 the National Science & Technology Research Collaboration Award, a prize given by the State Council.

"The Rise of Fish Oil"

Friday, September 9, 2016

10:40 am, 1151 McCarty Hall A

Dr. Atle Oglend, Professor, Department of Industrial Economics, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Stavanger, Norway

Atle Oglend received his PhD in Industrial Economics from the University of Stavanger, Norway. He has been employed as a Professor at the Department of Industrial Economics University of Stavanger since 2011. His research focuses on commodity markets, the economics of salmon aquaculture and energy economics.

Seminar Abstract:

The presentation tells the story of how fish oil has gone from an inferior to a premium oil product. With the growth of aquaculture, fish oil became a valuable feed component. Its value increased further as the belief in the health benefit of Omega-3 opened the market for direct human consumption through nutritional supplements. Strong demand, limited supply growth and weaker substitution between Omega-3 and Omega-6 has led to diverging trends between fish oil and vegetable oil prices, with fish oil now a premium oil product. The paper also investigates how the salmon aquaculture industry has responded to the challenge of rising fish oil prices. We show that consorted effort in nutrition and feed research has allowed a reduction in the share of fish oil in feed from around 25% in the early 2000s to around 12% today. This substitution effort has allowed salmon production to grow without using substantially more fish oil.

"Improving the Food Value Chain: Methodology and Case Studies"

Friday, August 11, 2016

10:40 am, 1086 McCarty Hall B

Teresa Briz, Assistant Professor Polytechnic University of Madrid Department of Agricultural Economics (Visiting faculty at UF FRE)

Teresa is a professor in Agricultural Economics with a specialization in the area of food value chains in developed and developing countries; organic agriculture; and consumer preferences and responses to prices, labeling, and marketing. She is a participant in European and US research projects and collaboration in different journals and books in these issues and is the Spanish representative in the European Network of Organic Agriculture Teachers.

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"Policy, Agricultural Production and Ecosystem Services"

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

3:00 pm, 1151 McCarty Hall A

Dr. Aaron De Laporte

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"Modeling Field-Level Conservation Tillage Adoption with Aggregate Choice Data"

Thursday, August 18, 2016

3:00 pm, 1086 McCarty Hall B

Dr. Tara Wade

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