Upcoming Seminar

Producer Discount Rates for Investment in Irrigation Practices
Kent Kovacs, University of Arkansas

Friday, November 3

10:40 am - 12:00 pm

1151 McCarty A

Attend Seminar via Zoom

Seminar Abstract:

A contingent valuation (CV) question allows for a study of farm operators’ willingness to pay (WTP) and time preferences for investment in irrigation practices. The elicitation of the individual discount rate for a farm operator with the CV question comes from variation in the length of the payment schedule. We find discount rates of 3%–5%, which are similar to the market interest rate and much lower than field and laboratory experiment estimates of the individual discount rate for households. The discount rates do not statistically correlate with farm or sociodemographic characteristics, except that farm operators in a peer network with those who have adopted technical-based irrigation scheduling tools appear to use a lower discount rate. The significant heterogeneity in the WTP suggests that conservation programs should tailor incentives to farm operators according to the irrigation practices that their peer network uses.

Kent Kovacs is a native of California where he developed an interest in agriculture growing up in the fertile Central Valley. Dr. Kovacs is currently an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas. He has also worked for the University of Nevada and the University of Minnesota on topics such as invasive species and public land conservation. He has taught courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, and environmental and resource economics.

Dr. Kovacs’ areas of research include natural resource economics (with an emphasis on water, land, and forests) and agricultural and environmental economics (with an emphasis on invasive species and ecosystem services). His research has received funding by the commodity boards, water resource centers, USDA Economic Research Service, Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, and the USDA Forest Service. Coverage of his research has appeared in popular media outlets such as the New York Times, Scientific American, and Milwaukee Sentinel Journal.

The New Institute for Sustainable Food Systems and Fisheries, Aquaculture, and the Future of Seafood
Jim Anderson, UF/IFAS

Friday, October 20

10:40 am - 12:00 pm

1151 McCarty A

Attend Seminar via Zoom

Seminar Abstract:

The first part of the seminar will introduce the new Institute for Sustainable Food Systems and discuss opportunities to leverage resources and get involved. This presentation focuses on the role of fisheries and aquaculture in meeting the world's needs for protein and the implications for resource use.  As the global population will exceed 9 billion by 2050 and wealth is likely to increase, the demand of meat and seafood will grow considerably.  The case is made that even if all of the world’s fisheries were managed for maximum sustainable yield, it is unlikely that harvest from traditional fisheries could increase nearly enough to meet the growing demand. In contrast, global aquaculture production now exceeds the production of beef.  Furthermore, the analysis indicates that aquaculture will increase by over an additional 60 percent and account for nearly two-thirds of all seafood supplied for human consumption by 2030.

James L. Anderson is Director of the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems and Professor of Food and Resource Economics at the University of Florida.  Prior to joining UF, he served as leader of the Global Program on Fisheries and Aquaculture (PROFISH) at The World Bank. Before that, he was chair of the Department of Environmental and Resource Economics at the University of Rhode Island. His research focuses on natural resource management, fisheries and aquaculture economics, markets and international trade. Recent work has been on toward the role of seafood in food security, constraints to aquaculture development, and developing Fishery Performance Indicators (FPIs) to monitor and evaluate fishery systems from an environmental, economic and social perspective.  He received his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Davis.

Measuring Food Expenditure Poverty in SNAP Populations: Some Extensions with an Application to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
George C. Davis, Virginia Tech

Friday, October 13

10:40 am - 12:00 pm

1151 McCarty A

Attend Seminar via Zoom

Seminar Abstract:

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest nutrition program in the United States, accounting for about 80% of the USDA budget.  Recently the adequacy of these benefits has become a concern (see Caswell and Yatkine 2013), but by definition, adequacy implies some goal or target.  According to section 2 of 7 of the US Code 2011, the purpose of the SNAP is to “permit low-income households to obtain a more nutritious diet through normal channels of trade by increasing food purchasing power for all eligible households who apply for participation” (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program 7 USC 2011). 

The purpose of this article is to extend the most common measure for evaluating this explicitly stated intermediate goal in order to provide a more comprehensive picture of the adequacy of SNAP benefits. The extended metrics are demonstrated by answering the question:  Did the SNAP component of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) improve the food expenditure poverty situation for SNAP participants as was intended?  We find that the less comprehensive measures are not closely tied to the purpose of the SNAP and tend to underestimate the reduction to food expenditure poverty associated with the ARRA, whereas the more comprehensive metrics presented here are more closely tied to the purpose of the SNAP and indicate a slightly larger impact.

George C. Davis is a Professor in the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics and in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise at Virginia Tech.  Dr. Davis received his Ph.D. in Economics, with a minor in Statistics, from North Carolina State University.  His research focus relates to food demand, health outcomes, econometrics, and methodology.  He has published over 60 refereed journal articles in numerous journals such as American Journal of Agricultural Economics, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Economics and Philosophy,  Endocrinology, Food Policy, and Review of Economics and Statistics to name a few.  He is the recipient of numerous awards related to his research and his 2016 book Food and Nutrition Economics: Fundamentals for Health Sciences, published by Oxford University Press, received the AAEA Quality of Communication Award for 2016.  Dr. Davis is currently a Co-editor of the Review of Economics of the Household and has served on the editorial council of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and the Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics.  He currently teaches Food and Nutrition Economics at the undergraduate, Masters’ and Ph.D. levels. His vitae can be found at http://www.aaec.vt.edu/aaec/PeopleFacultyDavis.html.

Economic Values of Coastal Erosion Management: Joint Estimation of Use and Passive Use Values with Recreation and Contingent Valuation Data
Craig E. Landry, University of Georgia

Friday, September 8

10:40 am - 12:00 pm

1151 McCarty A

Attend Seminar via Zoom

Seminar Abstract:

The coastal zone is a dynamic and recalcitrant ecological system. Problems stemming from coastal erosion, storms, and sea level rise are exacerbated by development along the coast and, especially, by development at the water’s edge. Options for management of shoreline erosion on barrier islands include shoreline hardening, beach replenishment, and coastal retreat. We analyze survey data from North Carolina households in order to evaluate the welfare effects of beach erosion management alternatives on the general population. The survey gathers data on use (and non-use) of coastal beaches, perceptions of coastal resource quality, knowledge of coastal processes, and stated preference referendum votes for programs to manage coastal erosion. We build on the microeconomic models of Eom and Larson (JEEM2006) and Huang, et al. (AJAE 2016) to jointly estimate parameters of recreation demand and passive use values. Our model does not impose weak complementarity (typically invoked in welfare analysis of recreation demand), but rather can test for its existence. By combining contingent valuation and contingent behavior data, we employ a consistent behavioral model that permits analysis of co-existing use and passive use values and how these values are affected by beach width, erosion management strategy, and the presence of environmental impacts engendered through management.

Craig Landry, Ph.D. University of Maryland, is a Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Georgia. He specializes in natural resource economics of coastal systems, beach erosion management, natural hazards, risk and insurance, recreation demand, non-market valuation, and experimental economics. Prior to joining UGA, he was an associate professor of Economics at the East Carolina University. Since moving to UGA, he has started working on microeconomic theories of food waste. With this coauthors he has published papers in Journal of Environmental Economics Management, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Coastal Management, etc. He serves as a associate editor for the Marine Resource Economics, Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics.

"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.

Biography:

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.

Watch live at http://ufifas.adobeconnect.com/aeb4424/

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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

Watch live at http://ufifas.adobeconnect.com/aeb4424/

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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

Watch live at http://ufifas.adobeconnect.com/aeb4424/