Dr. Jeffrey (Jeff) Burkhardt

Professor – Ethics and Public Policy

Jeffrey Burkhardt received his Ph.D. in philosophy with a graduate minor in economics from Florida State University in 1979, and joined the faculty of the University of Florida in 1985. He teaches courses on Agriculture and Natural Resource Ethics, and Food and Agricultural Policy, and advises doctoral, masters and undergraduate honors theses. Dr. Burkhardt is co author of two books on ethics and agricultural biotechnology, Plants, Power, and Profit (1991) and Making Nature, Shaping Culture (1995), and he has published numerous professional and popular articles on ethical issues in the agricultural and natural resource system, the ethics of food and agricultural biotechnology, ethics in science, and the philosophy of economics. Dr. Burkhardt has served on several national panels for USDA, NAS, NABC, CAST, and NSF, including USDA's Advisory Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology (USDA ACAB). He is currently Editor in Chief for the Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics.



My research activities will continue to address the themes of competitiveness and growth, and the related policy implications.

With the theory of the decision making under adjustment using the dynamic directional distance function technology and extensions to productivity measurement established, the first direction is addressing empirical applications of dynamic decision making and their extensions are being explored. For the case of productivity growth, these approaches are known as the dynamic case of the Luenberger productivity growth indicators.   Applications to Spanish industries are explored so far, with more applications and theoretical extensions planned for the US food manufacturing is underway.

The second direction is in an early stage which involves the measuring the contribution firm Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) activities on firm value.  The conceptual framework is being developed in collaboration with an AEREC doctoral candidate. The notion is that the firm produces two types of outputs:  marketable (desired) outputs and undesirable outputs.  To combat these undesirable outputs, the firm can produce a third type of output, intended to mitigate the impact of the undesirable outputs. To complicate matters, some of the undesirable outputs are known and observable, other may be uncertain.  At the same time, some of the mitigating outputs can directly counter the undesirable outputs, but others may not.  Our plan is to work in conjunction with Hershey and related firms as well as the new industry watchdog group overseeing CSR interests.  The idea is to use the directional distance function approach to identify firm value and develop ranking measures of how well a firm is performing.  In particular, the gains of engaging in CSR compared to the costs of not undertaking CSR activities will be imputed. 

The third direction is to continue work assessing the industry and national-level effects of macroeconomic  uncertainty, market volatility and exposure to risk,  agricultural policies, and other market phenomena on agriculture requires an ability to link the effects of such forces on individual farmers and farm households to industry-level measures of the farming sector.  It is these aggregate representations that are the basis of policy development.  There are two drivers of this direction involve a) modeling uncertainty and its impact on farm performance and growth and b) modeling irreversibilities in gross investment arising from uncertainty can lead to non-smooth capital/quasi-fixed factor accumulation patterns, which can impact the supply and input response behavior.   

Dr. Jeffrey (Jeff) Burkhardt Professor – Ethics and Public Policy