An MSU distinguised professor, Bob Myers joins David Hennessy and Thomas Reardon as the the third member of AFRE faculty to receive the award.
June 1, 2017
University distinguished professor Bob Myers has been named a fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) Fellow.
According to his colleagues, say Myers’ receipt of the honor was a no-brainer.
“He was long overdue,” David Hennessy, professor and an AAEA fellow, said. “Bob is widely acknowledged as being so strong in his area.
“We asked and got endorsements from many, many people, because they looked and said, ‘Gosh, why hadn’t this happened before?’”
The AAEA is internationally recognized as the most prominent professional society in the field of agricultural economics. Each year, it recognizes around five people in the profession as fellows. It is the highest honor the association awards.
In Myers’ nomination, his 30-year career at MSU was described as well-rounded, with notable contributions in research, teaching, service and outreach.
“Bob is the complete package,” Hennessy said. “He has been widely acknowledged for the quality of his teaching. He has contributed to outreach on occasions, and his service within the department has been stellar.”
Myers expressed gratitude for the recognition.
“It is a big award in our profession, and I’m very, very pleased to receive it,” Myers said. “I think it reflects positively on the department, as well as myself, that the department can provide an environment where someone can have a career that leads to this kind of an award.”
Myers has produced more than 100 scholarly publications, some of which have received awards from such organizations as AAEA, the Journal of Futures Markets and the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society. He was a co-editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics from 2001- to 2004.
In 2005, Myers was recognized by MSU as a university distinguished professor, an achievement described by the university as “highly honorific and consequently very exclusive.” It is awarded to professors who have been recognized nationally and internationally for their achievements in teaching, research and public service.
The primary focus of Myers’ research, -- as far back as his Ph.D. dissertation, published in the mid-1980s, -- has been on the issues of risk and credit in incomplete markets. He has examined why such market failures exist and what can be done to alleviate the associated negative economic consequences. For the first part of his career, he examined these situations in the United States.
“As my career has evolved over the years, I’ve allocated more and more of my portfolios to these similar issues, but issues that arise in developing countries (where the problems are much more prevalent),” Myers said.
Most recently, he has been researching the relationship between credit and crop insurance for families in developing countries.
“The lack of credit is causing these relatively poor households to choose not to participate in insurance opportunities that are available to them,” Myers said. “They don’t take it up essentially because they don’t have the funds to pay for the premiums on the insurance contracts.”
Myers is studying how that affects the insurance markets and how to respond to the problem, and also studying patterns in how individuals in developing countries use new and old technologies. He referred to this as “transient technology adoption.”
“The kind of conventional wisdom about technology adoption is that when a new technology comes along that’s better than the old technology, it will eventually be adopted and people will continue to use it until an even better technology is developed,” Myers said. “What we observed in the data is that people are actually switching back and forth between technologies.”
Myers said there are several hypotheses about what’s causing it, but part of the reason could have to do with risk.
“There can be fluctuations in the riskiness of these different technologies over time,” Myers said. “That could be contributing at least somewhat to this transient technology.”
Myers joins David Hennessy and Thomas Reardon as the third member of the MSU Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics faculty to receive the AAEA fellow distinction.