Food and Agricultural Economics

Overview

The Food and Agricultural Economics (FAE) field develops student expertise in applying economic theory and empirical methods to economic and management problems in the agricultural and food systems. Relevant methods include mathematical modeling, math programming, applied econometric analysis of commodity production, supply, demand, and price determination, risk modeling, experimental methods, consumer choice, and quantitative policy analysis. Students gain advanced knowledge in one or more of the following areas: (1) agricultural production economics and management; (2) agricultural finance and risk management; (3) behavioral economics and consumer choice; and/or (4) applied supply/demand modeling and agricultural and food policy analysis.

Faculty

Faculty working in the FAE field have expertise in the economics of agricultural production, risk, finance, agribusiness management, consumer choice, behavioral economics, experimental economics, applied econometrics, quantitative policy analysis, and the industrial organization of the food system. Faculty in the field collaborate extensively with graduate students and those working in other fields across the Department, as well as researchers from other disciplines.

Research 

FAE research programs cover a broad range of topics including improved agricultural production and management performance, improved risk management, studying the structure of food systems to enhance management practices and improve the economic performance of markets and industries, conducting consumer choice and behavioral experiments to better understand agricultural and food decision making, and analyzing the economic impacts of agricultural and food policies.

Course Programs

Ph.D. students with a major field in FAE take any three courses from the following list, with at least one of them being at the 900 level: 

  • AFRE 810 Institutional and Behavioral Economics
  • AFRE 817 Political Economy of Agricultural and Trade Policy
  • AFRE 841 Analysis of Food System Organization
  • AFRE 851 Agribusiness Operations Management
  • AFRE 930 Dynamic Models in Agricultural and Resource Economics
  • AFRE 932 Information Economics and Institutions in Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • AFRE 900A or 900B (whichever is not used to meet the applied microeconomics course requirement) 

The FAE field is designed to be flexible enough to meet the needs of students with different subject matter and career interests within the field. For example: 

  1. Students with an interest in agricultural production, management, finance, and/or risk management might use AFRE 851, AFRE 930, and AFRE 900A as their field. 
  1. Students with an interest in behavioral economics, consumer choice, and/or experimental economics might use AFRE 810, AFRE 932, and AFRE 900B as their field. 
  1. Students with an interest in applied supply/demand modeling and agricultural and food policy analysis might use AFRE 817, AFRE 841, and AFRE 900B as their field. 

These are just suggestions and other mixtures of FAE major field courses from the menu can be used to construct a coherent course program for the field, in consultation with students and advisors, and with a focus on student interests and career goals. 

Ph.D. students can also choose from a range of other courses, both in and outside the Department, to support their FAE interests and meet other program course requirements. 

Masters students with an interest in food and agricultural economics put together a suitable course program in conjunction with their major advisor and committee. 

FAE students interested in regional economic issues can build a program in that area by following the recommendations for specializing in Regional Economics and State and Local Government Policy.

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