Rui Benfica

Rui Benfica

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Former Associate Professor, International Development
Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics


Ph.D., Michigan State University
M.S., Michigan State University
B.S., Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique


Associate Professor for International Development Rui Benfica joined the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Food Security Group in October 2011. His work focuses primarily in Southern Africa and South Asia. He has an extensive policy research and outreach experience in developing countries, particularly in Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, and Cambodia.

Prior to joining MSU, he worked for the World Bank where he held the positions of Economist at the Gender and Development Group (2008-2011), and Poverty Economist (Africa Region) at the Mozambique Country Office (2006-2008) working closely with the Ministry of Planning and Development on a Poverty Assessment and Poverty and Social Impact Analyses of public sector reforms. Prior to getting his PhD from Michigan State University (2006), he was a policy advisor at the USAID Office of Agriculture and Food Resources (Maputo/Mozambique) and Research and Outreach Specialist at MSU working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Mozambique.

Research and Outreach Interests

  • The economics of smallholder agriculture, income diversification, land and labor markets
  • Economic growth, household welfare, poverty and inequality analysis
  • Design, implementation and analysis of household surveys
  • Applied general equilibrium for policy analysis
  • Gender and economic development


Research Impact


Publications (View all Benfica’s publications on Google Scholar sorted by year)

Selected Publications

Benfica, R. 2014. “Welfare and Distributional Impacts of Price Shocks in Malawi: A Non-parametric Approach.” Food Security, Vol. 6, Issue 1, 2014: 131-145.

Benfica, R. 2012. “An Analysis of Poverty in Cash Cropping Economies of Rural Mozambique: Blending Econometrics and Economy-wide Models.” First Edition ed. Saarbrucken: LAP - Lambert Academic Publishing.

Benfica, R. 2012. “Trends and Drivers of Welfare in Malawi: Implications for Policy.” Africa Region, World Bank, Washington, DC.

Arndt, C., R. Benfica, and J. Thurlow. 2011. “Gender Implications of Bio-fuels Expansion in Africa: The case of Mozambique.” World Development, Vol.39, Issue 9, 2011: 1649-1662.

Arndt, C., R. Benfica, F. Tarp, J. Thurlow, and R. Uaiene. 2009. “Bio-fuels, poverty, and growth: A CGE Analysis of Mozambique.” Environment and Development Economics 15, Issue 1, 2009: 81-115.

Arndt, C., R. Benfica, N. Maximiano, A. Nucifora, and J. Thurlow. 2008. “Higher fuel and food prices: Impacts and responses for Mozambique.” Agricultural Economics 39, 2008: 497-511. 

Fox, L., R. Benfica, M. Ehnrenpreis, H. Nordang, M. Sekkel, D. Owen, and K. Broek. 2008. “Beating the Odds: Sustaining Inclusion in a Growing Economy – A Mozambique Poverty, Gender and Social Assessment.” Directions in Development. World Bank, Washington, DC.

Fox, L., R. Benfica and Melissa Sekkel. 2007. Book Chapter “Halving the Poverty Rate by 2015” in “Post-Stabilization Economics in Sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons from Mozambique”, Edited by Jean A. P. Clement and Shanaka J. Peiris, International Monetary Fund, Washington DC.

Boughton, D., D. Mather, C. Barrett, R. Benfica, D. Abdula, D. Tschirley and B. Cunguara. 2007. “Market Participation by Rural Households in a Low-Income Country: An Asset-Based Approach Applied to Mozambique.” Faith and Economics, Vol. 50, Fall 2007: 64-101.

Benfica, R., D. Tschirley, and D. Boughton. 2006. “Interlinked Transactions in Cash Cropping Economies: The Determinants of Farmer Participation and Performance in the Zambezi River Valley of Mozambique.” 2006 IAAE Conference Proceedings.

Tschirley, D. and R. Benfica. 2001. “Smallholder Agriculture, Wage Labor and Poverty alleviation in Land-Abundant Africa: Evidence from Mozambique.” Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 39, Issue 2, 2001: 333-358.


Recent Research and Policy Presentations