Robert B. Richardson

Robert Richardson

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Department of Community Sustainability


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Dr. Robert Richardson is an ecological economist at Michigan State University with interests in the study of the environment and development, particularly the contribution of ecosystem services to socioeconomic well-being. He uses a variety of methods from the behavioral and social sciences to study decision-making about the use of natural resources and the values of ecosystem services. He has conducted research related to agricultural-environmental linkages, household food security, and tradeoffs in decision-making about environmental management in sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, and Southeast Asia, as well as in the USA. His research has been supported by funding from sources including the National Science Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. His work has been published in Ecological Economics, Environment and Development Economics, and World Development.

Dr. Richardson is Past-President of the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics, and a member of the International Society for Ecological Economics. He is an affiliate faculty member with MSU's Environmental Science and Policy Program, Center for Advanced Study of International Development, Center for Regional Food Systems, African Studies Center, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Google Scholar Profile

Courses taught:

  • CSUS 824 - Sustainable Development: Measuring Socioeconomic Well Being
  • CSUS 300 - Theoretical Foundations of Sustainability
  • CSUS 310 - History of Environmental Thought and Sustainability

Recent selected publications:

Vroegindewey, R., R. B. Richardson, D. L. Ortega, and V. Theriault. (2021). Consumer and retailer preferences for local dairy products: Evidence from stacked choice experiments in urban Mali. Food Policy 102106.

Richardson, R. B. and S. Nicholls. (2021). Characterizing the cultural ecosystem services of coastal sand dunes. Journal of Great Lakes Research 47(2): 546-551.

Richardson, R. B. (2021). The role of tourism in sustainable development. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Environmental Science. Oxford University Press.

Scott, C. K. and R. B. Richardson. (2021). Farmer social connectedness and market access: A case study of personal networks among emerging farmers. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development 10(2): 1-23.

Silberg, T. R., K. Renner, L. S. Olabisi, R. B. Richardson, V. G. P. Chimonyo, M. Uriona-Maldonado, B. B. Basso, and C. Mwale. (2021). Modeling smallholder agricultural systems to manage Striga in the semi-arid tropics. Agricultural Systems 187: 103008.

Vroegindewey, R., R. B. Richardson, K. Chung, V. Theriault and D. L. Ortega. (2021). Competitive advantage and processor demand for local and imported food ingredients: Analysis from an urban dairy market in West Africa. Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies 11(2): 140-159.

Silberg, T. R., R. B. Richardson, and M. C. Lopez. (2020). Maize farmer preferences for intercropping systems to reduce Striga in Malawi. Food Security 12(2): 269-283.

Bro, A., D. Ortega, D. C. Clay, and R. B. Richardson. (2020). Understanding individuals’ incentives for climate change adaptation in Nicaragua's coffee sector. Climate and Development 12(4): 332-342.

Silberg, T. R., V. G. P. Chimonyo, R. B. Richardson, S. S. Snapp, and K. Renner. (2019). Legume diversification and weed management in African cereal-based systems. Agricultural Systems 174: 83-94.

Mulenga, B., S. Tembo, and R. B. Richardson. (2019). Electricity access and charcoal consumption among urban households in Zambia. Development Southern Africa 36(5): 585-599.

Waldman, K. B. and R. B. Richardson. (2018). Confronting tradeoffs between agricultural ecosystem services and adaptation to climate change in Mali. Ecological Economics 150: 184-193.

Silberg, T., R. B. Richardson, M. Hockett, and S. S. Snapp. (2017). Maize-legume intercropping in Central Malawi: Determinants of practice. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 15(6): 662-680.

Waldman, K. B., D. L. Ortega, R. B. Richardson, and S. S. Snapp. (2017). Estimating demand for perennial pigeon pea in Malawi using choice experiments. Ecological Economics 131: 222-230.

Waldman, K. B., D. L. Ortega, R. B. Richardson, D. C. Clay, and S. Snapp. (2016). Preferences for legume attributes in maize-legume cropping systems in Malawi. Food Security 8(6): 1087-1099.

Ortega, D. L., K. B. Waldman, R. B. Richardson, D. C. Clay, and S. Snapp. (2016). Sustainable intensification and farmer preferences for crop system attributes: Evidence from Malawi’s Central and Southern Regions. World Development 87: 139–151.

Editorial boards:

  • Environmental Management
  • Economia agro-alimentare / Food Economy
  • International Journal of Ecological Economics and Statistics
  • Michigan State University Press


  • Ph.D., Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University, 2002
  • M.B.A., New York University, 1995
  • B.S., Tulane University, 1989

Dr. Richardson's curriculum vitae