PhD and MS Research Assistantships in areas of Economics of Food Systems

available at Colorado State University

Areas of Study:
*Economic impacts of policies supporting U.S. farm to school programs
*Food security and dietary quality effects of urban food policies
*Economic analysis of alcoholic beverage industry and related marketing

Deadlines: application deadline is February 15, 2018
Apply online: http://graduateschool.colostate.edu/prospective-students/apply/
Contact:
Chris Goemans, Chair of the Graduate Program
(970) 491-7261
chris.goemans@colostate.edu

The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (DARE) at Colorado State University has openings for at least 3 PhD/MS students in different specialty areas within the broad umbrella of the economics of food systems. Specifically, we are recruiting for students interested in supporting the three following new/ongoing research areas:

  • Economic impacts of policies supporting U.S. farm to school program. An ongoing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) funded research project in the Department is evaluating: 1) farm and ranch profitability impacts of sales through these markets (preliminary results using state-level policy data shows that these policies matter); 2) spillover impacts to household purchases at retail grocery stores resulting from farm to school programs; and 3) changes in levels of students’ consumptions of fruits and vegetables based on local procurement. The selected student would augment this work by building a database of Federal, State, and Philanthropic grants supporting K-12 farm to school programming in the U.S. (including the possibility of a Washington DC based internship). Once built, the database will enable to research team to investigate how policies, and specifically grant dollars, impact the success of these programs.

Primary supervisors: Dr. Bonanno, Dr. Jablonski, Dr. Thilmany.  

  • Food security and dietary quality effects of urban food policies

As consumers become more interested in their food and its origin, urban communities are increasingly integrating food into mainstream planning and policymaking. We are looking for a graduate student to work closely with a team of inter-disciplinary researchers to understand how households’ food security and dietary quality may be affected by urban policies and programs. Part of this work, funded from the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR), will involve collecting data, and modeling household purchasing decisions, and their response to key proposed interventions.

Primary supervisors: Dr. Bonanno, Dr. Jablonski, Dr. Thilmany,  

  • Economic analysis of alcoholic beverage industry and related marketing

Alcoholic beverage industries have been experiencing tremendous growth and transformation to their marketing channels. This is especially prevalent within the craft beer industry, which has grown at an exponential rate over the past decade. Graduate students in this field have the opportunity to examine a variety of issues such as: the impact of state and federal policies on alcohol sales and distribution; changing market structure and marketing tactics; and the growth of related industries (e.g. input materials and retail distribution). Colorado State is well-positioned to support such research with its new established Liquid Arts Research Forum (LARF), a multi-disciplinary collaboration working with industry leaders.

Primary supervisors: Dr. Berning, Dr. Bonanno, Dr. Costanigro

Within each of these topic areas, the selected students will work closely with an inter-disciplinary team of faculty involved in applied research. The student will develop a skillset in the areas of applied policy analysis and micro econometric modeling. Additionally, the selected students may have the opportunity to perform both primary data collection as well as empirical analyses of secondary, restricted-access data. Direct interaction with diverse stakeholders will provide an opportunity to understand and evaluate the importance of applied research for effective policy recommendations. To learn more about these initiatives, please visit: https://foodsystems.colostate.edu  

Requirements: strong candidates will possess an innate curiosity and a passion for studying the economics of food systems. Students should have the desire and ability to develop their quantitative skills (including econometric), microeconomic foundations, and relevant policy analysis. Previous research experience, excellent written and oral communication, organizational skills, ability to work independently, and experience in any segment of the food system are desirable.

Graduate assistantship includes:

  • 2-4 years of a competitive stipend, commensurate with the student’s experience and engagement in research
  • 2-3 years of full tuition support
  • Full medical insurance
  • Potential for summer salary and travel funds to cover costs for academic conferences.

The student will be responsible for required graduate fees. CSU is an EO/EA/AA employer and conducts background checks on all final candidates.

The graduate program in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at CSU We offer rigorous coursework, coupled with training in applied research and an emphasis on close collaborations between faculty and students. Most of our students are directly involved in grants and projects in cooperation with government agencies and industry stakeholders.

Specific information about the program can be found at http://dare.agsci.colostate.edu/graduate/graduate-programs/

The research team of supervising faculty for these positions includes:

Josh Berning’s research interests include food and beverage marketing, how such marketing impacts consumer choices and their health outcomes, and the effects of related policy measures. Specific research topics include alcohol policy, nutrition labeling, and food marketing promotions. More recently he has developing research on the US beer industry. He works with a variety of data including experiments, surveys and secondary data sets.

Alessandro Bonanno’s work uses applied micro-econometric models to address research questions at the intersection of empirical industrial organization; food marketing; economics of food retailing; and food, health, and policy. He studies how consumers’ demand differs across products’ “health content” and consumer types, and how agents in the food systems can use strategically quality to compete with one another. He also investigates policy-relevant aspects of traditional and non-traditional food systems (retailers / food distribution channels), and their effects on different outcomes (food security, obesity, etc…).

 Marco Costanigro’s research agenda encompasses multiple aspects of the economics of information in food markets, more specifically how information is transferred from producers to consumers, and its effects on consumer behavior. His most prominent work relates to the study of reputation effects of brands and geographical indications and the marketing/policy implications of food labeling. His research couples experimental methods, advanced econometric analysis and often a good reason to go wine or beer tasting.

Becca Jablonski’s research focuses on understanding processes of rural and regional development, with an emphasis on identifying strategies to support entrepreneurship, improve agribusiness performance and enhance regional food systems. She is particularly interested in assessing the impacts of food system initiatives and strengthened rural-urban linkages to farmers, supply chain participants, and rural/regional economies. Dr. Jablonski is a co-leader of CSU’s Extension Food System Team.

Dawn Thilmany McFadden specializes in analyzing markets and consumer behavior surrounding local, organic and other value-added food market segments. She holds or has held leadership positions with the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, the Western Agricultural Economics Association, several USDA regional research committees, and served as a Farm Foundation Fellow. Her current projects include leading the CSU Extension Food Systems team, Colorado Building Farmers programs, Colorado MarketMaker in partnership with the Colorado Department of Agriculture and the Colorado Farmers Market Working group.

About DARE and CSU

DARE centers its research, teaching and outreach activities in defined areas of excellence: agricultural education, agribusiness management and food systems, the economics of water, land, energy and environment, and agricultural, food and resource policy. We are dedicated to, and appreciated for, engaging stakeholders in high-quality disciplinary and interdisciplinary research, as well as the ability to effectively communicate findings to the public and peers. Excellence in teaching and mentoring students is created with thoughtful and innovative curricular design, emphasizing experiential learning where appropriate and fostering student achievement.

Colorado State University is located in Fort Collins, Colorado, approximately 65 miles North of Denver. Fort Collins is at the base of the Rocky Mountain foothills, with ample opportunity for outdoor recreation.