Fall 2022

Oct 5
3:00-4:30
In-person/Online Only

Krishna Paudel

Title: TBA

 

Abstract - TBA

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September 30
3:00-4:30
In-person/Online Only

Dr. Murray Fulton

A Behavioral Model of Political Economy

 

Abstract - There is a strong sense currently that western democracies are unable to address their most urgent and critical challenges. Whether it is climate change, income inequality, water shortages, or lack of urban housing, governments appear to be incapable of taking the bold policy steps needed to address these major issues. The main roadblock to change appears to be political. While solutions exist to most of the problems, policy makers are unable to pursue them because of the political backlash that will be unleashed.


The argument developed in this presentation is that these policy breakdowns occur because the proposed policy solutions fundamentally alter society's underlying institutions or rules of the game, which in turn alter the existing power relationships and the distribution of income, both of which are valued. Policies are the result of decisions made by the elite — i.e., those people in society with political power. In this framework, policy formation is understood to rest on an institutional foundation, one that has been built up over time by previous elites for their own substantive purposes. This institutional foundation plays a key role in structuring the elite's decision-making. In addition. the elites are assumed to have a preference for the status quo due to loss aversion. Taken together, these two decision-making determinants — one macro and institutional and one micro and cognitive-based — combine to create a behavioural approach to political economy. This approach integrates the work of authors from numerous disciplines, including behavioural economics, cognitive psychology, political science, institutional theory, and transaction cost economics. 



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Spring 2022

June 21
3:00-4:30
In-person/Online Only

Dr. Simone Valle de Souza

A Comparative Choice Experiment with Leafy Green Consumers

 

Abstract - As technology evolves at a fast pace, consumers remain somewhat bound to traditional concepts of agricultural systems, showing adverse reactions to ag-tech developments. On the other hand, these very consumers state their appreciation for some of the most important improvements offered by ag-tech, such as easy access to year-round and consistent supply of higher-quality product. Information exchange between producers and consumers becomes key to ascertain the speed and direction of innovative technology development that meets consumer expectations and understanding. The emerging Indoor Agriculture (IA) industry is an example in which technology evolves rapidly, and billions of dollars are being invested in large-scale leafy green production systems. Some of the main attributes of this industry are associated with year-round production, consistent quality and supply, potentially pesticide-free and locally produced fresh produce, revitalization of local communities and lower carbon footprint. However, this industry struggles to grow, despite significant crop production research development, mostly because producers face the risk of large capital investments coupled with the uncertainty associated with consumer perceptions and acceptance of IA technology. Through a discreet choice experiment and latent class analysis three distinct groups of consumers with diverging preferences and willingness to pay for attributes were identified. Results show that although heterogeneity was significantly higher for production methods (i.e. IA, greenhouse and field farming) than product attributes, 55% of consumers accept the technology and are willing to pay a premium for attributes that IA offers. Penultimately, these results help producers to create marketing strategies that appropriately target consumers supportive of the enhanced production or product attributes achieved by urban-located indoor leafy food production systems, and the development of this industry which carries strong environmental and social advantages.

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March 4
3:00-4:30
Online Only

Maria Bowman

ERS, USDA

Cover crop practices, programs and soil health outcomes in the U.S.

Abstract - Maria will share findings from a recent ERS report on “Cover Crop Trends, Programs, and Practices in the United States”, including findings from the USDA Agricultural Resources Management survey on how cover crops are managed on corn, cotton, soybean, and wheat fields. She will also discuss the landscape of state and federal programs that support cover crop use in the U.S., present findings on soil health impacts of cover crops and costs of cover cropping from data from the Soil Health Partnership network, and talk about ERS’s emerging/ongoing research around the economics of cover crop adoption.

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April 8
3:00-4:30
Filley Hall 210

Andrew Plantinga

U.C. Santa Barbara

Title - Environmental Markets: Is the Promise of Coase Fulfilled?

 

Abstract - 

It has long been recognized that common-pool resources, if left unmanaged, tend to be inefficiently over-extracted.  This “problem of the commons" remains pervasive today as many natural resources around the world deplete at unprecedented rates.  In 1960, Ronald Coase proposed that the assignment of property rights to resources can counter over-extraction and improve welfare by providing incentives for more efficient resource use. These appealing predictions have led to the recommendation of property rights for nearly every common-pool resource - from fisheries, forests, water, to the global climate - and provide an intellectual foundation for the use of environmental markets more broadly.  The effectiveness of property rights, however, is predicated on a number of stylized theoretical assumptions, many of which are violated in practice.  Thus, it is an empirical question whether property rights will be effective under real-world conditions.  In this talk, I will review the empirical literature on the performance of environmental markets, including discussion of my recent paper on groundwater markets (Ayres, A.B., Meng, K.C., and A.J. Plantinga. 2021. Do Environmental Markets Improve on Open Access? Evidence from California Groundwater Rights. Journal of Political Economy 129(10):2817-2860).



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April 29
3:00-4:30
Filley Hall 210

Richard Sexton

U.C. Davis, Filley-Geary Lecture

Title - Modern Food Supply Chains and Meeting the Challenges of Feeding Ourselves Through the 21st Century

Abstract - Expert predictions on the magnitude of growth in food demand through the 21st Century differ considerably, but all agree that we will need to produce markedly more food due to population growth and rising incomes, especially in high-population countries. Our ability to do it, however, is in question due to possible declines in the rate of agricultural productivity growth, adverse impacts of climate change, and pest and biological resistance to traditional treatments. Despite this immense and existential challenge, governments worldwide are pursuing agricultural, climate, and energy policies that unequivocally reduce crop yields and supply-chain efficiency. This lecture assesses the food-supply challenges that society faces in the 21st Century and the impediments we have imposed upon ourselves to meeting those challenges.

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Past Seminars