Selected Ongoing Research Projects

(as of January 22, 2020)

A. Risk, Risk Management, and New Technology

1. The Impact of Crop Insurance on Crop Yield as well as Land and Water Uses

with Yijia Li (UIUC), Madhu Khanna (UIUC), Prasenjit Ghosh (Auburn), Emir Malikov (U of Nevada, Las Vegas), John Ng’ombe (Auburn), and Joel Cuffey (Auburn)

In this project we examine how the presence of crop insurance affect crop yields as well as farmers’ land-use and irrigation decisions.

This project is partially supported by Production Agriculture Research Funding Program, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station.


2. ‘Bee’ Productive and ‘Bee’ Safe: A Study of Apiculture Productivity and Apiculture Pilot Insurance Program

with Brittney Goodrich (Auburn), Hayes Grogan (Auburn), Karen Rennich (U. of Maryland), Nathalie Steinhauer (U. of Maryland), and Dennis  vanEngelsdorp (U. of Maryland)

In this project we examine the determinants of U.S. apiculture productivity and the efficacy of the recently expanded Apiculture Pilot Insurance Program. We will explore the program’s alternative designs that may enhance risk management strategies for U.S. apiculture.

This project is funded by an AAES Award for Agricultural Research Enhancement, Exploration and Development (AAES-AgR-SEED), Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn University.


3. Identifying Adaptation of U.S. Agriculture to Climate Change: A Modified Long-Difference Approach

In this project I review existing studies on identifying the magnitude of U.S. agriculture’s adaptation to climate change and propose a modified long-difference approach to quantify the magnitude.



B. Conservation Economics and Bioenergy Economics

4. Grassland Easement Evaluation and Acquisition

with David A. Hennessy (Michigan State), Hongli Feng (Michigan State), Gaurav Arora (Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi, India), and Chuck Loesch (USFWS)

In this project we explore grassland easement evaluation and cost-effective easement acquisition by using a real option approach. Numerical simulations will be calibrated to the Prairie Pothole Region in the Dakotas to study cost-effective easement acquisition to maximize duck pair protection under a given easement acquisition budget.

This project is partially supported by the U.S. Geological Survey.


5. Conservation Reserve Program, Renewable Energy, Land-use Change, and Biodiversity

with Brian Cornish (Auburn), Yijia Li (UIUC), and Madhu Khanna (UIUC)

This project examines how evolution of biofuel production, wind farms, pesticide uses, and Conservation Reserve Program affects land-use change and biodiversity. Studies under this project are nationwide analyses based on fine scale data for land use, chemical use, ethanol plants, wind farms, and biodiversity.


6. Incentivizing Feedstock Supply for the Bioeconomy:  Implications for Ecosystem Services and Policy Design

with Mohit Anand (Miles College), Fahd Majeed (UIUC), Madhu Khanna (UIUC), and Evan DeLucia (UIUC)

The purpose of this project is to combine innovative economic and ecological modeling to identify the economic barriers to biomass production, to evaluate the effectiveness of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) in stimulating biomass market expansion, and to explore the economic and ecosystem service implications of biomass production.

This project is partially supported by a USDA/NIFA award.



C. Behavioral and Experimental Economics of Food Waste

7. Ambiguity, Date Labels, and Food Waste

with Norbert Wilson (Tufts), Carter Weis (Cornell), and Roshell Rosales Aguilar (Auburn)

In this project my colleagues and I are studying how people’s risk and ambiguity preferences will affect their food waste behavior. We are also interested in examining how food date labels (e.g., ‘use by’ and ‘best by’) play a role in affecting food waste behavior in the context of people’s risk and ambiguity preferences.

This project is partially supported by a USDA/NIFA award.



D. Agricultural Sustainability in the Food-Energy-Water Nexus

8. INFEWS U.S.-China: Integrated Systems Modeling for Sustainable FEW Nexus under Multi-factor Global Changes: Innovative Comparison between the Yellow River and Mississippi River Basins

with Hanqin Tian (Auburn, Ecology), Shufen Pan (Auburn, GIS/remote sensing), and Chaoqun Lu (Iowa State, Ecology)

As an economist on the team, my role is to develop an economic optimization model to evaluate the economic tradeoffs between resource inputs and product returns, targeted at optimizing food-energy-water provision in sub-basins and the entire Mississippi River Basin as a whole.

This project is supported by National Science Foundation (Award number: 1903722; award abstract available at:


9. Quick Serve Restaurant Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Study: The Effectiveness and the Business Value of RFID Tagged Food Items through the Supply Chain

with Justin Patton (Auburn), Amit Morey (Auburn), Paul Patterson (Auburn), Roshell Rosales Aguilar (Auburn), Timothy Richards (Arizona State), and others.

This project attempts to examine the impact of RFID technology adoption on the productivity and financial performance of quick serve restaurants as well as on food losses through the supply chain.

This project is partially supported by the RFID Lab at Auburn University.



E. Research Related with Teaching and Advising

10. Aiming a Smooth Ride on a Rocky Road: A Survey on the PhD Study Experience of 2014-2020 SAEA Emerging Scholar Award Winners

with Jerrod Penn (LSU) and Loka Ashwood (Auburn)

In this project we will conduct semi-structured interviews with the 21 Southern Agricultural Economics Association (SAEA) Emerging Scholar Award Winners (awarded over 2014-2020) regarding their PhD study experience. We expect to identify some insights from these interviews to assist current PhD students in agricultural economics in better navigating through their 4 to 6 years of PhD study. The outcome of this project, an article targeted to Applied Economics Teaching Resources (AETR), should be of interest to major professors as well.