Aurélie Harou is a third year PhD student in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University. She holds a BSc in Environmental Science and Geography from the University of Sussex at Brighton where she conducted research on the relationship between rainfall off the eastern coast of Africa and larger climatic events including El Nino and the Dipole Mode for her dissertation. After working as a GIS analyst on flood insurance mapping in the DC metropolitan area, Aurélie pursued a MS in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics at the University of California at Davis. Finding it difficult to leave northern California, she worked for two years in Berkeley in an economics consulting firm. As her high school motto, non sibi, began to resonate with her more deeply, she decided to leave the Bay Area to work on a year-long humanitarian food security project in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Having experienced the critical need for researchers to tackle important issues that the busy schedules of practitioners rarely permit, she decided to return to graduate school to study development microeconomics.
Aurélie’s present research focuses on understanding the decisions and impacts of smallholders’ participation in food value chains and their access to markets. More specifically, she is looking at the intra-household effects of exogenous demand shocks on pineapple growers in southern Ghana and whether farmer based organization participation has any effect on such shocks. She is also part of a larger team at Cornell and a host of non-governmental organizations conducting a cross-country evaluation of local and regional procurement of food aid on suppliers and beneficiaries. She hopes her work will complement and contribute to the many researchers, actors, and policy makers devoted to enhancing food security and eradicating poverty. In the future, Aurélie plans to continue to dedicate her research agenda to these goals by working with practitioners to ameliorate the lives of the poor as well as help policy makers shape their objectives by trying to unravel how future climatic changes, scarce resources, and environmental degradation might affect global food security and the most vulnerable populations.
This post is part of an ongoing series of profiles of AAEA members. Have a suggestion for a future profile? Send them to Info@aaea.org.