Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Member Profile: David A. Fleming

David A. Fleming
PhD Candidate
Penn State University

AAEA Activities: Annual Meeting Selected Paper and Poster Presenter (2010 and 2011)

David A. Fleming is a PhD candidate in the Agricultural Regional and Environmental Economics (AEREC) program at Penn State University, where he also earned his Master’s degree. He is a research assistant at the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development (NERCRD), current Latin America and Caribbean Environmental Economics Program (LACEEP) grant holder, and former Fulbright scholar. Before starting graduate school he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering from the Pontificia Univesidad Catolica de Chile and worked in rural development programs for a NGO and for the Chilean government. He is currently in the job market looking for an academic or institutional position.

David's research interests cut across development and environmental economics, with a special focus on rural areas and developing countries. As part of his dissertation research, he spent the spring semester of 2011 in Chile doing field work to investigate socioeconomic and behavioral responses of rural householders to the 2010 Chilean Earthquake. In particular his research looked at the link between social capital and natural disasters in two different projects: the first one, based on surveys conducted across several rural communities affected by the earthquake, analyzes the importance of initial levels of social capital for the access and use of different coping strategies by rural households; and the second one, using artefactual field experiments (based on the well known “trust game”), investigates whether the aftermath of natural disasters can affect trustworthy behavior among villagers. His findings of the former project show that social capital does matter for the recovery of households from natural disasters, results that provide important empirical evidence to the economic literature about social capital and its role on development. On the other hand, his second project finds that a natural disaster can deteriorate trusting behavior within communities, an important consideration for policy makers aimed to plan recovery programs for regions affected by disasters.

Other research topics that David has also worked on include land based policies (such as the CRP in the United States), agricultural trade, and non-farm entrepreneurship. Part of this work has already been published in different peer reviewed journals.

Last September (2011), David attended the Belpasso International Summer School in Environmental and Resource Economics, and the XII LACEEP Workshop held in Panamá, where he presented some of the findings obtained from his field work in Chile. Some of these findings were also presented in July at the 2011 AAEA & NAREA Joint Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh.

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.

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