Colorado State University
What motivated you to pursue Agricultural/Applied Economics as a profession?
I was initially motivated by my desire to improve decision making in the Federal public land management agencies for which I worked; first Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and then U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. At the time few people in BLM thought economics could help them understand the trade offs they were facing. They thought using Input-Output models to quantify the income and employment effects of their management actions was all that economics could offer. Some people in Federal public land management agencies were downright hostile to the idea that economics could provide insights on economic efficiency of visitor use rationing and decisions on whether it was economically efficient to recommend an area as wilderness. I was hopeful if I used some agency data to show BLM how it could improve it decision making and got it published in a peer reviewed scientific journal, it might at least nudge them into considering economics in their decision making. These articles were some of my first journal articles.
Why did you join AAEA, and how has membership in the Association impacted your professional development?
I joined AAEA because some of the best articles in non market valuation were coming out in AJAE. As such I decided to become a member and get the journal. After becoming a member I learned more about the annual meetings. When possible I began attending the meetings, and was always impressed with the high caliber of the papers presented. The journal articles and the meetings papers set the standard that I was striving for in my articles whether for AJAE or for other journals. The annual meetings also provided opportunities to meet other economists, some of which eventually became coauthors.
What advice would you give to an up and coming Agricultural/Applied Economist?
Treat your graduate students like future colleagues and they will be. Don't be disappointed if your articles don't have an immediate impact, they eventually will, and sometimes in ways you never expected. Your articles will be waiting there in the literature for that particular problem to rise to the top of the policy agenda or for a receptive policy maker to come along and seize upon your ideas.
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.