Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Member Profile: Ashok K. Mishra

Ashok K. Mishra
Louisiana State University

What motivated you to pursue Agricultural/Applied Economics as a profession?
My motivation to pursue agricultural economics stems from a class that I took as an undergraduate. I clearly recall that we used Paul Samuelson’s book “Economics”; I came to the conclusion that economics was a rapidly changing line of inquiry that requires people who are skilled in analyzing and interpreting economic data, and then using it to affect decisions of agents and/or policymakers. Agricultural Economics is an applied field (similar to finance and risk management, labor economics, environmental and natural resource economics, or public policy to name a few) covering many topics beyond agriculture. The field of agricultural economics provides flexibility and opportunities for agribusiness and economic development. I had an avid interest in economic development, particularly in labor economics. In my PhD program I was intrigued by a “Labor Economics” course taught by a professor who was a graduate of University of Chicago. I applied theories learned in that class to analyze farm household behavior and to understand the behavior of agricultural farm workers. And then like they say, the rest is history.

Why did you join AAEA, and how has membership in the Association impacted your professional development?
I joined AAEA 1988 when I started my MS degree program. I wanted to integrate myself into the profession and participate in networking with other professionals and publishing scientific work in the association’s professional journals (AJAE and AEPP). The profession has provided me with the opportunity to serve as a leader in various capacities (such as chairman of AAEA committees and editor of a journal). AAEA has helped me build my research program and present it to various groups not only in the US but throughout Asia and Europe. The annual meeting of the AAEA has also provided me with opportunities to meet with other economists. Through the profession and AAEA I was able to meet my future employers and research team members.

What advice would you give to an up and coming Agricultural/Applied Economist?
First, I would tell them to become part of a professional organization like AAEA. Organizations like AAEA will continue to have a significant impact on domestic and international affairs. This will give way to meeting people with similar research interests and network with others who have established a mark on the profession. Second, build your program of research that has both depth and breadth. Third, tackle economic problems in a systematic fashion. Fourth, applied economists are well trained in how to analyze practical problems using sound economic theory. So, be sure to acquire the requisite skills in economic theory. Finally, read “Economist” magazine.

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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