Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Member Profile: Holly Wang

Dr. Holly Wang’s expertise in the world of agricultural economics is sought after on two continents. Wang, in addition to her work as a Professor at Purdue University, is a Guest Professor at the Center for Agricultural Development at Zhejiang University in her native country of China.

Wang has spent a good part of her scholarly career researching agricultural economic issues in China and has had several papers published on topics in that country, including this year with “Benefit or Damage? The Productivity Effects of the FDI in the Chinese Food Industry” and “The Market Power in the Chinese Wine Industry.” It’s work Wang says she continues to do as China’s large food market adapts with an increased demand in food quality.

“I’ve been conducting research on market demand and consumer preference with a focus on Chinese consumers’ preference for attributes like food safety, biotechnology, county of origin, and online fresh food,” Wang says. “On the other hand, the Chinese government aims to improve its agricultural production and rural income, so there is a demand from the government, the industry and the public in both China and the United States to research Chinese food production and consumption.”

Wang was part of starting the AAEA China Section in 2009, which at the time was the first section dedicated to a particular country or region. Wang was elected to the Board for a term for 2014 -2017 and served as an Executive Board liaison for the section later. She is also involved in the CWAE Section and served on it as Vice Chair.

“I’m fortunate to be able to work closely with some of our most productive colleagues in the profession,” Wang said. As for her time on the board, Wang is proud of the “many new activities and new business methods” that are now part of AAEA. “The one I feel most excited about is the communications emphasis.”

And Wang is an active participant in the communications strategy. She was recently interviewed by the China Global Television Network on how technology is helping China’s agricultural growth. It was the third time in as many years Wang has been interviewed on that global stage.

“The focus of the interview is often the latest Chinese policy,” Wang said, “and the call often comes the day before the live interview. Understanding the broader impact when reaching an audience of millions, a researcher needs to be willing to accept the stress of very short notices and handle the extra demand away from research.

Staying informed with new public attention on agricultural economics related issues, and relying on our economics training and logic reasoning are the two factors the media need.”

While no longer on the AAEA Executive Board, Wang is still playing an active role within AAEA. And, as a former Board member, she has some advice for students and young career professionals within the Association:

“AAEA takes special care of students and junior professionals through things like scholarships, travel grants, networking events and mentor programs. The best way to maximize the benefit from these opportunities is to get more involved, not only presenting at the annual meetings but also serving on a committee or a section at a position that fits your time budget.”

Get to know AAEA Members:
Holly Wang: “I have been bounded to agricultural economics in ways I can’t even explain.  Growing up in central Beijing with an undergraduate degree in business, I thought I entered the AgEc PhD program only because I received its RA after no funding hope from MBA programs.  Recently I found a big surprise in my mother’s condo-- my very first research paper from sophomore year, hand written on latticed paper in Chinese, “The relationship between staple food consumption and income for Beijing residents.” It was based on a simple regression analysis using a small sample in a neighborhood near campus where I did interviews!  Now I have a new story if you ask me why I chose agricultural economics. LOL.”

If you would like to be part of the Member Profiles, or would like to nominate a colleague, please contact Jay Saunders in the AAEA Business Office (jsaunders@aaea.org).

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