David Bessler has contributed to agricultural and applied economics through his research and mentoring activities associated with the following questions: what do we know about the agricultural economy and what convinces us that what we know is useful for making decisions? The pursuit of answers has taken him into three related areas of inquiry: (1) the representation and evaluation of probabilistic beliefs; (2) study and application of algorithms of inductive causation; and (3) the generation and evaluation of forecasts. The latter being his ultimate arbitrator of what is useful knowledge.
Application of ideas emanating from the above areas by Bessler, his students and colleagues, are found in the broad areas of price discovery, decision-making, and the macroeconomics of agriculture. As we generally observe the economy by means of non-experimental data as it evolves through time, much of his work has been in the area of time series econometrics.
He has directed the PhD studies of 33 students, the MS work of 13 students and otherwise taught over 1600 students at Purdue University and Texas A&M University over a 33 year career.
His own undergraduate studies were in Economics at the University of Arizona; his Master’s was in Agricultural Economics also at Arizona. His PhD is from the University of California at Davis.