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Philip Garcia

Phil Garcia is the Thomas A. Hieronymus Distinguished Chair in Futures Markets in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  After earning an A.B. from Occidental College in economics and working three years in the Peace Corps, he received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University in agricultural economics. Excellence in research and graduate education characterizes Phil’s career. He has an exceptional record of continuous scholarly contributions, making landmark contributions to understanding agricultural commodity markets, and distinguishing himself as a graduate educator.  Phil is a highly productive researcher with over 250 publications, including 117 journal articles, 21 appearing in the AJAE.  His works have generated over 3,750 GS citations (h=37).

Phil has conducted path-breaking research on behavior and performance in commodity markets. His most lasting contributions are in two areas—rational pricing and forecast assessment, and convergence in futures markets. Phil’s research has emphasized the assessment of forward-looking pricing mechanisms and price forecasting procedures in out-of-sample frameworks. Early in his career, Phil embarked on investigating rationality in pricing and forecast evaluation in agricultural futures markets. Innovative work followed on pricing efficiency of futures markets including a 1988 AJAE article, which refined and measured rationality in commodity markets. Phil has continued to emphasize rigorous out-of-sample evaluation when assessing hedging, rationality of option pricing and variance forecasting, and commodity price forecasting.

During 2005-2010, futures contracts expired up to 35% above cash prices in U.S. grain markets, generating the largest challenge to the use of futures markets in the last 50 years. Phil and his colleagues’ non-convergence investigations culminated in a 2015 AJAE article that developed a dynamic rational expectations model of commodity storage to explain non-convergence. Non-convergence was generated by disequilibrium between the storage rate for physical grain and the exchange-established storage rate paid to holders of the delivery instrument for the futures contracts. The 2015 AJAE article serves as a benchmark in discussions of contract design and market performance. The research led to the AAEA 2014 Quality of Communication and 2016 Quality of Research Discovery Awards.

Teaching and graduate education are fundamental components of Phil’s portfolio. His courses in price analysis and research writing focus on problem solving and professional diagonal. With Carl Nelson, Phil developed and instructs an innovative and effective Ph.D. course which links research and writing. The course, which is required and establishes a common framework for students, emphasizes that effective problem solving is stimulated by regular writing and defending research arguments. Phil has shared these experiences at conferences and in a 2003 RAE article. 

Phil is a remarkable advisor and mentor.  He has directed 19 M.S. theses and 28 Ph.D. dissertations. Six theses were recognized by the Department as outstanding and submitted to the AAEA competition. Koontz’s 1991 Ph.D. dissertation was awarded AAEA honorable mention. Phil also has served on 90 additional dissertation/thesis committees. Based on student research, he has coauthored 45 journal articles, and published an additional 25 articles with students on related research. Eleven of these publications, spanning 1982 to 2016, appear in the AJAE. As the Hieronymus Chair, Phil supports graduate education through assistantships, seminars, CME internships, and sponsoring conference participation. Since 2003, students have presented over 60 conference papers on commodity markets.

With his record, it is no surprise that Phil has been recognized as an outstanding educator. Phil has received the flagship College award (Funk Award) for combined teaching, research and outreach contributions. In 2016, he also won the AAEA Graduate Teaching Award. Importantly, students who Phil has advised and mentored have taken academic positions, and assumed leadership roles in government and international institutions. Others have highly successful careers in agribusiness. These scholars and leaders provide an enormous and lasting academic legacy.