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Big Data and Near-Real-Time Monitoring of Food Emergencies

Over 15 researchers/discussants present in AAEA session at 2021 ASSA

It’s no secred that today’s economic climate has drastically shifted due to COVID-19. In an AAEA session taking place virtually for the 2021 ASSA Annual Meeting, AAEA members and researchers will examine food insecurity with new technology, the poverty and malnutrition indicators, whether or not cell phone metadata can predict food security, and the vegetation index.

The organizer of the session, Rob Vos from the International Food Policy Research Institute says, “Even before COVID-19, global hunger was on the rise, especially where livelihoods are affected by conflict, climate change and economic collapse. While the risk factors are known, their timely monitoring is tedious, but badly needed. This session should show us the prospects of filling this void and save lives.”

Papers in this session:

Predicting Food Insecurity with Machine Learning

  • Kathy Baylis, University of Illinois
  • Erin Lentz, University of Texas-Austin
  • Hope Michelson, University of Illinois

Forecasting Correlated Poverty and Malnutrition Indicators for Targeting, Monitoring and Evaluation Purposes

  • Linden McBride, St. Mary's College
  • Christopher B. Barrett, Cornell University
  • Christopher Browne, Cornell University
  • Leiqiu Hu, University of Alabama
  • Yanyan Liu, International Food Policy Research Institute

Digital Breadcrumbs & Dietary Diversity: Can Mobile Phone Metadata Predict Food Security

  • Oscar Barriga Cabanillas, University of California-Davis
  • Joshua Blumenstock, University of California-Berkeley
  • Daniel Putman, University of California-Davis
  • Travis Lybbert, University of California-Davis

Dynamic Poverty Prediction with Vegetation Index

  • Binh Tang, Cornell University
  • Ying Sun, Cornell University
  • Yanyan Liu, International Food Policy Research Institute
  • David Matteson, Non-affiliated

If you are interested in virtually attending this session on January 4, 2021 from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm EST with a complimentary media registration, please contact Allison Ware in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices and the online open access publication series Applied Economics Teaching Resources. To learn more, visit

Contact: Allison Ware
Senior Communications Manager
(414) 918-3190