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AAEA at 2020 ASSA Annual Meeting

T.W. Schultz Memorial Lecture

Susan Athey, Stanford University
“Experimental Design and Analysis Using Machine Learning”

Friday, January 3, 2020
6:15 pm - 8:45 pm
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, Coronado B

Susan Athey is the Economics of Technology Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business. She received her bachelor’s degree from Duke University and her PhD from Stanford, and she holds an honorary doctorate from Duke University. She previously taught at the economics departments at MIT, Stanford and Harvard. Her current research focuses on the economics of digitization, marketplace design, and the intersection of econometrics and machine learning. She has worked on several application areas, including timber auctions, internet search, online advertising, the news media, and the application of digital technology to social impact applications. As one of the first “tech economists,” she served as consulting chief economist for Microsoft Corporation for six years, and now serves on the boards of Expedia, Lending Club, Rover, Turo, and Ripple, as well as non-profit Innovations for Poverty Action. She also serves as a long-term advisor to the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, helping architect and implement their auction-based pricing system. She is the director of the Shared Prosperity and Innovation Initiative at Stanford GSB, and associate director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence.

Reception will immediately follow the presentation

AAEA Networking Reception

Saturday, January 4, 2020
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, Coronado D

Friday, January 3

Studying Innovation in Agriculture – New Data and New Tools

10:15 am - 12:15 pm
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, Mission Beach A

Organizer: Matthew Clancy, Iowa State University

Moderator: GianCarlo Moschini, Iowa State University

Discussant: Brian Wright, University of California, Berkeley

Description: The role of research and development (R&D) in agriculture has long been recognized as critical, and there is a large literature linking agricultural productivity gains to R&D spending by the public and private sectors. In a world that confronts the challenges of climate change and a growing population, continued innovation to sustain productivity gains in agriculture will be of paramount importance. However, over the last few decades, major changes to the agricultural R&D landscape have been mounting. This session features three papers presenting new tools and datasets for exploring the changing landscape of agricultural R&D.


  • Knowledge Spillovers in Agricultural Innovation: Evidence from Patents
    Matthew Clancy, Iowa State University, Paul Heisey, USDA Economic Research Service, Yongjie Ji, Iowa State University, and GianCarlo Moschini, Iowa State University
  • How Do Patents Shape Global Value Chains? International and Domestic Patenting and Value-Added Trade
    Nikolas J. Zolas, Center for Economic Studies, United States Census Bureau, and Travis J. Lybbert, University of California, Davis
  • Venture Capital, Startups, and R&D for Agriculture and Food
    Felipe De Figueiredo Silva, University of California, Berkeley, and Gregory D. Graff, Colorado State University

Automation and Digitalization in Agriculture

2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, Mission Beach A

Organizers: Xiaoxue Du, University of Idaho
Genevieve Nguyen, Sociales et de Gestion Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées

Description: The agri-food sector has stepped into the era of automation and digitalization: automatic milking systems are quietly gaining popularity, machinery blueberry harvesters are replacing manual labor, drones are being used to support precision farming, etc. In this session, we discuss several key issues on automation and digitalization in agriculture.


  • Toward Economic Foundations of Supply and Demand for Automation in Production Agriculture
    David A. Hennessy, Michigan State University
  • Adoption of Mechanization Solutions for Harvesting Fresh Market Blueberries
    R. Karina Gallardo, Washington State University, Liang Lu, University of Idaho, and Jill McCluskey, Washington State University
  • A General Equilibrium Model of Technology Adoption-Theory and Evidences from Robotic Milking Systems in Idaho
    Xiaoxue Du, University of Idaho, Thomas Reardon, Michigan State University, Hernan Tejeda, University of Idaho, and Philip Watson, University of Idaho
  • New Outsourced Services and Precision Farming in France
    Geneviève Nguyen, Sociales et de Gestion Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées, J. Brailly, UMR INRA-AGIR, and F. Purseigle, INP-ENSAT

Saturday, January 4

Fertility in a Changing Environment: Climate Change, Migration, and Social Networks

8:00 am - 10:00 am
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, Mission Beach A

Organizer: Joyce Chen, The Ohio State University

Discussant: Mark Rosenzweig, Yale University

Description: Demographic trends are a key determinant of the growth path for every economy, affecting everything from the size of the labor force to the rate of technological progress. While the broad features of demographic transition are well-understood, there is a great deal of heterogeneity in how fertility decisions respond to changing socio-economic conditions. Children are generally thought to be a normal good, suggesting that fertility will increase with income. However, the process of economic growth tends to increase the cost of raising children, as both women’s labor force participation and the relative returns to child quality increase. These countervailing pressures imply that the net effect on fertility is complex and not easily predicted.


  • It’s Raining Babies? Flooding and Fertility Choices in Bangladesh
    Brian C. Thiede, Pennsylvania State University, Joyce J. Chen, The Ohio State University, Valerie Mueller, Arizona State University, and Yuanyuan Jia, The Ohio State University
  • Mobility Effects on Fertility Decisions: A Case Study using the Mexico Family Life Survey
    Katerine Y. Ramirez Nieto, The Ohio State University
  • Social Networks and Women’s Reproductive Health Choices in India
    S Anukriti, Boston College, Catalina Herrera-Almanza, Northeastern University, Mahesh Karra, Boston University, Praveen K. Pathak, University of Delhi

Women in Economics - Perspectives and New Initiatives from Five Professional Associations

8:00 am - 10:00 am
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, Coronado E
Hosted by: Agricultural & Applied Economics Association,
American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association,
and American Finance Association

Panelists: Karen Pence, Federal Reserve Board
Renee Adams, University of Oxford
Simanti Banerjee, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Vicki Bogan, Cornell University
Judith Chevalier, Yale University
Guido Friebel, Goethe University

Description:  This panel brings together representatives from the committees for women or under-represented minorities for five professional associations (AEA, AFA, AAEFA, AREUEA, EEA).  Panel members will discuss the situation for women in economics from the perspective of their associations, and talk about initiatives and interventions that appear to be successful in promoting diversity and inclusion.

Market Structure and Pricing in Food Markets

10:15 am - 12:15 pm
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, Mission Beach A

Organizer: Stephen F. Hamilton, California Polytechnic State University

Moderator: Stephen F. Hamilton, California Polytechnic State University

Description: The recent rise in market concentration has dramatically altered the competitive landscape of food markets in the United States. Over the last several decades, market concentration has been increasing in agricultural procurement, food processing, and retailing sectors, raising concerns about reduced price competition and enhanced opportunities to exploit market power in the farm product markets and consumer markets that bookend an increasingly consolidated food distribution system. On the consumer side of the food system, supermarkets have become the driving force of transformation in the food industry through trends in selling formats towards increased prominence of large national chains in urban and rural markets, growing numbers of warehouse clubs and supercenters, and greater reliance on food banks to remove food from the marketing channel to ration consumer markets and support higher retail prices. On the farm production side of the food system, food distribution has become increasingly localized and geographically concentrated, allowing food processors greater ability to depress farm prices in agricultural procurement markets.


  • Food Retailing in Rural America: Growth of National Chains and the Viability of Independent Stores
    Metin Çakır, University of Minnesota, Clare Cho, USDA Economic Research Service, and Xiangwen Kong
  • The Effect of Competition on Pricing and Product Positioning: Evidence from Wholesale Club Entry
    Christoph Bauner, University of Massachusetts, and Emily Wang, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Spatial Competition and Pricing in Agricultural Procurement Markets: Evidence from the Corn Market in Indiana
    Jinho Jung,
    Purdue University, Juan Sesmero, Purdue University, and Ralph Siebert, Purdue University
  • Food Waste, Food Banks, and Damaged Goods
    Timothy J. Richards,
    Arizona State University, John Lowery, and Stephen F. Hamilton, California Polytechnic State University

Farmer Adaptations to Climate and Environmental Change

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, Mission Beach A

Organizer: Robert Chambers, University of Maryland

Discussant: David Zilberman, University of California, Berkeley

Description: Climate change is projected to become a major disruptor of the agricultural sector. It is therefore critical to generate an in-depth understanding of the nature and the constraints affecting farmer’s ability to cope and adapt to changing environmental conditions. This session brings together experts in this area, harnessing new data sets and developing new approaches to better understand farmer adaptation to climate change. The session is comprised of 3 papers. The first explores how water property rights influence long-term decision making in agriculture, improving our understanding of inter-temporal decision-making in a changing climate. The second paper proposes a novel econometric approach to implicitly capture farmer adaptations to recent climatic trends. Such methodological advances are critical for detecting regions and agricultural systems that may be slow to adapt. The third paper revisits the drivers of the slowdown in crop yields in Western Europe and assesses whether these trends can be unequivocally attributed to climatic trends. In order to engage the audience, each presenter will ask a simple binary question before his/her presentation to gauge the participants’ priors regarding the presentation to follow (e.g. what share of the audience believes a stylized result regarding the paper to be presented).


  • Security of Property Rights and Long-Term Agricultural Investments: Drought, Water Rights, and Perennial Cropping Decisions in California
    Frances C. Moore, University of California, Davis and Jesus Arellano Gonzalez, University of California, Davis
  • Do climate signals matter? Evidence from agriculture
    Pierre Mérel, University of California, Davis, Matthew Gammans, University of California, Davis, and Xiaomeng Cui, Jinan University
  • Are Yields Slowing Down Due to Recent Climate Trends? Evidence from a Farm-level Panel in France?
    Simone Pieralli
    Massey University, New Zealand, and Ariel Ortiz-Bobea, Cornell University

Climate Change Adaptation in Developing Countries: Constraints on Adaptation and Mechanisms for Relaxing Them

2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, Mission Beach A

Organizer: Vis Taraz, Smith College

Moderator: Vis Taraz, Smith College

Discussant: John Hoddinott, Cornell University

Description: As climate change accelerates, its impacts will be felt on agriculture around the globe. The IPCC predicts that it is likely or very likely that by the end of the century we will see increases in temperature, longer and more frequent heat waves, and longer and more frequent droughts (IPCC 2013). Increased temperatures, heat waves and droughts have all been shown to have negative impacts on agricultural yields (Mehrabi & Ramankutty 2017, Schlenker & Roberts 2009, Zampieri et al 2017). Agricultural households in low‐ and middle‐income countries are likely to suffer especially substantial damages, due to their location in low latitudes and their limited access to protective assets and infrastructure. Therefore, it is critical to understand what the constraints to climate change adaptation are for these households, and what mechanisms and policies can relax these constraints.


  • Credit Access, Migration, and Climate Change Adaptation in Rural Bangladesh
    Joyce Chen, The Ohio State University and Jon Einar Flatnes, The Ohio State University
  • Do Social Protection Programs Foster Short‐term and Long‐term Migration Adaptation Strategies?
    Valerie Mueller, Arizona State University, Clark Gray, UNC Chapel Hill, Sudhanshu Handa, UNC Chapel
    , and David Seidenfeld, American Institutes of Research
  • Has climate change driven structural transformation in India?
    Maggie Liu, Smith College, Yogita Shamdasani, University of Pittsburgh, and Vis Taraz, Smith College