Food and Agricultural Economics


The Food and Agricultural Economics (FAE) field develops student expertise in applying economic theory and empirical methods to economic and management problems in agricultural and food systems. Core methods include applied econometric analysis of commodity production, supply, demand, and price determination, as well as experimental economic methods and quantitative policy analysis. Applications to real-world settings are emphasized, enabling students to conduct rigorous and policy-relevant applied research.


Faculty working in the FAE field have expertise in the economics of agricultural production, agribusiness management, consumer choice, behavioral economics, experimental economics, applied econometrics, quantitative policy analysis, and the industrial organization of the food system. Faculty in the field collaborate extensively with graduate students and those working in other fields across the Department, as well as researchers from other disciplines.


FAE research programs cover a broad range of topics that are of relevance to agri-food systems. Examples include evaluating agricultural production methods, studying the structure of food systems to enhance management practices and improve the economic performance of markets and industries, conducting economic experiments to better understand agricultural and food decision making, and analyzing the economic impacts of agricultural and food policies. Generated knowledge informs a wide array of choices made by producers, consumers, and policymakers.

Course Programs

Ph.D. students with a major field in FAE take any two courses from the following list: 

  • AFRE 817 Political Economy of Agricultural and Trade Policy
  • AFRE 841 Analysis of Food System Organization and Performance
  • AFRE 891 Experimental Methods in Food and Agricultural Economics

They complete the field by taking:

  • AFRE 932 Information Economics and Institutions in Agriculture and Natural Resources

Note: Course substitutions for AFRE 932 will be considered with the approval of the student’s guidance committee and the Graduate Program Director. 

Ph.D. students can also choose from a range of other courses, both in and outside the Department, to support their FAE interests and meet other program course requirements. 

Master’s students with an interest in food and agricultural economics put together a suitable course program in conjunction with their major professor and guidance committee. 

FAE students interested in regional economic issues can build a program in that area by following the recommendations for specializing in Regional Economics and State and Local Government Policy.