‘Metrics Monday: Food Aid, Interactions as IVs, and Spurious Findings

It’s rare that I can combine my two primary interests–applied econometrics and food policy–in one post, and I am particularly happy to be able to do just that with this post.

In 2014, Nathan Nunn and Nancy Qian published an article in the American Economic Review where they purportedly showed that US food aid deliveries caused conflict in recipient countries. Here is the abstract of their article:

We study the effect of US food aid on conflict in recipient countries. Our analysis exploits time variation in food aid shipments due to changes in U.S. wheat production and cross-sectional variation in a country’s tendency to receive any U.S. food aid. According to our estimates, an increase in U.S. food aid increases the incidence and duration of civil conflicts, but has no robust effect on inter-state conflicts or the onset of civil conflicts. We also provide suggestive evidence that the effects are most pronounced in countries with a recent history of civil conflict.

Specifically, Nunn and Qian estimate the following two-stage least squares specification: Continue reading

Congrats, APEC PhDs!

It is hard to believe that another academic year–my fourth at the University of Minnesota–has come and gone. Graduate commencement for students in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences was held on Friday, April 28, and given that this is my fourth year at Minnesota, my first batch of PhD students was graduating this year.

The Department of Applied Economics minted a number of new PhDs this year, who all deserve congratulations for the tremendous amount of work they have done and for their contributions to research in applied economics.

For my part, I am particularly excited about the three of my students who have successfully defended and are about to start their research careers. Starting this summer, Continue reading

Review of Timothy Ogden’s “Experimental Conversations” Forthcoming

A few months ago Timothy Ogden sent me a copy of his new book, Experimental Conversations, for review.

I am happy to note that a review of it, which I wrote with University of Minnesota Applied Economics PhD student Jeff Bloem (if you are interested in development but don’t already read Jeff’s blog, you really should) is now forthcoming in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.

You can read an ungated version of it here.