Economic Development Research
Cornell has a hard-earned, global reputation for leadership in economic development scholarship and outreach. From muddy-boots work in developing country agriculture, to the development of seminal theories and empirical methods in the social sciences, to the discovery of break-through technologies that improve lives and livelihoods, to an extraordinarily active Public Service Center and extensive local involvement through its cooperative extension network, Cornell has long encouraged leading-edge research and action to benefit the least fortunate in our community and our world. Much of this work fosters cross-disciplinary and cross-border learning essential to help guide public and private decision-makers at local, state, national and international levels as they strive to help struggling families enjoy sustainable improvements in standards of living. In its Economic Development Programs, ACSF strives to continue this tradition of rigorous scholarship that is deeply engaged with and highly relevant to the practical challenge of expanding spheres of prosperity in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner.
Key Campus Partners: Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research,
Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, Center for the Study of Inequality, Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture, and Development, Cornell Population Program, Institute for Computational Sustainability, Institute for the Social Sciences, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies
More details can be obtained from the listed individuals, a subset of those engaged, or by contacting Wendy Wolford, ACSF's Faculty Director for Economic Development Programs. This list of topics will grow over time, so we hope you will come back often.
(back to ACSF Research)
Topics: Biodiversity and Development | Climate Change Adaptation | Community Empowerment
Crop and Livestock Growth | Food Systems | Human Health | Jobs and the Workforce
Pro-Poor Financial Systems | Social Entrepreneurship | Water Management
Locations rich in endemic species largely overlap with low-income rural areas, inextricably linking rural development and biodiversity conservation concerns. Cornell faculty work on issues such as ecoagriculture, reconciling wildlife conservation and rural development, or marine protected areas in China, Kenya, Mexico, Panama, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, etc.
(Chris Barrett, Louise Buck, Jon Conrad, Drew Harvell, Karim-Aly Kassam, Jim Lassoie, Alice Pell, Bill Schulze, Alex Travis, Kelly Zamudio)
Several research teams investigate different aspects of adaptation to and mitigation of climate change in the low-income tropics, ranging from energy-related issues in Latin America, to livestock and maize systems in east Africa, to corals and coastal livelihoods in the Caribbean.
(Chris Barrett, Laura Harrington, Drew Harvell, David Lee, Natalie Mahowald, Phil McMichael, Dick Miller, Rebecca Nelson, Alison Power, Susan Riha, Kelly Zamudio)
The institutional arrangements by which communities allocate scarce resources and set and enforce rules shape the development experience. Many Cornell faculty study the institutions of development, from local institutions of land tenure and community groups, to national political economy and multinational institutions. China, Ghana, India, Kenya, Madagascar, South Africa, and Sri Lanka, are sites of current activity.
(Chris Barrett, Kaushik Basu, Ralph Christy, Chuck Geisler, Ravi Kanbur, Jim Lassoie, Kevin Morrison, Victor Nee, David Pelletier, Terry Tucker, Nic van de Walle)
Cornell has long been a key player in sustainable productivity growth in developing country agriculture. Work ranges from plant breeding for stress tolerance and nutritional enhancement, to intellectual property, to improved natural resources management in agriculture, all in varied agroecosystems.
(Chris Barrett, Ronnie Coffman, John Duxbury, Steve Kresovich, Julie Lauren, Bill Lesser, Susan McCouch, Michael Milgroom, Rebecca Nelson, Alice Pell, KV Raman, Margaret Smith, Ross Welch)
Cornell researchers and students are actively engaged in identifying how changes in food marketing chains – e.g., the rise of supermarkets and contract farming – can be shaped so as to better benefit the poor. This includes work with farmer groups and marketing cooperatives, with agro-input dealers, and with small-scale fertilizer and seed suppliers in Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Nicaragua, and Tanzania.
(Chris Barrett, Kaushik Basu, Ralph Christy, Rod Hawkes, Brian Henenan, Ed McLaughlin, Beth Medvecky, Steve Morgan, Chuck Nicholson, Alice Pell, Terry Tucker)
Faculty from diverse disciplines explore issues related to health and nutrition behaviors, HIV/AIDS, public health interventions, the linkages between agriculture and health (e.g., aflatoxin, micronutrient insufficiency), maternal and child health, etc. Work is going on in Afghanistan, Haiti, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico, and Tanzania.
(Chris Barrett, Dan Brown, Jere Haas, Michael Milgroom, Rebecca Nelson, Chuck Nicholson, Alice Pell, David Pelletier, Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Christine Ranney, David Sahn, Rebecca Stoltzfus)
The Cornell Global Labor Institute in the ILR School, co-authored a groundbreaking study on green jobs, for the United Nations Environment Programme. The report highlighted the positive connections between stabilizing the climate and job growth, indicating that green jobs will need to be scaled up dramatically in order to address climate change and the employment crisis.
(Sean Sweeney, Lee Adler, Rosemary Batt, Kate Bronfenbrenner, Lance Compa, Maria Lorena Cook, Sarosh Kuruvilla, Lisa H. Nishii, Lowell Turner)
Cornell is at the forefront of research to develop index-based insurance products both for retail-level commercial distribution to poor herders and farmers and for pre-financing of emergency response by humanitarian organizations. Other Cornell researchers are working on the design, financing and evaluation of microfinance enterprises in the developing world. Work is currently underway in China, India and Kenya.
(Chris Barrett, Vicki Bogan, David Easley, Bob Hockett, Cal Turvey)
Cornell faculty champion the practical application of innovative and sustainable approaches to entrepreneurial activities that benefit society in general and the poor in particular. These activities combine our strengths in the natural and social sciences, business and engineering to champion the practical application of innovative and sustainable approaches that benefit society in general, and the poor in particular. This works spans the globe, from Brazil, China, India, Kenya and Mozambique, to Senegal, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
(Ralph Christy, Stuart Hart, Mark Milstein, Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Anke Wessels)
Cornellians work on increasing access to sustainable and safe water supplies for poor and vulnerable communities, and to improve the efficiency and equity of water use through both institutional, policy and technological innovations at sites including Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Honduras, and the Philippines.
(David Lee, Pete Loucks, Alice Pell, Tammo Steenhuis, Terry Tucker, Mike Walter, Monroe Weber-Shirk)