Seminar Series
9/29/2017 | 12-1 pm | 310 Lloyd-Ricks-Watson

L. Jason Krutz,  Mississippi State University
Reforming the Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute: Implications for the Department of Agricultural Economics

The Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute (MWRRI) is charged by the United States Geological Survey to plan, facilitate, and conduct research that helps resolve state and regional water problems; promote technology transfer; train scientists through participation in research; and award competitive grants under the Water Resources Research Act. For years, however, the MWRRI focused primarily on disseminating 104-b grants under the Water Resources Research Act, approximately $92,000 per year. The MWRRI cannot fulfill its charge by focusing solely on funding from the Water Resources Research Act. Efforts to reform the MWRRI include, therefore, quantifying research expenditures by institution; ranking scientists/engineers by Scopus h-index within departments and across institutions; determining all federal, state, and private sector funding opportunities and cycles; analyzing federally funded projects and principle investigators; and positioning scientists to successfully procure research funding that fulfills MWRRI's mission. From 2013 to 2017, the average expenditure for water projects by MSU was $10,055,493 per year: 67% MAFES, 18% ORED, 13% Extension, and 2% CVM. There are 360 scientists/engineers in Mississippi working on water projects, and all departments in all institutions have personnel with Scopus h-index values that fall within the range of Principle Investigators (PIs) currently receiving federal funds. Currently there are 16 federal agencies, 7 state agencies, 24 non-profit entities, and 14 foundations that fund water projects in Mississippi. Analysis of grants and PIs funded by NIFA in the Foundational Programs and Challenge Areas of interest to Agricultural Economists are complete. For Foundational-Agricultural Economics and Rural Communities, 50% of active grants are related to water and are funded at $498,369 per project. The median number of publication, Scopus h-index, and prior federal grants received for PIs working on water projects is 31, 12, and 3, respectively (n=29). The topics primarily receiving funding include economic value of environmental services (33%), water quantity/quality (29%), linking economic and environmental models (11%), and behavioral factors influencing participation in agricultural conservation programs (8%). For Challenge Area-Resilient Agro-Ecosystems in a Changing Climate (n=32), the average funding level per project is $732,000. The median number of publications, Scopus h-index, and number of previously funded federal grants for PIs is 84, 24, and 4, respectively. Nine percent of the PIs in this Challenge Area are Agricultural Economists. For the National Integrated Water Quality Program (n=62), the average funding per project is $499,000. The median number of publications, Scopus h-index, and prior federal grants received by PIs is 41, 15, and 3, respectively. Nine percent of the PIs are Agricultural Economists, but 22% of the projects deal explicitly with economic issues. Similar analysis for EPA, NOAA, and NSF are forthcoming. Strategies that enable Mississippi scientists to procure federal funding to solve state water problems need to be discussed, developed, and implemented. My hope is that this venue will start the process.


10/11/2017 | 1-2 pm | 310 Lloyd-Ricks-Watson

Laura O. Taylor,  North Carolina State University


10/27/2017 | 1-2 pm | 310 Lloyd-Ricks-Watson

Charles Sims,  The University of Tennessee Knoxville
Hurry up or wait: The effect of climate change and variability on the timing of private adaptation

Climate variability makes the future benefits of adaptation uncertain. When adaptation comes in the form of discrete investments that are difficult to adjust, this uncertainty creates an economic value (an option value) to delaying adaptation to collect more information. This option value suggests adaptation will be slower than predicted by benefit-cost analysis. However, it is unclear how increases in climate variability influence this adaptation option value. Addressing this knowledge gap becomes critically important since climate change in many areas will be characterized by temperature and precipitation that is more variable than historic conditions. This study uses down-scaled results from four different global circulation models and two different emission scenarios to determine how climate trends and variability influence an adaptation option value. Using water-saving irrigation investments in California's Sacramento Valley as an example, results indicate that climate variability is an important predictor of private adaptation uptake but the influence of climate variability on adaptation shifts as the climate changes.


11/3/2017 | 1-2 pm | 310 Lloyd-Ricks-Watson

Ariana Torres,  Purdue University


11/10/2017 | 12-1 pm | 310 Lloyd-Ricks-Watson

Jeremy Clay and Jim Mitchell,  Mississippi State University


11/17/2017 | 12-1 pm | 310 Lloyd-Ricks-Watson

Seong Yun,  Mississippi State University
Human behavior data reveals that population growth rates of US scallops change with sea surface temperature

with Brian Reed (Stanford University), Malin L. Pinsky (Rutgers University), and Eli P. Fenichel (Yale University) Society has entered a data age, and human actions increasingly leave a long data trail. These data cover broad spatial and temporal scales that could be particularly useful for understanding global change. However, human-environment feedbacks create an analytical challenge that must be solved before these data can be used effectively. We adapt econometric tools designed to study human actions to analyze the effects of sea surface temperature changes on population growth rates in the most valuable commercial fishery in US Atlantic waters, the Atlantic scallop. Using 221,641 U.S. commercial vessel trip reports from 1996 to 2014, we find that warming seas increased intrinsic population growth rates in northern regions, decreased intrinsic growth rates in southern regions, and influenced the scallop carrying capacity. Our results show that the immense trail of data on human behavior can be harnessed to understand the ecological impacts of climate change with low additional research costs.