Extending Berkeley’s reach

On July 22, we celebrated the successful completion of the 16th cohort of the Beahrs ELP. Our three-week annual program brings together up-and-coming leaders from around the world to provide training on environmental policy, resource management, conflict resolution, impact assessment, and overview of major topics like water and climate change. The ELP alumni network has… Continue reading Extending Berkeley’s reach

Agricultural economics as behavioral economics

Behavioral economics is perhaps the most important new paradigm in economics in the new millenium. It is based on the idea that people don’t behave rationally, like economics suggests – that they are, in Thaler’s words, Humans (homo sapiens) rather than Econs (homo economicus). In the 1960s and 1970s, Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon and others… Continue reading Agricultural economics as behavioral economics

Why agricultural biotech hasn’t reached its potential

Some of the key questions we raised as we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the ICABR consortium were “why haven’t GMO crops been accepted and adopted as Green Revolution crops or medical rDNA?” “What are the constraints to the adoption of GMO?” “What are the differences among nations?” Several speakers addressed these questions and here… Continue reading Why agricultural biotech hasn’t reached its potential

Having fun while doing good: 20 years of bioeconomy conferences in Ravello

The discovery of DNA in 1955 opened new opportunities for utilizing biological knowledge for practical applications. The medical biotechnology industry emerged in the late 1970s with the patenting of the human growth hormone, the Cohen-Boyer patent for genetic recombination, and the creation of Genentech. Scientists were also looking for agricultural applications of these emerging technologies.… Continue reading Having fun while doing good: 20 years of bioeconomy conferences in Ravello

The power of supply chains in implementing innovations

Many of the products and services we consume today did not exist a hundred years ago (internet, television, modern cars, cell phones, computers, penicillin, McDonalds and Whole Foods). The world thrives on innovation, which is frequently derived from new scientific knowledge, as well as inspiration. Innovations may include (i) a new product, (ii) a new… Continue reading The power of supply chains in implementing innovations

Witness to the history of agricultural and resource economics at Berkeley

Forty-three years ago I arrived to Berkeley to begin my PhD in agricultural and resource economics (ARE), and without realizing it, I witnessed the evolution of this great department. As the department faces new challenges, I realized that the evolution of ARE has important lessons for its future and for university departments in general. One… Continue reading Witness to the history of agricultural and resource economics at Berkeley

Reorganizing Berkeley (with emphasis on CNR)

Rumors have been circling for some time about an imminent reorganization of the Berkeley campus structure. Our tenuous financial situation coupled with the widely held perception that our current state is constraining us from reaching our full potential, suggest that this may be an opportune time for change. In the last 30+ years I have… Continue reading Reorganizing Berkeley (with emphasis on CNR)

Training environmental leaders in Nepal, Sandee style

I had always wanted to visit Nepal and between the 9th and 14th of December I finally made the voyage. I participated in a seminar of Sandee (the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economists) and spent some time with my colleague and friend Biswo Poudel. The flight to Kathmandu is among the longest as… Continue reading Training environmental leaders in Nepal, Sandee style

Searching for coexistence of GMO and organics in Amsterdam

I recently returned from a conference on the co-existence of genetically modified food (GMO) with other food, such as organic. The meeting was on November 17-20 in Amsterdam, which was rainy, cold and windy, an unpleasant departure from the sunny and dry climate of drought-stricken Berkeley that I have grown accustomed to. Fortunately we were… Continue reading Searching for coexistence of GMO and organics in Amsterdam

Beeronomics: I’ll drink to that

This past week I attended the fourth Beeronomics conference in Seattle. The conference brings together economists and other scientists who work on the economics of beer. The first three conferences were in Europe; this was the first U.S. conference. I was excited about the conference first because of the location: I wanted to see my friends and… Continue reading Beeronomics: I’ll drink to that