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FSI scholars approach their research on the environment from regulatory, economic and societal angles. The Center on Food Security and the Environment weighs the connection between climate change and agriculture; the impact of biofuel expansion on land and food supply; how to increase crop yields without expanding agricultural lands; and the trends in aquaculture. FSE’s research spans the globe – from the potential of smallholder irrigation to reduce hunger and improve development in sub-Saharan Africa to the devastation of drought on Iowa farms. David Lobell, a senior fellow at FSI and a recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant, has looked at the impacts of increasing wheat and corn crops in Africa, South Asia, Mexico and the United States; and has studied the effects of extreme heat on the world’s staple crops.

Recent Scholarly Publications

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Towards fine resolution global maps of crop yields: Testing multiple methods and satellites in three countries

May 2017

One of the greatest challenges in monitoring food security is to provide reliable crop yield information that is temporally consistent and spatially scalable.

Prevalence of anaemia, deficiencies of iron and vitamin A and their determinants in rural women and young children: a cross-sectional study in Kalalé district of northern Benin

January 2017

Objective: To identify the magnitude of anaemia and deficiencies of Fe (ID) and vitamin A (VAD) and their associated factors among rural women and children.Design: Cross-sectional, comprising a...

Using remotely sensed temperature to estimate climate response functions

January 2017

Temperature data are commonly used to estimate the sensitivity of many societally relevant outcomes, including crop yields, mortality, and economic output, to ongoing climate changes.

Opportunity for marine fisheries reform in China

January 2017

China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, launched in March 2016, provides a sound policy platform for the protection of marine ecosystems and the restoration of capture fisheries within China’s exclusive...

Trends and determinants of rural residential solid waste collection services in China

October 2016

Abstract:PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to describe the trends in residential solid waste collection (RSWC) services in rural China over the past decade and analyze the determinants of these...

Informational Frictions and Practice Variation: Evidence from Physicians in Training

April 2016

Abstract: Substantial practice variation across physicians for seemingly similar patients is an unresolved puzzle of great interest to economists and policy makers.

Solar-Powered Drip Irrigation Impacts on Crops Production Diversity and Dietary Diversity in Northern Benin

March 2016

In 2007, "solar market gardens" were installed in 2 villages for women’s agricultural groups as a strategy for enhancing food and nutrition security.

Agricultural adaptation to climate change in rich and poor countries: Current modeling practice and potential for empirical contributions

February 2016

In this paper we discuss the scope of the adaptation challenge facing world agriculture in the coming decades.

Growing sensitivity of maize to water scarcity under climate change

January 2016

Climate change can reduce crop yields and thereby threaten food security.

Pharaoh's Dream Revisited: An Integrated US Midwest Field Research Network for Climate Adaptation

December 2015

We're being warned of future grain failures—not by the dreams of a biblical Pharaoh, but by modern computer model predictions.

Global non-linear effect of temperature on economic production

November 2015

Growing evidence demonstrates that climatic conditions can have a profound impact on the functioning of modern human societies, but effects on economic activity appear inconsistent.

Implementing Structural Reforms in Abenomics: How to Reduce the Cost of Doing Business in Japan

August 2015

Improving the environment for business is an important part of the growth strategy of Abenomics.

Income Shocks and HIV in Africa

June 2015

We examine how variation in local economic conditions has shaped the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

Incorporating Climate Uncertainty into Estimates of Climate Change Impacts

May 2015

Quantitative estimates of the impacts of climate change on economic outcomes are important for public policy.

Simulating the interaction of a renewable portfolio standard with electricity and carbon markets

May 2015

The authors ran a game-based simulation of an electricity market with both an RPS and a cap-and-trade market for greenhouse gas emissions allowances.

Agricultural water management at the village level in northern China

April 2015

Assessment of the Development of Groundwater Market in Rural China

April 2015

Using field survey data collected by the authors, this chapter first describes groundwater markets in northern China that have been developing rapidly in the last two decades.

Governance Structures and Resource Policy Reform: Insights from Agricultural Transition

April 2015

AbstractNew research on the political economy of policy-induced distor- tions to incentives for optimal resource use in agriculture and insights from the study of the dramatic reforms in former...

Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve

March 2015

Most people in the world today think democracy and gender equality are good, and that violence and wealth inequality are bad.

A global perspective on food systems

March 2015

Long-term Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel

February 2015

To design reliable and safe geological repositories it is critical to understand how the characteristics of spent nuclear fuel evolve with time, and how this affects the storage environment.

Long-Term Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel

February 2015

In a commentary on the long-term storage of SNF in the March 2015 issue of Nature Materials, Professor Rod Ewing writes that, "to design reliable and safe geological repositories it is critical to...

Influence of temperature and precipitation variability on near-term snow trends

October 2014

Snow is a vital resource for a host of natural and human systems.

The Evolving Sphere of Food Security

September 2014

The Evolving Sphere of Food Security seeks to answer two important questions: How do the priorities and challenges of achieving food security change over time as countries develop economically?


Phillip Lipscy Center Fellow Assistant Professor, Political Science
Alberto Díaz-Cayeros Senior Fellow Professor, by courtesy, Political Science
Stephen P. Luby Senior Fellow Professor, Medicine (CHP/PCOR)
Beatriz Magaloni Senior Fellow Associate Professor, Political Science
Takeo Hoshi Senior Fellow, Professor, by courtesy, Finance
Frank Wolak Senior Fellow Professor, Economics
Donald Kennedy Professor, Biology, Emeritus
John Meyer Professor, Sociology, Emeritus
David Freyberg Associate Professor, Civil Engineering
Francisco Ramirez Professor, Education
W. Richard Scott Professor, Sociology, Emeritus
Barton H. Thompson Professor, Law