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Christopher Barrett

Christopher B. Barrett

Stephen B. and Janice G. Ashley Professor of Applied Economics and Management, and David J. Nolan Director of the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

Areas of Expertise

Development Economics, Environmental and Resource Economics, International Economics

Contact Information

301G Warren Hall • Phone: 607.255.4489
Web Site

Chris Barrett teaches and conducts research in the areas of international development, environmental and resource economics, international trade, markets and price analysis, agricultural production and distribution, and applied econometrics. Professor Barrett has published more than 125 journal articles, books, and book chapters, and has been principal investigator or co-principal investigator on research grants totaling more than $15 million.

There are three basic, interrelated thrusts to Professor Barrett's research program. The first concerns poverty, hunger, food security, economic policy, and the structural transformation of low-income societies. The second considers issues of individual and market behavior under risk and uncertainty. The third revolves around the interrelationship between poverty, food security, and environmental stress in developing areas.

Current research projects include:

  • Multi-year, USAID-funded research projects on risk management among East African pastoralists and on poverty traps and natural capital in east Africa
  • A multi-year, USAID-funded cooperative agreement on bottom-up approaches to economic growth and poverty reduction in Africa
  • A multi-year, Pew Charitable Trusts-funded project on the moral and social dimensions of microeconomic behavior in poor communities
  • Long-standing work on the effects of food aid on food security, sustainable development, and international trade
  • Empirical work on agricultural productivity and markets in Madagascar

Professor Barrett has taught undergraduate macroeconomics, international economics, and econometrics, and graduate business statistics, development economics, and international economics. He was the founding director of Cornell’s predissertation workshop on Rural Livelihoods and Biological Resources: Institutions and Technologies. He is a member of Cornell's graduate fields of Agricultural Economics, Conservation and Sustainable Development, Economics, International Agriculture and Rural Development, International Development, and Natural Resources.

Professor Barrett is editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, an associate editor of Environment and Development Economics and the Journal of African Economies and World Development, co-director of the Cornell African Food Security and Natural Resources Management Program, and a former president of the Association of Christian Economists.


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1994
M.S., University of Oxford, 1985
A.B., Princeton University, 1984


AEM 2000: Contemporary Controversies in the Global Economy
AEM 7620: Microeconomics of International Development
AEM 7650: Development Microeconomics Graduate Research Seminar

Selected Publications

Barrett, Christopher B., and Daniel G. Maxwell. Forthcoming. Food Aid After Fifty Years: Recasting Its Role. London: Routledge.

Barrett, Christopher B., editor. Forthcoming. The Social Economics of Poverty: Identities, Groups, Communities and Networks. London: Routledge.

Barrett, Christopher B. Forthcoming. Rural Poverty Dynamics: Development Policy Implications. Agricultural Economics.

Barrett, Christopher B., and Winnie K. Luseno. Forthcoming. Decomposing Producer Price Risk: An Analysis of Livestock Markets in Northern Kenya. Food Policy.

Barrett, Christopher B., Christine M. Moser, Oloro V. McHugh, and Joeli Barison. 2004. Better Technology, Better Plots or Better Farmers? Identifying Changes In Productivity And Risk Among Malagasy Rice Farmers. American Journal of Agricultural Economics.

Lybbert, Travis J., Christopher B. Barrett, Solomon Desta, and D. Layne Coppock. 2004. Stochastic Wealth Dynamics and Risk Management Among a Poor Population. Economic Journal.

Gjertsen, Heidi E., and Christopher B. Barrett. 2004. Context-Dependent Biodiversity Conservation Management Regimes: Theory and Simulations. Land Economics.

Barrett, Christopher B., and Brent M. Swallow. 2004. Dynamic Poverty Traps and Rural Livelihoods. In Rural Livelihoods and Poverty Reduction Policies, edited by Frank Ellis and Ade Freeman. London: Routledge.

Barrett, Christopher B., Stein Holden, and Daniel C. Clay. 2004. Can Food-For-Work Programs Reduce Vulnerability? In Insurance Against Poverty, edited by Stefan Dercon. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Luseno, Winnie K., John G. McPeak, Christopher B. Barrett, Getachew Gebru, and Peter D. Little. 2003. The Value of Climate Forecast Information for Pastoralists: Evidence from Southern Ethiopia and Northern Kenya. World Development.

Place, Frank, Christopher B. Barrett, H. Ade Freeman, Joshua J. Ramisch, and Bernard Vanlauwe. 2003. Prospects for Integrated Soil Fertility Management Using Organic and Inorganic Inputs: Evidence from Smallholder African Agricultural Systems. Food Policy.

Barrett, Christopher B., and Daniel C. Clay. 2003. Self-Targeting Accuracy in the Presence of Imperfect Factor Markets: Evidence from Food-for-Work in Ethiopia. Journal of Development Studies.

Sherlund, Shane M., Christopher B. Barrett, and Akinwumi A. Adesina. 2002. Smallholder Technical Efficiency Controlling for Environmental Production Conditions. Journal of Development Economics.

Barrett, Christopher B., Frank Place, and Abdillahi A. Aboud, editors. 2002. Natural Resources Management in African Agriculture: Understanding and Improving Current Practices. CAB International.

Barrett, Christopher B. 2002. Food Security and Food Assistance Programs. In Handbook of Agricultural Economics, Bruce L. Gardner and Gordon C. Rausser, eds. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science.

Barrett, Christopher B., and Jau Rong Li. 2002. Distinguishing Between Equilibrium and Integration in Spatial Price Analysis. American Journal of Agricultural Economics.

Barrett, Christopher B., and Michael R. Carter. 2001-2002. Can’t Get Ahead For Falling Behind: New Directions for Development Policy To Escape Poverty and Relief Traps. Choices.

McPeak, John, and Christopher B. Barrett. 2001. Differential Risk Exposure and Stochastic Poverty Traps Among East African Pastoralists. American Journal of Agricultural Economics.

Barrett, Christopher B., Thomas Reardon, and Patrick Webb. 2001. Nonfarm Income Diversification and Household Livelihood Strategies in Rural Africa: Concepts, Dynamics and Policy Implications. Food Policy.

Wang, Kai Li, Christopher Fawson, Christopher B. Barrett, and James B. McDonald. 2001. A Flexible Parametric GARCH Model With An Application To Exchange Rates. Journal of Applied Econometrics.

Barrett, Christopher B., Katrina Brandon, Clark Gibson, and Heidi Gjertsen. 2001. Conserving Tropical Biodiversity Amid Weak Institutions. BioScience.

Barrett, Christopher B., and Yi-Nung Yang. 2001. Rational Incompatibility with International Product Standards. Journal of International Economics.

Smith, Kevin, Christopher B. Barrett, and Paul W. Box. 2001. Not Necessarily In The Same Boat: Heterogeneous Risk Assessment Among East African Pastoralists. Journal of Development Studies.

Barrett, Christopher B. 2001. Does Food Aid Stabilize Food Availability? Economic Development and Cultural Change.

Lee, David R., and Christopher B. Barrett, editors. 2000. Tradeoffs or Synergies? Agricultural Intensification, Economic Development and the Environment in Developing Countries. CAB International.

Barrett, Christopher B. 2000. A Pluralistic Stewardship Approach to Sustainable Development. Christian Scholar's Review.

Barrett, Christopher B., and Peter Arcese. 1998. Wildlife Harvest in Integrated Conservation and Development Projects: Linking Harvest to Household Demand, Agricultural Production and Environmental Shocks in the Serengeti. Land Economics.

Barrett, Christopher B. 1997. Food Marketing Liberalization and Trader Entry: Evidence from Madagascar. World Development.

Barrett, Christopher B., and Jeffrey W. Cason. 1997. Overseas Research: A Practical Guide. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Barrett, Christopher B. 1996. On Price Risk and The Inverse Farm Size- Productivity Relationship. Journal of Development Economics 51, no. 2 (December):193-215 (lead article).

Barrett, Christopher B., and Paul A. Dorosh. 1996. Farmers‚ Welfare and Changing Food Prices: Nonparametric Evidence From Rice In Madagascar. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 78, no. 3 (August):656-69.

Barrett, Christopher B., and Peter Arcese. 1995. Are ICDPs Sustainable? On The Conservation of Large Mammals in Sub-Saharan Africa. World Development 23, no. 7 (July):1073-85 (lead article).