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The Roles of Agricultural Economists in Food System Research

  • Stephan J. Goetz


Public interest in food systems has grown dramatically, and agricultural economists have important roles to play in contributing to and leading large-scale interdisciplinary studies of the subject. Key topics include understanding food system participants' behaviors and incentives and determining what food systems can and cannot achieve. I review a global food-security project funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture that illustrates the interactions between production, distribution, and consumption of food and regional self-reliance, as well as other important areas in which agricultural and regional economists can gainfully apply their tools and methods, including studies of the impacts of local food and network analyses.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.

Corresponding author

Correspondence: Stephan J. Goetz207C Armsby BuildingPenn State UniversityUniversity Park, PA 16802-5601 ■ Phone 814.863.4656 ■ Email


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