|MSU Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics||Graduate Education > What is Agricultural Economics|
What is agricultural, food and resource economics?
Agricultural, food and resource economics is the branch of economics that deals with the agricultural and natural resource sector of the economy. This economic sector fulfills basic human wants and needs for food, water, energy, and environmental quality. The sector is closely tied to nature. Fluctuations in climate, hydrology, soil conditions, and wildlife pose unique problems that require economic institutions for handling problems of risk, collective action, and resource allocation in the absence of markets.
There are many fields of study in our discipline. The subject descriptors used by the Journal of Economic Literature and by EconLit, the primary on-line database of scholarly economics writings, include a major category (Q) for Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics. Research by agricultural economists also relates to other subject categories, including D - Microeconomics, G - Financial Economics, L - Industrial Organization, O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth, and R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics.
All departments in our discipline specialize in just some of these areas. At Michigan State University, we offer four major graduate fields of study, along with strong training in microeconomic theory and empirical methods. This preparation enables students to investigate a wide range of issues affecting not only the domestic and international producers, processors and marketers of agricultural and natural resource products, but also the rural and urban populations who depend on these products and on broader environmental services.
Updated on June 15, 2011