Casey is interested in understanding how environmental issues and efforts to reduce poverty and increase food security intersect in the developing world. Many environmental causes today seem fundamentally anti-development. Yet throughout much of the developing world, sustainability goals must be co-managed and achieved in concert with (sometimes conflicting) efforts to reduce poverty and increase food security. These `environment-development’ interactions are particularly clear in the context of smallholder agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the SSA, there are large populations of poor and food insecure households working in agriculture. It is also a region where the agricultural sector is predicted to experience some of the most significant and detrimental effects of global climate change, and where the opportunity to `leap-frog’ the environmental impacts of industrial development is most promising.
Casey’s interest in this research topic began during his tenure as an undergraduate at Stanford, when he took Professor Rosamond Naylor’s course on aquaculture and its role in the world food economy. Casey further pursued his interest in the economic and environmental dimensions of food production as Masters student at the Bren School at UCSB, where he studied the economics of fisheries and contributed to research on marine spatial planning for aquaculture. As a PhD student at Stanford Casey’s interest in food systems has transitioned to the terrestrial sphere, as he has continued to pursue formal training in the fields of environmental economics, natural resource economics, and development economics.
As an interdisciplinary scholar, Casey primarily combines methods from these three different areas of economics with conceptual frameworks from the field of food security to address research questions that (he hopes!) are of interest to scholars from a broad range of academic disciplines. Casey’s active projects include: (i) evaluating the policy implications of spatial and temporal patterns in agricultural productivity using World Bank survey data from 6 countries in SSA, (ii) investigating the how the provision of informal financial services affects investment and productivity in the Ghanaian oil palm supply chain, and (iii) quantifying how changes weather risk induced by climate change have impacted economic outcomes in the agricultural sector.
Current Research and Scholarly Interests
My research concerns how environmental issues and efforts to promote economic development intersect in agricultural systems. Active projects include: (i) analyzing the patterns in and dynamics of agricultural TFP in 6 countries in SSA, (ii) investigating how access to informal financial services affects investment and productivity in the Ghanaian palm oil industry, and (iii) quantifying how changes weather risk induced by climate change have impacted economic outcomes in the agricultural sector.