Bio


Scott Pearson taught economic development and international trade in the Food Research Institute. Pearson came to Stanford in 1968 and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 1974 and to Professor in 1980. He served as the Food Research Institute’s Associate Director (1977-1984) and Director (1992-1996). Pearson became Professor Emeritus in 2002. In retirement, Pearson has lectured on 67 travel/study programs for the Stanford Alumni Association and 121 educational travel trips in total, visiting all seven continents.

Pearson grew up in Baraboo, Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Sciences degree in American history in 1961. Between 1961 and 1963, he was one of the first Peace Corps Volunteers – serving as a secondary school teacher in Northern Nigeria. Pearson’s marriage to Sandra Anderson in Lagos, Nigeria in 1962 was the first wedding in the Peace Corps.

Pearson decided to pursue a career in academia, specializing in international development. He spent one year in Bologna, Italy and another in Washington, D.C. to earn a Master of Arts degree at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in 1965. Pearson then earned a doctorate in economics at Harvard University in 1968. He wrote his dissertation on the impact of petroleum exports on Nigerian development under the direction of Albert Hirschman and revised his thesis for his first book, Petroleum and the Nigerian Economy (Stanford University Press, 1970).

Pearson began his empirical research in Nigeria (1961-69) and Ghana (1970-78). He later focused on Indonesia (1979-2004), Portugal (1981-95), and Kenya (1986-96). Pearson’s professional work abroad combined research (in collaboration with local university or government researchers), teaching (of short courses to transfer methods of field research and analysis), and policy analysis (to provide policy advice to government officials).

During most years, Pearson taught during two Stanford quarters and spent five months working abroad. In 1978, Pearson received the Dean’s Award for Teaching in Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences.

Pearson’s research focused on food and agricultural policy analysis, especially links among price, macroeconomic, and investment policies. He also worked on food price stabilization, trade and exchange rate policies, and social benefit-cost analysis. Wally Falcon, Peter Timmer, and Pearson collaborated for many years in Indonesia and co-authored Food Policy Analysis (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983), which received the Award for Professional Excellence, Quality of Communication in 1984 from the American Agricultural Economics Association and was translated into five languages.

In 1982, Eric Monke and Pearson began developing the Policy Analysis Matrix (PAM) approach to integrate policy and project analysis. PAM is a marriage of benefit-cost analysis and economic policy analysis in a matrix framework. Monke and Pearson explained the PAM approach in The Policy Analysis Matrix for Agricultural Development (Cornell University Press, 1989). Most of the 12 books that Pearson co-authored are applications of the PAM. Pearson presented PAM short-courses in China, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Thailand, Washington (the World Bank), and Zimbabwe.

Pearson was a member of numerous university committees and served on the Board of Trustees Committee on Finance and Administration and the Faculty Senate. Pearson and his wife, Sandra, were Faculty Residents in undergraduate dormitories at Stanford for five years (Serra House, 1968-1969 and 1977-1978, Madera House, 1978-1980, and Potter House, 1983-1984). Sandra Pearson later served as Principal of Palo Alto High School (1987-1994 and 2002-2004), and in 2004 she won the Tall Tree Award, sponsored by the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce and the Palo Alto Weekly.

Academic Appointments


  • Emeritus Faculty, Acad Council, Inter-Departmental Programs

All Publications


  • EXPANDING THE POLICY DIMENSION OF FARMING SYSTEMS RESEARCH AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS Fox, R., Finan, T., Pearson, S., MONKE, E. 1990; 33 (3): 271-287
  • MULTILATERAL NEGOTIATIONS ON FARM-SUPPORT LEVELS WORLD ECONOMY Tangermann, S., JOSLING, T. E., Pearson, S. 1987; 10 (3): 265-281
  • WELFARE EFFECTS OF A PROCESSING CARTEL - FLOUR MILLING IN PORTUGAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND CULTURAL CHANGE MONKE, E. A., Pearson, S. R., SILVACARVALHO, J. P. 1987; 35 (2): 393-407
  • THE EFFICIENCY OF PRODUCING ALCOHOL FOR ENERGY IN BRAZIL - REPLY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND CULTURAL CHANGE Barzelay, M., Pearson, S. R. 1985; 33 (4): 857-863
  • THE EFFICIENCY OF PRODUCING ALCOHOL FOR ENERGY IN BRAZIL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND CULTURAL CHANGE Barzelay, M., Pearson, S. R. 1982; 31 (1): 131-144
  • THE IMPACT OF INVESTMENT CONCESSIONS ON THE PROFITABILITY OF SELECTED FIRMS IN GHANA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND CULTURAL CHANGE INGRAM, W. D., Pearson, S. R. 1981; 29 (4): 831-839
  • ECONOMIES OF SCALE, DOMESTIC DIVERGENCES, AND POTENTIAL GAINS FROM ECONOMIC-INTEGRATION IN GHANA AND THE IVORY-COAST JOURNAL OF POLITICAL ECONOMY Pearson, S. R., INGRAM, W. D. 1980; 88 (5): 994-1008
  • NET SOCIAL PROFITABILITY, DOMESTIC RESOURCE COSTS, AND EFFECTIVE RATE OF PROTECTION JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENT STUDIES Pearson, S. R. 1976; 12 (4): 320-333
  • COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE, GOVERNMENT POLICIES, AND INTERNATIONAL-TRADE IN RICE FOOD RESEARCH INSTITUTE STUDIES MONKE, E., Pearson, S. R., AKRASANEE, N. 1976; 15 (2): 257-283
  • COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE IN RICE PRODUCTION - METHODOLOGICAL INTRODUCTION FOOD RESEARCH INSTITUTE STUDIES Pearson, S. R., AKRASANEE, N., Nelson, G. C. 1976; 15 (2): 127-137
  • COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE AMONG AFRICAN COFFEE PRODUCERS AMERICAN JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS Pearson, S. R., Meyer, R. K. 1974; 56 (2): 310-313
  • REDISTRIBUTION OF INDUSTRY IN EAST-AFRICAN-COMMON-MARKET BULLETIN OF THE OXFORD UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF ECONOMIC AND STATISTICS Pearson, S. R., Page, J. M. 1971; 33 (4): 275-288