Letter from the President
Combatting Reputational Damage to the Economics Profession
How can we improve our effectiveness in communicating our concepts and analyses to inform policy and practice in the agri-food and rural sectors? Firstly, we should frame messages that take account of the cultural norms and emotional lives of the target audience - storytelling is increasingly being advocated as a communication tool in the sciences. Secondly, build a clear understanding of the socio-political context of decision makers - economic analysis is necessary but may not be sufficient. Thirdly, fiercely guard our independence and build a robust evidence base, otherwise we lose credibility - never be afraid to speak truth to power as a counterweight to the embedded positions of elites. Fourthly, be open to cross-disciplinary working and learning from others in the dynamic process of knowledge exchange - combining qualitative and quantitative approaches can achieve real impact in the policy community. Fifthly, make use of social media in a positive and balanced way through the use of simple and inclusive language - the potential benefits include increased frequency of citations and visibility of the research area. In many ways the AES has been a pioneer within Europe in broadening the spectrum of its communications, especially in the development of the outreach journal EuroChoices. It has been my privilege to act as Chief Editor since its inception, and our early partnership with the European Association of Agricultural Economists (EAAE) as co-owners greatly strengthened its scope and reach. One issue of particular concern is the need to encourage participation by early career researchers, a group under pressure to publish in journals with high traditional impact factor ratings. EuroChoices has not sought an impact factor as its accessible style of communication generates other impacts, within the policy community and as learning aid for students. We should aim to publish in both categories of journal. They are complementary and authors will benefit if they can demonstrate a wide spectrum of impacts in research assessment exercises.
John Davis AES President 2018-19 (email@example.com)
AES Annual Conference 2019
The 93rd AES conference will be held at The University of Warwick, Coventry, UK, from Monday 15th to Wednesday 17th of April 2019. Professor Robert Finger (ETH Zürich) will deliver the Keynote Address, on pathways for agricultural policies reconciling production and environmental services in a European context. Professor Caroline Saunders (Lincoln University, New Zealand), will deliver her Presidential Address on the removal of farm subsidies and implications for sustainable agriculture in New Zealand. Dr Doris Laepple (National University of Ireland, Galway) will give a Masterclass on spatial econometrics. Workshops will include sessions on food waste, animal welfare and food and health. The Executive is discussing how to honour the work and policy impact of Professor Tim Josling, who passed away in November. The guest speaker at the Conference dinner will be the Deputy President of the National Farmers’ Union, Guy Smith. The deadline for submitting paper/poster/PhD proposals is 17 December 2018. For more information, please see http://www.aes.ac.uk/page.asp?ID=3
Frederic Ang, Programme Secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Defra-AES One-Day Conference
Addressing the theme of Public Money for Public Goods, the conference on 10 December in London, the Minister, George Eustice, emphasised that a key focus in the Agriculture Bill, currently under consideration in Parliament, is to preserve and enhance natural capital. Presentations by Jonathan Baker (Defra), Dieter Helm (Oxford), Ian Hodge (Cambridge), Sue Cornwell (National Trust), Ian Bateman (Exeter), Karen Ellis (WWF) and Alan Swinbank (Reading) concluded with the speakers taking part in a panel discussion. Presentations covered the policy context, conceptual, implementation and trade issues, as well as the links between agriculture, environmental, land use and rural issues. They will be available on the AES website. Thanks to John Curnow (Defra Chief Economist, who chaired the morning session), John Davis (AES President, who chaired the afternoon session), the speakers, discussants and participants – and especially to Michael Bourne and team for hosting a very stimulating conference, which generated a lot of discussion, questions, and ideas on the “direction of travel” post-Brexit.
Wilfrid Legg, AES Honorary Secretary (email@example.com)
News from the AES Mid-Term Executive
The mid-term Executive meeting was held in London in October. Some of the highlights:
- President-Elect is Janet Dwyer (Gloucestershire) who will take over the Presidency from Caroline Saunders in April 2020.
- There will be 2 vacancies for ordinary members to serve on the Executive for 4 years as from the AGM in April 2019.
- The impact factor for the JAE was 2.0 in 2017, compared to 1.545 in 2014.
- The Society is looking into ethical issues of its investments.
- The Society has a Twitter account, following an initiative by Deb Roberts, Frederic Ang and Neil Chalmers (who is the new Social Media manager on the Executive). Please visit Twitter @AgEconSoc for up to date news and views.
- The 2020 annual AES Conference will be held in Leuven, Belgian, in association with the Belgian Agricultural Economics Association.
If anyone is interested – or knows someone who could benefit – in receiving copies of the Journal of Agricultural Economics from 1946 to 1999, please contact the AES Administrator, Katy Thorne. These copies have been kindly made available by Judy Robertson, daughter of Leonard Napolitan, who recently passed away.
International Conference of Agricultural Economists, Vancouver
The triennial conference of the International Association of Agricultural Economists is the largest and arguably most prestigious gathering in our calendar, attracting many of the world’s leading researchers and thought leaders. This conference showcased the breadth and depth of research in our discipline with over 800 contributed papers and posters, 40 organized discussion sessions, 15 invited panels and 7 plenary sessions. In total 1,235 people participated in the six-day programme from 28 July - the largest ever, despite the considerable costs involved in getting to Vancouver. Its success was testament to the huge effort over the last 3 years by IAAE President Nick Vink and his conference team for putting on such a welcoming, enjoyable and rewarding event. Delegates hailed from North America, Europe and the rest of the world in roughly equal measure. To its great credit, the ICAE makes a big effort to attract postgraduates and early career researchers who can really benefit from the frontier research that is presented and the excellent networking possibilities. Despite its size, the ICAE is a very friendly conference where long-lasting friendships and collaborations are spawned. I’m also pleased to report that the AES was able to offer financial support to 12 members under its Travel Award Scheme. Their experiences are posted on the AES website and tellingly, they can’t wait for the 2021 Conference in Delhi. See you there!
Tim Lloyd, AES-IAAE Liaison Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
6-7 February 2019, Behavioural Perspectives in Agricultural Economics and Management, Uppsala, Sweden
18-22 February 2019, System Dynamics and Innovation in Food Networks, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
4-5 April 2019, Agricultural Land Markets – Recent Developments, Efficiency and Regulation, Berlin, Germany
15-17 May 2019, Governance of food chains and consumption dynamics: what are the impacts on food security and sustainability? Montpellier, France
28-29 May 2019, Agricultural Policy for the environment or Environmental Policy for agriculture? Natural Science Museum Brussels, Belgium
Leonard Napolitan, Thorald Warley, Timothy Josling, Alison Burrell, Geoffrey Reed
It is with deep regret that the AES has learned of the deaths of five current or former members of the AES. Leonard Napolitan (b1919) was Director of Economics and Statistics at MAFF, 1965-77. T. K. (Sandy) Warley (b1930) taught at Nottingham University prior to joining the University of Guelph, Canada. Tim Josling (b1940) taught at the LSE and the University of Reading, and the Food Research Institute and Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. Alison Burrell (b1943) taught at Wye College, University of London, OECD, Wageningen University, and the JRC, Seville, and was an editor of the European Review of Agricultural Economics. Geoff Reed (b1943) taught at Nottingham University and was a co-editor of the Journal of Agricultural Economics. Obituaries will be published later in the Journal of Agricultural Economics.
A shorter version of the Newsletter is circulated with the JAE. The deadline for the receipt of material for the next issue is 5 April 2019, to email@example.com