Applied Economics, Marketing and Development Research Group

Development Finance at the University of Reading


Economic Research

Our economic research blends theoretical and empirical approaches to address questions connected to the production and consumption of food in developed and developing countries. We focus heavily on applications to cutting edge challenges for productivity, non-market valuation, spatial problems and food demand. We are also leaders in the development of applied methodology, particularly in econometrics and Bayesian approaches. There are four areas of focus:

Environmental, ecological and resource economics and policy

Environmental, ecological and resource economics explores the intersection of people and the natural environment through methods derived from behavioural economics; experimental methods; and spatial-temporal ecological-economic modelling. Non-Market valuation is used to analyse the value of goods and services that do not have prices that can observed since they are not traded on markets, or have prices that are distorted due to market failure, such as ecosystem services. The quantification of values for non-market goods is required for sound economic policies. We investigate, develop and use these methods to elicit values for non-market goods based principally on stated preference methods that pose hypothetical scenarios upon which people make choices. A broad range of themes are analysed including the links between household decision making over energy choices, rural forest degradation, climate and developments in European Agricultural Policy, most notably the common agricultural policy, and their effect on food producers and the wider rural community. We also analyse the impact of the agri-environment and rural development schemes on the food chain and assess the impact of changes in the structure of farming and the food industry on food production and the countryside. Our research supports evaluations of agricultural and environmental policies.

Food economics

Research in food economics focuses on the analysis of diet and health policy. Econometric models of food demand are at the core of this work which analyses the economic, social and demographic determinants of diet. These models have formed the basis of analyses of interventions such as a tax on saturated fat and healthy eating promotions. Our work is increasingly interdisciplinary across economics and psychology.

Economics and policies of animal health and welfare

Our animal health economics focuses on the costs and benefits of livestock disease control measures involving inter-disciplinary approaches such as modelling how disease and intervention measures impact on livestock production systems. It also takes into account 'One Health' and the inter-relations between animal health, human health and ecosystem health. The economics of animal welfare has focused largely on animal welfare policy and policy appraisal, particularly the costs and benefits associated with animal welfare improvement. It also takes into account philosophical considerations such as the concepts of animals having 'a life worth living' or a 'good life'

Farm and land use modelling

Research on farm-level modelling provides support to production economics and optimisation of resource use, farmer decision-making and business diversification. Additionally, sector-level modelling currently provides insight into policy and market development options, land use change and food supply. The mapping of food chains is valuable in understanding segmentation, institutional function and behaviour.

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Professor Kelvin Balcombe

HR Excellence in Research

The University holds the European Commission's HR Excellence in Research Award. Follow the link below for more information


HR Excellence in Research

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