Wilson, Paul N.

July, 2000

By: Wilson, Paul N.
Economists, including agricultural economists, have a long history of recognizing the importance of the behavioral foundations in decision making while ignoring these observable human dimensions in their economic models. The economics of social capital and trust, two important human characteristics influencing decisions, have captured the attention of economists in recent years. Recent empirical work demonstrates that social capital and trust considerations are prevalent and economically significant, especially in business. Trust alters the terms of trade, generates decision flexibility, reduces transaction costs, and creates additional time resources for management.

December, 1999

By: Thompson, Gary D.; Wilson, Paul N.
Sales of newly introduced bagged, refrigerated salads grew at over 50% annually, during 1994-95. Consumption of bagged salads displayed marked seasonality despite year-round availability and uniform quality at more stable prices than head lettuce. Using scanner data from 44 areas, a single-equation demand model incorporating the effects of weather on seasonal consumption is estimated. Statistical tests of aggregation indicate that weather-induced seasonality varies significantly across areas, as do own- and cross- price elasticities. Econometric results suggest more seasonality in eating by people living in more northern latitudes, a pattern also observed by psychiatrists studying eating disorders.

July, 1999

By: Anderson, David P.; Wilson, Paul N.; Thompson, Gary D.
Strategic investments in agriculture often are lumpy and irreversible, with significant impacts on operating and fixed costs. Leveling cotton fields to zero slope in central Arizona is a strategic decision made by relatively younger farmers who are farming fine-textured soils in irrigation districts with higher expected water costs. The diffusion of the technology across the region between 1968-89 appears to be both a function of institutional changes (e.g., the Groundwater Management Act of 1980, the Central Arizona Project) and the long-run expected price changes induced by these new policies.

December, 1997

By: Selley, Roger A.; Wilson, Paul N.
Agricultural economists have been challenged in recent years, by voices inside and outside the profession, to evaluate the integrity of the operational bridge between research and extension activities in the land grant system. This essay investigates links between the work of risk researchers and outreach programs. Survey results indicate that (a) a significant number of risk researchers are involved in extension activities; (b) extension economists are less frequently involved in risk research than their colleagues with no extension appointment; (c) full-time extension economists use less sophisticated risk tools in their outreach efforts than used in their research; and (d) all respondents, regardless of appointment, see a need for more applied risk analysis. Major challenges include a lack of financial support to close the data gap and to conduct relevant applied analysis present major communication challenges.

July, 1997

By: Wilson, Paul N.
Ex post evaluation of economic projections validates our shared understanding of economic methodology and methods. The recent economic history of Central Arizona Project (CAP) agriculture reveals the predictive power of economic reasoning and its policy impotence within a political environment intent on obtaining its share of federally allocated water. The financial inability and unwillingness of large irrigation districts to pay for CAP water under existing federal rules produced an urban tax- and rate-payer controlled CAP decades earlier than planned. Yet irrigation districts remain a large residual buyer of CAP water under new pricing and allocation rules. Unfortunately, water markets remain an underutilized and distrusted tool in the water development game.