International Expert to Speak on Agricultural Policy

At the upcoming 20th April International Academic Conference, HSE’s new Institute for Agrarian Studies will hold a panel on the drivers of growth in the Russian agrarian sector. Johan Swinnen, Director of LICOS Center for Institutions and Economic Performance at KU Leuven, has been invited to speak at the panel.

Johan Swinnen
Director of LICOS Center for Institutions and Economic Performance at KU Leuven

In his talk, which is entitled ‘A Value Chain Paradigm of World Agricultural Development: Productivity, Sustainability, Innovations’, Professor Swinnen will offer an alternative to the traditional economic models that are focused primarily on supply and demand models and the relationship between prices, production and consumption. In his opinion, these models make important, often implicit, assumptions about the underlying institutions. ‘To better understand, and model, agricultural development, both in rich and in poor countries, it is crucial to explicitly incorporate the entire value chain between producers and consumers and agribusiness, and the institutional organization of the exchange processes within the value chain. This paradigm allows us to better understand how productivity changes, how innovations may emerge and affect various agents involve, and how to make the agricultural system sustainable.’ 

Professor Swinnen will be joining HSE’s Institute for Agrarian Studies, where he plans to carry out various joint research projects. Professor Swinnen believes that the establishment of the Institute for Agrarian Studies last year at HSE is quite significant. ‘Agriculture and the food industry are a very important part of the Russian economy and of course guaranteeing Russian people a supply of safe, nutritious and high quality food at affordable prices is important for Russian society and welfare. A high-level research institute on these issues should be an important part of HSE.’

Johan Swinnen is Professor of Development Economics and Director of the LICOS Center for Institutions and Economic Performance at KU Leuven. From 2003 to 2004, he was Lead Economist at the World Bank and from 1998 to 2001 Economic Advisor at the European Commission. He has served as an advisor to many international institutions and governments. His research focuses on institutional reform and development, globalization and international integration, media economics, and agriculture and food policy. 

His latest books are Global Supply Chains, Standards, and the Poor and From Marx and Mao to the Market.  He has been a guest editor for World Development, Development Policy Review, The World Economy, the European Review of Agricultural Economics, and is associate editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.

He is also a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Brussels; coordinator of the European Network of Agricultural and Rural Policy Research Institutes (ENARPRI); member of the Advisory Committee of the Regoverning Markets Global Project; and of the Programme Committee of the International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium (IATRC). He holds a PhD from Cornell University.