2018 in Review

With a few hours left in 2018, it’s time to post the traditional annual year in review.

This was my first full year as department head at Purdue and it was a busy one. I won’t recount all the departmental events, but you can catch up on our department’s annual report or our monthly newsletters, which chronicle some of the highlights. Just some of the fun: hiring five new faculty, helping institute several new endowed chairs, hiring several new staff members, ushering in new graduate and undergraduate coordinators, an extension coordinator, a center director, and much more.

2018 was also very active on the research front. I was author or co-author on more than 20 peer-reviewed publications in academic journal articles that will bear a 2018 publication date. I won’t recount all of them, but I was especially glad to see my paper with Jane Kolodinsky on GMO labeling published in Science Advances, a paper on GMO price effects with Nicolas Kalaitzandonakes and Alex De Maisonneuve appear in Food Policy, my paper on effects on California animal welfare laws on retail egg prices with Conner Mullally hit the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, and several papers with Trey Malone finally hit the presses this year. I also wrapped up a couple big projects related to consumer preferences for cage free eggs and slow growth chickens and another on pork quality grade labels with Glynn Tonsor, Ted Schroeder, and Dermot Hayes which finally finished up with publication in Food Policy.

There were a number of memorable trips and meetings this year. I finished my term as past president of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association at the annual meetings in Washington, D.C. I really enjoyed the dinner talk I gave for the Atlanta Federal Reserve and getting to hang out with Raphael Bostic, the bank’s president. My talk for the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) in the USDA atrium/patio in D.C. was fun (but noisy) as was getting to follow Sunny Perdue at the National Grain and Feed Association meeting in Arizona (no, he didn’t stick around for my talk). After a year away, I rejoined Maurizio Canavari, Andreas Drichoutis, and Rudy Nayga to teach the seventh (I think!) edition of our summer school on experimental auctions this time in Bolzano, Italy, which was a nice off-the-beaten-path destination. There were, of course, many more trips and talks, some of which are noted here.

This year on the blog, I had about 56 new posts, and there were over 84,000 page views during the year. The number of page views is about on par with the past couple years, but the number of posts is about half of what I’ve generated the past couple years. My goal in 2018 was to post at least once a week, and I hit that target, but it was below what I’d aimed at in previous years. The decline is fully the result of pressing administrative duties which tend to take up every free moment on my calendar. I’m hoping to keep about the same pace for next year - about one post a week.

Here were the most viewed posts, as judged by pageviews, on the blog in 2018:

One of the nice things about blogging for over six years (I started this site in mid-2012) is that there is a lot of back material that continues to get attention. In fact, in 2018 about two-thirds of the 20 most viewed posts were written in a prior year. The most popular prior posts relate to topics like vegetarianism, meat demand, demand estimation, and the relationship between income and food consumption.

Thanks for tuning in!