Chris Barrett

Stephen B. & Janice G. Ashley Professor of Applied Economics and Management


Chris Barrett is Stephen B. and Janice G. Ashley Professor of Applied Economics and Management, and an International Professor of Agriculture, all at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, as well as a Professor in the Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy and a Senior Faculty Fellow of the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, all at Cornell University. He has won several university, national and international awards for teaching, research and public outreach, and is an elected Member of the National Academy of Sciences, and Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, and the African Association of Agricultural Economists.

Research Focus

In this world of plenty, almost half the world's 7+ billion people live on $2/day or less. More than half suffer malnutrition due to insufficient intake of calories, protein or critical micronutrients such as vitamin A, iodine and iron, or from obesity. More than one child in five lives in extreme poverty. While failing to provide for the most essential needs of a share of humankind, we also overexploit the natural resources on which future generations' well-being fundamentally depends.

My research, teaching and outreach explore why unnecessary injustice continues to disfigure the richest, most technologically advanced societies in history and what individuals and institutions can do to improve matters. There are three basic, interrelated thrusts to my work. The first concerns improving our understanding of the drivers of poverty and food insecurity, and how private and public policy can facilitate desirable structural transformation in low-income societies. The second considers issues of individual and market behavior under risk and uncertainty and how those can cause or prolong unnecessary human suffering. The third revolves around the interrelationship between poverty, food insecurity and environmental stress. These topics necessarily cross disciplinary lines, drawing me into stimulating interdisciplinary work with natural scientists and non-economist social scientists, from whom my students and I learn much.

ECON Courses - Spring 2024