GFS staff disseminates research on agriculture and health economics on visit to Europe

The Global Food Studies staff, Dr Xiaobo He, recently visited University of Hohenheim (Germany), Stockholm School of Economics (Sweden) and University of Göttingen (Germany) during 15-26 April 2014. Xiaobo and the director of Global Food Studies, Associate Professor Wendy Umberger, also attended the second GlobalFood Symposium at University of Göttingen held between 25 and 26 April 2014.

Xiaobo presented his joint work entitled “The effects of air pollution on health: Evidence from China” at FZID Lecture Series Research Seminar at University of Hohenheim on 16 April 2014. He emphasised the importance of looking for micro-level causal evidence on how increasingly severe air pollution in developing countries may worsen individual health outcomes. In the analysis, he and his co-authors propose a novel instrumental variable approach to mitigate endogeneity issues. In addition, they consider both subjective and objective measures of health, which also potentially contributes to the existing literature.

Xiaobo then presented his joint paper entitled “Food security in 18th-century China: Did the state civilian granary system stabilize the rice markets?” at brown bag seminar at Stockholm China Economic Research Institute (Stockholm School of Economics) on 23 April 2014. In this project, he and his co-author examine the association between the changes in storage of state civilian granaries and dispersion of rice prices in southern and eastern China during 1741-1795. The preliminary results show that increases in granary holdings are statistically significantly correlated to more stable rice markets (relatively lower price dispersion).

University of Hohenheim

University of Hohenheim


Xiaobo and the Director of Global Food Studies, Associate Professor Wendy Umberger , attended the second GlobalFood Symposium at University of Göttingen during 25-26 April 2014 (Picture: Prof Umberger chairing a session “Supply chain relations and rent distribution”). The aim of this Symposium is to discuss new research findings and policy challenges related to the global agri-food system transformation. The two-day event featured plenary sessions with invited speakers, contributed paper sessions, and posters.

The speakers included Joachim von Braun (Germany), Julio Berdegue (Chile), Julie Caswell (USA), Jill Hobbs (Canada), Jo Swinnen (Belgium), and Maximo Torero (USA). More than 250 participants attended the symposium and more than 50 contributed papers were presented at 13 parallel sessions. On 25 April, Xiaobo presented a joint paper with Wendy Umberger and Nicholas Minot entitled “Supermarkets, diet transition and child health: Is there a link? Evidence from a survey of urban Indonesian households”. On 26 April, Wendy presented her joint paper with Suprehatin, Dr Dale Yi and Professor Randy Stringer entitled “How do farmers’ preferences for crop attributes affect high value crop adoption?”

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