Applied Economics Teaching Resources

an AAEA Journal

Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

Volume 5, Issue 1, January 2023Download PDF

Special Issue: Fostering Diversity and Inclusion in Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics Classrooms and Departments - Part 1 (Special Guest Editors: Mariah Ehmke and Kenrett Jefferson-Moore)

An Evaluation of Undergraduate Student Diversity Experiences in the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University

Lonnie Hobbs, Jr., Zelia Z. Wiley, Raymond Thomas, Summer Santillana, Andrew Barkley

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Posted online: January 9, 2023
DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.330134

Abstract: As diverse student populations increase in colleges of agriculture at Land-Grant universities, diversity experiences are critical to the academic and personal development of undergraduate students. At Kansas State University, where enrollment of nonwhite undergraduate students has increased from 8 percent (2008) to 12 percent (2022), proper understanding of the factors that affect experiences with diverse groups is vital to foster positive diversity experiences among students. This study applies an ordinary least square (OLS) regression estimation approach to identify and quantify the determinants of positive or negative diversity experiences for students enrolled in the College of Agriculture (COA) at Kansas State University. Data were collected in a survey during Fall 2020, with 359 observations included in the analysis. The period is unique due to the Covid-19 pandemic, causing the data to be particularly informative. The level of diversity experiences is found to be statistically associated with participation in diversity class activities and workshops, ethnic background, small-town background, degree being sought, and living situation. However, student diversity experience levels were relatively low. Overall, the results show that student diversity experiences could be increased through the implementation and promotion of diversity programming based on the determinants of diversity experiences identified in this study."

Keywords: Diversity, diversity experience, diversity programming, inclusion, student success

Recommendations for Contextualizing and Facilitating Class Conversations about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Social Justice

Donald A. Saucier, Noah D. Renken, Ashley A. Schiffer, and Tucker L. Jones

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Posted online: January 23, 2023
DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.330135

Abstract: Conversations about diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging (DEIB) and social justice should be incorporated in many courses, but especially undergraduate Agricultural and Applied Economics courses due to their value for students’ personal and professional development (e.g., Lambert Snodgrass, Morris, and Acheson 2018; Wiersma-Mosley 2019). However, these conversations present difficulties and challenges that instructors should anticipate and recognize prior to facilitation. To prepare for and maximize these experiences for both students and instructors, we believe instructors should bring PEACE (i.e., Preparation, Expertise, Authenticity, Caring, and Engagement; Saucier 2019a, 2019b; Saucier and Jones 2020) to the classroom, a framework for modeling and inspiring empathy among their students, and set the foundation for safe, meaningful conversations. In this article, we discuss practical ways instructors can create empathetic and inclusive learning spaces for themselves and their students that allow for conversations about DEIB and social justice issues. We believe our recommendations will increase the utility and success of these conversations in class, which, in turn, will create a more enriching experience for both students and instructors."

Keywords: Conversations, diversity, empathy, engagement, social justice

Implementing Theory-Based Mentoring and Experiential Learning to Ease Undergraduate Multicultural Scholarship Recipients Transition from Community Colleges to a Large Research Institution

Jaclyn D. Kropp and Danielle Shu

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Posted online: January 24, 2023
DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.330136

Abstract: The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides competitive grants to higher education institutions to support students from diverse backgrounds through scholarships, mentorship, and experiential learning opportunities. The Food and Resource Economics Department (FRE) at the University of Florida was recently awarded one of these grants. In this article, we discuss the theories utilized to develop the multidimensional mentoring and experiential learning programming aspects of FRE’s Multicultural Scholar Program. Programmatic aspects were designed to ease the transition of multicultural scholarship recipients transferring from Associate of Arts (A.A.) programs at state and community colleges to a large research institution. We also highlight challenges and successes we faced in implementing the program. We share our experiences such that other agricultural economics programs seeking funding to support multicultural students and developing mentoring programs for multicultural transfer students aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion can learn from our successes and challenges. "

Keywords: Diversity, Experiential Learning, Inclusion, Mentoring, Scholarship, Transfer Students

Research Articles

Impacts of Teaching Modality on U.S. COVID-19 Spread in Fall 2020 Semester

Syed Badruddoza and Modhurima Dey Amin

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Posted online: December 20, 2022
DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.330137

Abstract: We study the impact of college reopening in fall 2020 on county-level COVID-19 cases and deaths using the information of 1,076 randomly chosen four- and two-year undergraduate degree-granting colleges from the National Center for Education Statistics. These institutions include public, private nonprofit, and for-profit schools from fifty U.S. states and the District of Columbia. We match college and county characteristics using several methods and calculate the average treatment effects of three teaching modalities: in-person, online, and hybrid on COVID-19 outcomes up to 2 months after college reopening. In pairwise comparison, colleges reopened with in-person teaching mode were found to have about 35 percentage points more cases within 15 days of reopening, compared to those that reopened online, and the gap widens over time at a decreasing rate. Death rates follow the pattern with a time lag. However, colleges with hybrid mode reach up to the rates of inperson mode after some time. We also find that greater endowment and student population, bigger class size, and fewer Republican voters in the county are major predictors of choosing remote teaching modes over in person."

Keywords: College, COVID-19, online, teaching modality, United States, university

Case Studies

Milner Ranch: Is the Grass Greener in Processing?

Hwangwon Lee, Tanner McCarty, Anastasia Thayer, and Ryan Larsen

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Posted online: December 6, 2022
DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.330138

Abstract: This case study explores the decisions facing a cattle producer in southern Idaho. Milner Ranch is a diversified family-run business that currently has cow-calf, grazing, and feedlot operations that produce 1,000 head of cattle per year for processing. Like other beef producers, Milner Ranch has recently faced bottlenecks in beef processing and an increasing gap between beef and fed-cattle prices. They wonder whether they would be better served by constructing their own beef processing plant rather than continue to deal with their regional processors. This case study pushes students to conceptualize and analyze the key economic tradeoffs (revenue, cost, risk, etc.) that come with expanding an agricultural firm’s boundary. It also provides practice with examining the strengths and weaknesses of various transactional arrangements between producers and processors (marketing contracts, co-ops, and vertical integration)."

Keywords: Cattle, firm boundary, marketing, processing, strategy

Hedonic Price Analysis of Used Tractors

Ryan Feuz

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Posted online: December 20, 2022
DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.330139

Abstract: This case follows Nate Shepard, a fictionalized data analyst for John Deere, as he is tasked with finding a suitable method for predicting used tractor prices. Nate uses hedonic price theory to specify and estimate a regression equation that can be used to evaluate marginal values of specific tractor attributes and predict out-of-sample tractor prices. Beyond price prediction, Nate must also consider the inflationary environment the used tractor market has been experiencing of late in his regression specification as well as compare the John Deere brand to rival manufacturers. The case allows readers to go along with Nate in the journey as he completes the process of data collection and cleaning, initial model specification based on relevant literature and theory, model estimation, evaluation of the model for misspecification issues, model revision and re-estimation, and model interpretation and use. The case provides an excellent example of empirical regression analysis in an agribusiness setting and gives readers an opportunity to familiarize themselves with hedonic price theory using a data set of actual used tractor auction results from 2020–2022."

Keywords: Hedonic regression, misspecification, ordinary least squares, tractor prices