AgEcon Update

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The Comment Corner

Dear Friends and Alumni,

The semester has been off to a great start for the “Space, Health and Population Economics” (SHaPE) research group. Our weekly seminar series has generated quite a crowd of interested students and faculty. Some 25 graduate students and 5 professors join each other for a lunch session every week. We discuss a variety of real-world problems and the way in which our research can contribute to solving these problems. Among the more recent topics has been the impact of climate change on the production of cereals in Sub-Saharan Africa, the results of which are documented in a recent paper.

Since the beginning of the semester we have graduated two Ph.D. students who are now on their way to strengthen the ranks of the UDSA Economic Research Service and the Census Bureau in Washington DC. Their research dealt with the role of human capital in American immigration, and with two urban economic issues (school competition and gentrification, and the impacts of public housing) in the city of Chicago.

Two of our prominent ongoing areas of investigation deal with the process of business recovery from disasters spearheaded by Maria Marshall, and the impact of the new property tax on the state of Indiana led by Larry DeBoer.

The process of business recovery from disaster has yet to be studied comprehensively. Understanding this process is important not only to characterize and reduce attrition post-disaster but also to determine whether private and government disaster relief policy, business owner practices and family and community factors are leading to recovery. This NSF and AFRI funded research uses comprehensive data on business owners and their families to assess the extent to which family considerations and owner patterns of adjustment to change impact business recovery or non-recovery.

Indiana local governments have now operated under the state’s new property tax caps for two full years. Larry DeBoer has found that the caps make the formerly stable property tax more sensitive to recession, especially in urban areas. The recession caused property prices to fall in 2009. These lower prices were incorporated into assessed values in 2010, and were the basis of tax payments in 2011. Lower assessments require higher tax rates to raise the same revenue. Higher tax rates make more taxpayers eligible for tax cap credits, to hold their tax bills to the cap levels. Tax cap credits are revenue that local governments do not receive. In 26 of 92 counties the revenue loss from added credits was greater than the increase in the tax levy—meaning that post-credit revenue declined as a result of recession, two years later.  Among these counties are those containing the cities of Indianapolis, Gary, Ft. Wayne, South Bend, Muncie and Kokomo.

Best Wishes,
Raymond J.G.M. Florax
Professor and director SHaPE Research Group
Agricultural Economics

AgEcon Homecoming Brunch
Join AgEcon faculty, Hurt image staff and returning alumni at the AgEcon Fire Up for Homecoming Chili Brunch before the Purdue University Boilermakers take on the Fighting Illini on October 22, 2011. Please come to the 3rd floor of the Krannert Building in the AgEcon commons area between 9 and 11:30 a.m. to enjoy a chili brunch, and tailgate in-house with our game day AgEcon faculty team featuring Emeritus, Howard Doster, Associate Professor, Maria Marshall, and new Research Assistant Professor, Nelson Villoria. We hope to see you there. To register, return the form as directed. For additional information, contact Angie Flack at 765-494-4208, .
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Marketing ideas find audience at Purdue
A handful of Fulton image small-business owners have a better idea of how to boost sales of existing products following a workshop Friday at Purdue University. Sponsored by Purdue Extension, the daylong event left participants with a personalized marketing strategy. "I want these people to have a plan they can put in place so their business will be a success," said workshop organizer Joan Fulton, professor of agricultural economics at Purdue. "Small businesses are such an important part of the economy. Read More

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Rebuilding Afghanistan: Helping Restore a Broken Education System, Economy
In a country Keeney image as volatile as Afghanistan, Kevin McNamara may have the most important weapon in the fight for stability — knowledge. When the work of rebuilding the war-torn country began in 2002, an economy dependent on agriculture was found to be decades behind the rest of the world. Faculty members had titles, but not the credentials to back them up. And buildings at Kabul University were in near ruins. A team from Purdue led by McNamara stepped up to help.
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October 2011 Issue

In this Issue

For More Information
Carol Wood
Web Communications Coordinator
Department of Agricultural Economics
Purdue University
(765) 494-0974


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