I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at Dartmouth College, where I also teach development economics (ECON24) and statistics (ECON10). My primary fields are development and environmental economics, with a focus on agricultural trade and structural change. I am on the 2018-19 academic job market and will be at the AEA meetings in Atlanta. [CV]


ryan.b.edwards at dartmouth dot edu


“Export agriculture and regional development: evidence from Indonesia [paper] [short presentation]


This paper measures the impacts of the world’s largest modern agricultural export expansion—that of Indonesian palm oil since 2000—on regional poverty and consumption. Identification exploits geographic differences in suitability for cultivation and rapid growth in global demand. The median expansion led to 2.7 percentage points faster poverty reduction and 4 percent faster consumption growth. Results can be explained by rising returns to labor and land, and indirect effects through investment, fiscal linkages, and public goods. Each percentage point of palm-driven poverty reduction corresponds to a 1.5–3 percentage point loss of forest area.


“Spillovers from agricultural processing”

Can growth in export agriculture ease the transition out of agriculture? This paper uses the proliferation of palm oil factories across Indonesia's outer islands to study industrial onset and estimate spillovers from agricultural processing. Using two identification strategies—comparing villages near factories to those farther away, and combining cultivation suitability and export port proximity into an instrument for factory exposure—I find that villages near factories have more people, firms, and other economic and social organizations. Processing also increases incomes and non-agricultural employment. Employment effects are similar for migrants and locals. These patterns can be at least partially explained by growth in linked industries, infrastructure, and local market integration.

Upcoming talks

"Causes of Asian forest fires" and "Spillovers from agricultural processing" at Sustainability and Development Conference, University of Michigan, November 9-11, 2018.