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Agriculture Prof Awarded USDA Grant

June 08, 2015

Dr. Andrew Wright of the Angelo State University agriculture faculty has been awarded a three-year, $90,208 grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to fund a project titled “Enhanced Education and Expanded Research Capabilities through Experimental Economics Laboratories.”

The grant is a sub-award through Texas Tech University and is part of the USDA’s Capacity Building Grants for Non-Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture Program. The purpose of the grant is to establish experimental economics laboratories at both ASU and TTU that can collaborate on research projects and enhance the education of agricultural economics and agribusiness students at both schools. 

Wright, an assistant professor of agricultural economics, will be responsible for establishing and managing the ASU lab, while the Texas Tech lab will be managed by Dr. Ryan Williams of the TTU Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics. Williams’ Texas Tech colleague, Dr. Darren Hudson, will also collaborate on research projects. 

The ASU lab will not be housed in a single facility on campus. Rather, its components will be mobile, allowing for set up and use in various classrooms and other locations. 

Experimental economics is a branch of economic analysis that applies experimental methods more commonly associated with the natural and physical sciences to economic problems.  That approach allows for testing and modifying traditional models of economic behavior using observations of individuals in a controlled setting. Once the labs at ASU and Texas Tech are established, they will work together on research related to natural resource policy and management. 

Dr. Andrew WrightDr. Andrew Wright“I am excited to establish an experimental economics lab here at Angelo State University,” Wright said. “I look forward to using this resource to further our ability to educate students about economic behavior and to research natural resource management problems that are important to this region of Texas.” 

The new lab will also give students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience exploring and researching economic and market theories learned in the classroom. 

“Economic experiments are a great way to teach students about the principles of economics,” Wright said. “The use of experimental methods to demonstrate market outcomes is a well-established practice. I can use those experiences to motivate further class discussions using students’ own behavior and choices, as opposed to abstract numerical examples.” 

For more information, contact Wright at 325-486-6751 or andrew.wright@angelo.edu.