Tamma Carleton

MSc in Economics for Development (2012-13), focusing on food security challenges in light of accelerating environmental change.

What are you studying?

"I just finished an MSc in Environmental Change and Management at the Environmental Change Institute, and am now starting an MSc in Economics for Development that is jointly within the Oxford Department of International Development and the Department of Economics"

What's your research about?

"I focus on food security challenges in light of accelerating environmental change. Thus far, my research has sought to identify climate change adaptation solutions within complex food systems that acknowledge the multiplicity of stressors that face developing world subsistence farmers. My fieldwork in Kenya focuses on how rainfall variability interacts with price volatility in local markets, and I research production and postharvest solutions that may allow farmers to respond to both of these pressures. I use economic simulation models to predict adoption rates of new postharvest technologies in rural Kenya, while using qualitative research methods to ground my models and uncover systemic feedbacks within local, national and regional food systems."

What's your background that led you to studying at Oxford?

"I studied economics as an undergraduate and focused on the evolution of social norms within sharecropping contracts. I was an assistant on economic research projects ranging from economic history of land tenure to international monetary systems and their influence on development. I worked for the United States Federal Trade Commission in the Bureau of Economics, and this work experience encouraged me to pursue an interdisciplinary degree at Oxford so as to broaden my perspective outside of economics alone. I was a founding member of a local food and farming initiative in Washington, D.C., which led me to focus my studies on issues of food security and sustainability within food systems."

What do you hope to do next, when you have finished your studies at Oxford?

"I hope to pursue a PhD in Economics or Agricultural Economics in the United States. I eventually would like to work both in academia and in research-based policy institutions like the International Food Policy Research Institute, so that I can continue researching food system sustainability while engaging directly in policy development and implementation."

What led you to choose Oxford?

"Oxford allowed me to pursue two diverse master’s degrees within two years that each provide me with a unique perspective on issues of food security and environmental change. I was drawn to Oxford as well because of its former involvement with the Global Environmental Change and Food Systems project (GECAFS), and the faculty that remain here after leading that project."


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