Jacob Ricker-Gilbert joined the faculty at Purdue in 2011, after completing his PhD at Michigan State University. Since that time he has built a research program around the theme of increasing agricultural intensification and productivity for small-scale farmers in the developing world. Most of his current work focuses on sub-Saharan Africa, and the core topics are 1) Evaluating the economic impacts of input subsidies in Africa; 2) Estimating the impact of farmland markets on agricultural productivity and livelihoods in Africa; 3) analyzing the economics of smallholder farm households’ post-harvest decisions in Africa; 4) studying how smallholder farm households in Africa adapt to climate change. In 2020, Ricker-Gilbert was recognized by Purdue University with the designation of University Faculty Scholar. This honor identifies outstanding faculty who are on an accelerated path for academic distinction in the discovery and dissemination of knowledge.
Ricker-Gilbert has published numerous peer-reviewed articles related to these themes in journals such as American Journal of Agricultural Economics, World Development, Economic Development and Cultural Change and Journal of Development Economics. He has also given seminars and workshops to share the findings of his research with African governments, businesses, and donor organizations. The policy relevance of Ricker-Gilbert’s research was recognized in 2017, when he was a member of a team that won the 2017 Bruce Gardner Memorial Price for Applied Economic Policy Analysis at the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) annual meeting. Ricker-Gilbert strives to bring the policy and business relevant aspects of his research into his undergraduate and graduate classes.
Ricker-Gilbert enjoys collaborating with colleagues from other disciplines and through these collaborative efforts he has been able to help secure nearly $40 million in external grant funding since 2011. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, and the World Bank have been the main funders of his research.