It can be challenging to talk across disciplines. Even within a shared discipline, academics and researchers encounter difficulties when it comes to sharing data and frameworks. As founder and executive director of the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP), agricultural economics professor Thomas Hertel has made strides dealing with this problem, establishing a common “language” for economists to discuss issues of trade and the global economy. The project maintains and oversees a global economic database and a modeling framework. GTAP is a collaborative effort among academics across the globe and is used to inform policymaking as well as research.
In addition to his work with GTAP, Hertel is a distinguished researcher in areas of trade, climate change and energy policy. He has authored several books, including Global Trade Analysis: Modeling and Applications. Hertel is regularly interviewed by national and international media to discuss trade conditions and the impacts they have on agriculture. He also speaks with authority on land use, research spending and food policy. Hertel has managed on projects for the World Trade Organization and the Center for Food Security and the Environment and routinely collaborates with international organizations and scholars.