Gabriel Swagel ’20
Research Assistant for Sustainable Development: Agricultural Economics in India and China
I worked as a research assistant in the NITSAN Lab, an interdisciplinary center for sustainabledevelopment research that focuses on some of the most pressing issues facing the global poor. I worked directly with the lab head, Ram Fishman, on two major projects. The first project focused on fertilizer overuse in Chinese agriculture, a major pollution issue. Using a longitudinal dataset of more than 3 million plotlevel observations, I designed parametric and non-parametric regression models to estimate the response of a variety of crops to nitrogen fertilizer. The second project studied how smallholder farmers in India use water, and the impact of drought on that usage. I helped develop the research question, compile literature on the topic, clean data, design econometric models to identify the effect of drought on water usage, and write drafts of papers. I learned valuable skills in econometric modeling and programming, writing, and working within a team. I also developed an interest in smallholder-farmer welfare. I am building on an insight I had about the possible correlation between soil quality and farm size to write my junior paper on the inverse relationship between farm size and productivity in developing agriculture.
Water and Health
NITSAN Lab, Tel Aviv University- Tel Aviv, Israel
Ram Fishman, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Tel Aviv University