Ertharin Cousin is a Visiting Scholar at the Center on Food Security and the Environment. She is also a distinguished fellow of global agriculture at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
She previously served as executive director of the World Food Programme from 2012 until 2017. In this role, Cousin led the world’s largest humanitarian organization with 14,000 staff serving 80 million vulnerable people across 75 countries. Cousin possesses more than 30 years of national and international nonprofit, government, and corporate leadership experience. She maintains relationships with global government, business, and community leaders. She has published numerous articles regarding agriculture, food security, and nutrition.
In 2009, Cousin was nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate as the US ambassador to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome. In this role Cousin served as the US representative for all food, agriculture, and nutrition related issues. Cousin regularly represented US interest in global leader discussions, including prime ministers, foreign and agriculture ministers, academics and business executives, regarding humanitarian and development activities. Cousin helped identify and catalyze US government investment in food security and nutrition activities supported by the USAID Feed the Future program. Cousin convened foreign media tours resulting in millions of conventional as well social media impressions.
Prior to her global hunger work, Cousin helped lead the US domestic fight to end hunger while serving as executive vice president and chief operating officer of America’s Second Harvest (now Feeding America). In this role Cousin led the operations, budgeting, and expenditures as well as the human resources, IT, and training activities of this national confederation of 200 foodbanks across America serving over 50,000,000 meals per year. Previously, Cousin served as senior vice president for Albertson’s Foods. As a corporate reporting officer, Cousin served as the Albertson lead for community relations, customer relations, legislative and regulatory affairs, industry and external relations, including communications serving as the company’s chief spokesperson. While serving at Albertson she was appointed by the US president to the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development where she helped oversee US government agriculture research investments worldwide. Before Albertsons, Cousin also served in government as the White House Liaison to the State Department. She received the department’s Meritorious Service award for her work expeditiously and successfully addressing foreign policy issues which arose when the US hosted the Atlanta Olympics.
A Chicago native, Cousin is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago; the University of Georgia Law School, and the University of Chicago Executive Management Finance for Non-Financial Executives program. Cousin has received honorary doctorate degrees from universities around the globe. She has been listed numerous times on the Forbes “100 Most Powerful Women” list, as the Fortune “Most Powerful Woman in Food and Drink,” on TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” list, and as one of the “500 Most Powerful People on the Planet” by Foreign Policy magazine.
Visiting Scholar at the Center on Food Security and the Environment
Growing evidence demonstrates that climatic conditions can have a profound impact on the functioning of modern human societies, but effects on economic activity appear inconsistent. Fundamental productive elements of modern economies, such as workers and crops, exhibit highly non-linear responses to local temperature even in wealthy countries. In contrast, aggregate macroeconomic productivity of entire wealthy countries is reported not to respond to temperature= while poor countries respond only linearly. Resolving this conflict between micro and macro observations is critical to understanding the role of wealth in coupled human–natural systems and to anticipating the global impact of climate change. Here we unify these seemingly contradictory results by accounting for non-linearity at the macro scale. We show that overall economic productivity is non-linear in temperature for all countries, with productivity peaking at an annual average temperature of 13 °C and declining strongly at higher temperatures. The relationship is globally generalizable, unchanged since 1960, and apparent for agricultural and non-agricultural activity in both rich and poor countries. These results provide the first evidence that economic activity in all regions is coupled to the global climate and establish a new empirical foundation for modelling economic loss in response to climate change, with important implications. If future adaptation mimics past adaptation, unmitigated warming is expected to reshape the global economy by reducing average global incomes roughly 23% by 2100 and widening global income inequality, relative to scenarios without climate change. In contrast to prior estimates, expected global losses are approximately linear in global mean temperature, with median losses many times larger than leading models indicate.
New research finds that without climate change mitigation, even wealthy countries will see an economic downturn by 2100.
When thousands of scientists, economists and policymakers meet in Paris this December to negotiate an international climate treaty, one question will dominate conversations: what is the climate worth?
A new study published in the journal Nature shows that the global economy will take a harder hit from rising temperatures than previously thought, with incomes falling in most countries by the year 2100 if climate change continues unchecked. Rich countries may experience a brief economic uptick, but growth will drop off sharply after temperatures pass a critical heat threshold.
The study, co-led by Marshall Burke, a professor of Earth system science at Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, provides a clear picture of how climate change will shape the global economy, which has been a critical missing piece for the international climate community leading up to the Paris talks. Understanding how much future climate change will cost in terms of global economic losses will help policymakers at the meetings decide how much to invest in emissions reductions today.
The work was co-authored by two researchers from the University of California, Berkeley: co-lead author Solomon Hsiang, the Chancellor's Associate Professor of Public Policy, and Edward Miguel, Oxfam Professor in Environmental and Resource Economics.
"The data tell us that there are particular temperatures where we humans are really good at producing stuff," said Burke, who is also Center Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and fellow, by courtesy, at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. "In countries that are normally quite cold - mostly wealthy northern countries - higher temperatures are associated with faster economic growth, but only to a point. After that point, growth declines rapidly.
That point, it turns out, is an annual average temperature of about 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
As average temperatures move past that mark, wealthy countries will start to see a drop-off in economic output. Poorer countries, mostly in the tropics, will suffer even steeper losses because they are already past the temperature threshold. This has the potential to widen the global inequality gap, said Burke.
A new approach
Looking at existing research, the team found a puzzling mismatch between micro-level studies, which show negative impacts of hot temperatures on output in specific sectors such as agriculture, and macro-level studies, which at least in rich countries show limited impacts on economic output.
"Many very careful studies show clearly that high temperatures are bad for things like agriculture and labor productivity, even in rich countries," Burke said. "While these relationships showed up again and again in the micro data – for example when looking at agricultural fields or manufacturing plants – they were not showing up in the existing macro-level studies, and we wanted to understand why."
The researchers suspected the problem was with the analysis, not the data, so they took a new approach.
Analyzing records from 166 countries over a 50-year period from 1960 to 2010, they compared each country's economic output in years of normal temperatures to that of unusually warm or unusually cool years. The data revealed a hill-shaped relationship between economic output and temperature, with output rising until the 55 F threshold and then falling faster and faster at higher temperatures. “Our macro-level results lined up nicely with the micro-level studies,” Hsiang said.
Two possible future. Colors are 2100 temperatures under “business as usual” climate change (left) and aggressive climate policy (right). This image shows a simulation of future nightlights, as seen from space, since richer economies tend to glow brighter. A hotter world is a more unequal world, with the north benefitting and tropical economies declining. A cooler world leads to more equitable global growth, offering regions like Africa the chance to “catch up”. Source: Burke, Hsiang and Miguel.
Higher temperatures, lower growth
The team then sought to understand what this historical pattern might mean for the future global economy as temperatures continue to warm.
“Many other researchers have projected economic impacts under future climate change,” Hsiang said. “But we feel our results improve our ability to anticipate how societies in coming decades might respond to warming temperatures.”
Projecting future changes in economic output under climate change was challenging.
“Even without climate change, there are a lot of possible ways in which the future economy might evolve,” Burke said. “We start with a few different baseline scenarios and then we bring in our historical understanding of the relationship between temperature and economic output to better understand how these economic trajectories might change with warming temperatures."
The researchers’ findings were stark.
In a scenario of unmitigated climate change, the team’s model shows that by 2100 the per-capita incomes of 77 percent of countries in the world would fall relative to current levels. By the team’s main estimate, global incomes could decline 23 percent by 2100, relative to a world without climate change. Other estimates are twice as high. The likelihood of global economic losses larger than 20 percent of current income is at least 40 percent, and much higher in some scenarios.
These estimates are substantially larger than existing models indicate, a difference the research team attributes to their updated and data-driven understanding of how countries have historically responded to temperature increases.
Rich countries not immune
A common assumption among researchers has been that wealth and technology protect rich countries from the economic impacts of climate change, because they use these resources to adapt to higher temperatures.
"Under this hypothesis, the impacts of future warming should lessen over time as more countries become richer," Burke said. "But we find limited evidence that this is the case."
Burke's team found that, historically, rich countries did not appear to respond any differently to temperature change than poor countries.
“The data definitely don’t provide strong evidence that rich countries are immune from the effects of hot temperatures,” said Hsiang. “Many rich countries just happen to have cooler average temperatures to start with, meaning that future warming will overall be less harmful than in poorer, hotter countries.”
Paris climate talks
From Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, France will host the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11).
More than 40,000 delegates from national governments, private companies and civil society will meet in Paris to hash out an international agreement aimed at keeping global emissions low enough to prevent warming of more than two degrees Celsius.
On the table are three key issues: climate adaptation, mitigation and financing.
"We don't want to rule out that we could see unprecedented adaptation to hotter temperatures in the future, and we certainly hope we do see it," Burke said. "The historical evidence, though, suggests that this is not something we should count on."
The team says that mitigation, and how to pay for it, should be at the forefront of discussions in Paris.
"Our research is important for COP21 because it suggest that these economic damages could be much larger than current estimates indicate," said Burke. "What that means for policy is that we should be willing to spend a lot more on mitigation than we would otherwise. The benefits of action on mitigation are much greater than we thought, because the costs of inaction are much greater than we thought."
Note for reporters: The research team has created a website about their research results and methodology, including an interactive map showing country-by-country GDP projections through 2100 under a scenario of unmitigated climate change.
For 14 years, Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar has been a tireless Stanford professor who has strengthened the fabric of university’s interdisciplinary nature. Joining the faculty at Stanford Law School in 2001, Cuéllar soon found a second home for himself at the Freeman Spogli for International Studies. He held various leadership roles throughout the institute for several years – including serving as co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation. He took the helm of FSI as the institute’s director in 2013, and oversaw a tremendous expansion of faculty, research activity and student engagement.
An expert in administrative law, criminal law, international law, and executive power and legislation, Cuéllar is now taking on a new role. He leaves Stanford this month to serve as justice of the California Supreme Court and will be succeeded at FSI by Michael McFaul on Jan. 5.
As the academic quarter comes to a close, Cuéllar took some time to discuss his achievements at FSI and the institute’s role on campus. And his 2014 Annual Letter and Report can be read here.
You’ve had an active 20 months as FSI’s director. But what do you feel are your major accomplishments?
We started with a superb faculty and made it even stronger. We hired six new faculty members in areas ranging from health and drug policy to nuclear security to governance. We also strengthened our capacity to generate rigorous research on key global issues, including nuclear security, global poverty, cybersecurity, and health policy. Second, we developed our focus on teaching and education. Our new International Policy Implementation Lab brings faculty and students together to work on applied projects, like reducing air pollution in Bangladesh, and improving opportunities for rural schoolchildren in China. We renewed FSI's focus on the Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies, adding faculty and fellowships, and launched a new Stanford Global Student Fellows program to give Stanford students global experiences through research opportunities. Third, we bolstered FSI's core infrastructure to support research and education, by improving the Institute's financial position and moving forward with plans to enhance the Encina complex that houses FSI.
Finally, we forged strong partnerships with critical allies across campus. The Graduate School of Business is our partner on a campus-wide Global Development and Poverty Initiative supporting new research to mitigate global poverty. We've also worked with the Law School and the School of Engineering to help launch the new Stanford Cyber Initiative with $15 million in funding from the Hewlett Foundation. We are engaging more faculty with new health policy working groups launched with the School of Medicine and an international and comparative education venture with the Graduate School of Education.
Those partnerships speak very strongly to the interdisciplinary nature of Stanford and FSI. How do these relationships reflect FSI's goals?
The genius of Stanford has been its investment in interdisciplinary institutions. FSI is one of the largest. We should be judged not only by what we do within our four walls, but by what activity we catalyze and support across campus. With the business school, we've launched the initiative to support research on global poverty across the university. This is a part of the SEED initiative of the business school and it is very complementary to our priorities on researching and understanding global poverty and how to alleviate. It's brought together researchers from the business school, from FSI, from the medical school, and from the economics department.
Another example would be our health policy working groups with the School of Medicine. Here, we're leveraging FSI’s Center for Health Policy, which is a great joint venture and allows us to convene people who are interested in the implementation of healthcare reforms and compare the perspective and on why lifesaving interventions are not implemented in developing countries and how we can better manage biosecurity risks. These working groups are a forum for people to understand each other's research agendas, to collaborate on seeking funding and to engage students.
I could tell a similar story about our Mexico Initiative. We organize these groups so that they cut across generations of scholars so that they engage people who are experienced researchers but also new fellows, who are developing their own agenda for their careers. Sometimes it takes resources, sometimes it takes the engagement of people, but often what we've found at FSI is that by working together with some of our partners across the university, we have a more lasting impact.
Looking at a growing spectrum of global challenges, where would you like to see FSI increase its attention?
FSI's faculty, students, staff, and space represent a unique resource to engage Stanford in taking on challenges like global hunger, infectious disease, forced migration, and weak institutions. The key breakthrough for FSI has been growing from its roots in international relations, geopolitics, and security to focusing on shared global challenges, of which four are at the core of our work: security, governance, international development, and health.
These issues cross borders. They are not the concern of any one country.
Geopolitics remain important to the institute, and some critical and important work is going on at the Center for International Security and Cooperation to help us manage the threat of nuclear proliferation, for example. But even nuclear proliferation is an example of how the transnational issues cut across the international divide. Norms about law, the capacity of transnational criminal networks, smuggling rings, the use of information technology, cybersecurity threats – all of these factors can affect even a traditional geopolitical issue like nuclear proliferation.
So I can see a research and education agenda focused on evolving transnational pressures that will affect humanity in years to come. How a child fares when she is growing up in Africa will depend at least as much on these shared global challenges involving hunger and poverty, health, security, the role of information technology and humanity as they will on traditional relations between governments, for instance.
What are some concrete achievements that demonstrate how FSI has helped create an environment for policy decisions to be better understood and implemented?
We forged a productive collaboration with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees through a project on refugee settlements that convened architects, Stanford researchers, students and experienced humanitarian responders to improve the design of settlements that house refugees and are supposed to meet their human needs. That is now an ongoing effort at the UN Refugee Agency, which has also benefited from collaboration with us on data visualization and internship for Stanford students.
Our faculty and fellows continue the Institute's longstanding research to improve security and educate policymakers. We sometimes play a role in Track II diplomacy on sensitive issues involving global security – including in South Asia and Northeast Asia. Together with Hoover, We convened a first-ever cyber bootcamp to help legislative staff understand the Internet and its vulnerabilities. We have researchers who are in regular contact with policymakers working on understanding how governance failures can affect the world's ability to meet pressing health challenges, including infectious diseases, such as Ebola.
On issues of economic policy and development, our faculty convened a summit of Japanese prefectural officials work with the private sector to understand strategies to develop the Japanese economy.
And we continued educating the next generation of leaders on global issues through the Draper Hills summer fellows program and our honors programs in security and in democracy and the rule of law.
How do you see FSI’s role as one of Stanford’s independent laboratories?
It's important to recognize that FSI's growth comes at particularly interesting time in the history of higher education – where universities are under pressure, where the question of how best to advance human knowledge is a very hotly debated question, where universities are diverging from each other in some ways and where we all have to ask ourselves how best to be faithful to our mission but to innovate. And in that respect, FSI is a laboratory. It is an experimental venture that can help us to understand how a university like Stanford can organize itself to advance the mission of many units, that's the partnership point, but to do so in a somewhat different way with a deep engagement to practicality and to the current challenges facing the world without abandoning a similarly deep commitment to theory, empirical investigation, and rigorous scholarship.
What have you learned from your time at Stanford and as director of FSI that will inform and influence how you approach your role on the state’s highest court?
Universities play an essential role in human wellbeing because they help us advance knowledge and prepare leaders for a difficult world. To do this, universities need to be islands of integrity, they need to be engaged enough with the outside world to understand it but removed enough from it to keep to the special rules that are necessary to advance the university's mission.
Some of these challenges are also reflected in the role of courts. They also need to be islands of integrity in a tumultuous world, and they require fidelity to high standards to protect the rights of the public and to implement laws fairly and equally.
This takes constant vigilance, commitment to principle, and a practical understanding of how the world works. It takes a combination of humility and determination. It requires listening carefully, it requires being decisive and it requires understanding that when it's part of a journey that allows for discovery but also requires deep understanding of the past.
In a recent speech, Stanford professor Rosamond Naylor examined the wide range of challenges contributing to global food insecurity, which Naylor defined as a lack of plentiful, nutritious and affordable food. Naylor's lecture, titled "Feeding the World in the 21st Century," was part of the quarterly Earth Matters series sponsored by Stanford Continuing Studies and the Stanford School of Earth Sciences. Naylor, a professor of Environmental Earth System Science and director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford, is also a professor (by courtesy) of Economics, and the William Wrigley Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.
"One billion people go to bed day in and day out with chronic hunger," said Naylor. The problem of food insecurity, she explained, goes far beyond food supply. "We produce enough calories, just with cereal crops alone, to feed everyone on the planet," she said. Rather, food insecurity arises from a complex and interactive set of factors including poverty, malnutrition, disease, conflict, poor governance and volatile prices. Food supply depends on limited natural resources including water and energy, and food accessibility depends on government policies about land rights, biofuels, and food subsidies. Often, said Naylor, food policies in one country can impact food security in other parts of the world. Solutions to global hunger must account for this complexity, and for the "evolving" nature of food security.
As an example of this evolution, Naylor pointed to the success of China and India in reducing hunger rates from 70 percent to 15 percent within a single generation. Economic growth was key, as was the "Green Revolution," a series of advances in plant breeding, irrigation and agricultural technology that led to a doubling of global cereal crop production between 1970 and 2010. But Naylor warned that the success of the Green Revolution can lead to complacency about present-day food security challenges. China, for example, sharply reduced hunger as it underwent rapid economic growth, but now faces what Naylor described as a "second food security challenge" of micronutrient deficiency. Anemia, which is caused by a lack of dietary iron and which Naylor said is common in many rural areas of China, can permanently damage children's cognitive development and school performance, and eventually impede a country’s economic growth.
Hunger knows no boundaries
Although hunger is more prevalent in the developing world, food insecurity knows no geographic boundaries, said Naylor. Every country, including wealthy economies like the United States, struggles with problems of food availability, access, and nutrition. "Rather than think of this as 'their problem' that we don't need to deal with, really it's our problem too," Naylor said.
She pointed out that one in five children in the United States is chronically hungry, and 50 million Americans receive government food assistance. Many more millions go to soup kitchens every night, she added. "We are in a precarious position with our own food security, with big implications for public health and educational attainment," Naylor said. A major paradox of the United States' food security challenge is that hunger increasingly coexists with obesity. For the poorest Americans, cheap food offers abundant calories but low nutritional value. To improve the health and food security of millions of Americans, "linking policy in a way that can enhance the incomes of the poorest is really important, and it's the hard part,” she said.” It's not easy to fix the inequality issue."
When asked whether there were any "easy" decisions that the global community can agree to, Naylor responded, "What we need to do for a lot of these issues is pretty clear, but how we get after it is not always agreed upon." She added, "But I think we've seen quite a few success stories," including the growing research on climate resilient crops, new scientific tools such as plant genetics, improved modeling techniques for water and irrigation systems, and better knowledge about how to use fertilizer more efficiently. She also said that the growing body of agriculture-focused climate research was encouraging, and that Stanford is a leader on this front.
Naylor is the editor and co-author of The Evolving Sphere of Food Security, a new book from Oxford University Press. The book features a team of 19 faculty authors from 5 Stanford schools including Earth science, economics, law, engineering, medicine, political science, international relations, and biology. The all-Stanford lineup was intentional, Naylor said, because the university is committed to interdisciplinary research that addresses complex global issues like food security, and because "agriculture is incredibly dominated by policy, and Stanford has a long history of dealing with some of these policy elements. This is the glue that enables us to answer really challenging questions."
Interactions between global supply chains, land use, and governance: the case of soybean production in South America
Rapid growth in global soybean demand has had a profound impact on land cover in South America over the last three decades, contributing to a 30 million hectare increase in soybean planted area during this period. Much of this new soybean area came at the expense of native vegetation in the Amazon, Cerrado, and Chaco forests and savannas. The goal of my dissertation is to integrate theories from agricultural economics, land change science, and economic geography to better understand the economic and institutional mechanisms that influence the location and impact of soybean production in South America at multiple scales. In particular, I aim to: i) link changes in international demand, consumer preferences, and macroeconomic conditions to local changes in soybean area in South America through the study of soybean supply chains, and ii) understand how supply chains create or enforce land use institutions and market mechanisms.
I show that a country’s use of GM soybean technology influences how competitive that country is in foreign soybean markets. Trade relationships, in turn, interact with supply chain configurations to mediate producers’ exposure to consumer preferences in importing countries and opportunities to tap into additional niche markets for environmentally responsible soybeans. This cyclical feedback between trade relationships and land use helps determine the overall environmental impact of soybean production in a particular country. I also find that differences in land tenure and environmental institutions in the Brazilian Cerrado and Amazon influence the development of agglomeration economies in soybean production. Where agglomeration economies occur, they act to create positive externalities related to prices, information, and access to resources for farmers, which increases the total factor productivity and local profitability of agriculture. The organization of the supply chain in each county, in turn, influences the enforcement of environmental regulations through the type of actors being involved and their sustainability commitments.
Reception to follow around 5:30pm Y2E2 Second Floor Terrace (entrance between rooms 235 adn 239)
Rachael Garrett is a 3rd year PhD student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources. Rachael earned her Bachelor of Arts in History and Environmental Analysis and Policy at Boston University, Magna Cum Laude, where she was a University Scholar and earned the Franklin C. Erickson Prize for Excellence in Geography. She later obtained her Master in Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University. She is the current recipient of the Richard L. Kauffman and Ellen Jewett IPER Fellowship.
Rachael studies the economic and institutional determinants of soybean production in Brazil. To develop a more well-rounded understanding of these issues she incorporates multiple spatial scales in her analysis, including: local case studies, regional modeling, and macroeconomic analysis. Garrett presented some preliminary research on the macroeconomic drivers of soybean planted area in Brazil at the Association of American Geographers Annual Conference in April 2010 and is currently focusing on developing the local and regional scales of her dissertation. This summer Garrett will be returning to Brazil for three months to conduct additional interviews with soy farmers.
Globalization, Trade, and the Environment: The case of Brazil
Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, a Stanford law professor and expert on administrative law and governance, public organizations, and transnational security, will lead the university’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.
The announcement was made in Feb. 11 by Provost John Etchemendy and Ann Arvin, Stanford’s vice provost and dean of research.
“Professor Cuéllar brings a remarkable breadth of experience to his new role as FSI director, which is reflected in his many achievements as a legal scholar and his work on diverse federal policy initiatives over the past decade,” Arvin said. “He is deeply committed to enhancing FSI’s academic programs and ensuring that it remains an intellectually rich environment where faculty and students can pursue important interdisciplinary and policy-relevant research.”
Known to colleagues as “Tino,” Cuéllar starts his role as FSI director on July 1.
Cuéllar has been co-director of FSI’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) since 2011, and has served in the Clinton and Obama administrations. In his role as FSI director, he’ll oversee 11 research centers and programs – including CISAC – along with a variety of undergraduate and graduate education initiatives on international affairs. His move to the institute's helm will be marked by a commitment to build on FSI’s interdisciplinary approach to solving some of the world’s biggest problems.
“I am deeply honored to have been asked to lead FSI. The institute is in a unique position to help address some of our most pressing international challenges, in areas such as governance and development, health, technology, and security,” Cuéllar said. “FSI’s culture embodies the best of Stanford – a commitment to rigorous research, training leaders and engaging with the world – and excels at bringing together accomplished scholars from different disciplines.”
Cuéllar, 40, is a senior fellow at FSI and the Stanley Morrison Professor of Law at the law school, where he will continue to teach and conduct research. He succeeds Gerhard Casper, Stanford’s ninth president and a senior fellow at FSI.
“We are deeply indebted to former President Casper for accomplishing so much as FSI director this year and for overseeing the transition to new leadership so effectively,” Arvin said.
Casper was appointed to direct the institute for one year following the departure of Coit D. Blacker, who led FSI from 2003 to 2012 and oversaw significant growth in faculty appointments and research.
Casper, who chaired the search for a new director, said Cuéllar has a “profound understanding of institutions and policy issues, both nationally and internationally.”
“Stanford is very fortunate to have persuaded Tino to become director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies,” Casper said. “He will not only be an outstanding fiduciary of the institute, but with his considerable imagination, energy, and tenacity will develop collaborative and multidisciplinary approaches to problem-solving.”
Cuéllar – who did undergraduate work at Harvard, earned his law degree from Yale and received his PhD in political science at Stanford in 2000 – has had an extensive public service record since he began teaching at Stanford Law School in 2001.
Taking a leave of absence from Stanford during 2009 and 2010, he worked as special assistant to the president for justice and regulatory policy at the White House, where his responsibilities included justice and public safety, public health policy, borders and immigration, and regulatory reform. Earlier, he co-chaired the presidential transition team responsible for immigration.
After returning to Stanford, he accepted a presidential appointment to the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States, a nonpartisan agency charged with recommending improvements in the efficiency and fairness of federal regulatory programs.
Cuéllar also worked in the Treasury Department during the Clinton administration, focusing on fighting financial crime, improving border coordination and enhancing anti-corruption measures.
Since his appointment as co-director of CISAC, Cuéllar worked to expand the center’s agenda while continuing its strong focus on arms control, nuclear security and counterterrorism. During Cuéllar’s tenure, the center launched new projects on cybsersecurity, migration and refugees, as well as violence and governance in Latin America. CISAC also added six fellowships; recruited new faculty affiliates from engineering, medicine, and the social sciences; and forged ties with academic units across campus.
He said his focus as FSI’s director will be to strengthen the institute’s centers and programs and enhance its contributions to graduate education while fostering collaboration among faculty with varying academic backgrounds.
“FSI has much to contribute through its existing research centers and education programs,” he said. “But we will also need to forge new initiatives cutting across existing programs in order to understand more fully the complex risks and relationships shaping our world.”
Soybean production has become a significant force for economic development in Brazil, but has come at the cost of expansion into non-protected forests in the Amazon and native savanna in the Cerrado. Over the past fifty years, production has increased from 26 million to 260 million tons. Area planted to soybeans has increased from roughly 1 million hectares in 1970 to more than 23 million hectares in 2010, second only to the United States.
A new study out of Stanford University examines the role of institutions and supply chain conditions in Brazil’s booming soybean industry and the relationship between soy yields and planted area. With the demand for soybeans projected to increase far into the future a better understanding of the economic and institutional factors influencing production can help policymakers better manage land use change.
Using county level data the researchers found that soy area and yields are higher in areas with high cooperative membership and credit levels, and where cheap credit sources are more accessible. Cooperatives help producers secure lower prices for inputs or higher prices for outputs through group purchases and sales. They also enable producers to store their grain past the harvesting period and sell it when prices are higher.
“This suggests that soybean production and profitability will increase as supply chain infrastructure improves in the Cerrado and Amazon,” said lead author Rachael Garrett, a PhD student in Stanford’s Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources.
The authors did not find a significant relationship between land tenure and planted area or land tenure and yields. But found that yields decline and planted area actually increases as transportation costs increase. More importantly, the study showed counties with higher yields have a higher proportion of land planted in soy.
“Policies intending to spare land through technological yield improvements could actually lead to land expansion in the absence of strong land use regulations if demand and per hectare profits are high,” said co-author Rosamond L. Naylor, director of Stanford’s Center on Food Security and the Environment.
The current Forest Code requires rural land users in the Amazon to conserve 80% of their property in a ‘Legal Reserve’, and landowners in the Cerrado to conserve 20%. Historically, illegal clearings have been common and enforcement of the Legal Reserve requirements remains poor.
While this study focuses on Brazil, the results underscore the importance of understanding how supply chains influence land use associated with cash crops in other countries. Future demand for soybeans, as well as for cash crops like Indonesian palm oil, will continue to grow as demand for cooking oil, livestock feed, and biodiesel increase with income growth and changing dietary preferences in emerging economies.