The Department of Applied Economics’ professors Emery Castle, Bruce Weber, Junjie Wu, and Munisamy Gopinath prove to be major contributors to the history and on-going discussion of Rural Studies and Rural Community Development.

This American Journal of Agricultural Economics (AJAE) published a Domestic Rural Economic Development special edition, selecting publications that were considered “classic pieces in rural development that remain relevant today,” informed rural community policy, or helped define and disentangle the heterogeneity within rural communities (Dellar, AJAE Editor). Notably, of the thirteen articles selected for this edition, the AEC department had senior authorship on three of them, thanks to the aforementioned professors.

While the contributions of the AEC department to this field are impressive, they are not surprising. The Department has a long and rich history in rural studies research and extension. In 1987, Professor Emery Castle founded the National Rural Studies Committee (NRSC) with the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The NRSC was pioneering in tackling rural community problems and legitimizing this field as an academic specialization at universities nationwide. In 2001, OSU’s Rural Studies Program (RSP) became the nation’s first university-based program to support a broadly multi-disciplinary teaching, research, and extension program focused on rural people and places, according to Bruce Weber, RSP director. Since its creation, the Rural Studies program has gained traction in both outreach and applied research with the support of now seven faculty and staff, as well as 16 faculty affiliates. Offering the U.S.’ first Graduate Minor in Rural Studies, the program at OSU attracts top graduate students and is a leader in rural studies policy and economic analyses with implications at local, state, and federal levels.

The AEC articles in the AJAE Domestic Rural Economic Development Special Edition:

Castle, E.N. (1998). “A Conceptual Framework for the Study of Rural Places.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 80 (3): 621-631.

Weber, B., G.J. Duncan and L.A. Whitener. (2001). “Welfare Reform in Rural America: What Have We Learned?” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 83 (5): 1280-1290.

Wu, J.J. and M. Gopinath. (2008). “What Causes Spatial Variations in Economic Development in the United States?” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 90 (2): 392-408.