Abigail Okrent

Abigail Okrent



Abigail is a research economist in the Food Economics Division. The primary goal of her research is to evaluate the effectiveness of food and agricultural policies on food consumption, obesity, and nutrition. In particular, her current research projects include modeling: (1) the determinants of consumer demand, including how prices, income, advertising, and convenience affect dietary behavior; (2) the complex interaction between consumer food consumption behavior and individual health and nutrition outcomes; and (3) the costs and benefits of various food and agriculture policies.


Abigail joined ERS in 2010 upon completion of her dissertation, "The Effects of Farm Commodity and Retail Food Policies on Obesity and Economic Welfare in the United States" at the University of California at Davis. Prior to graduate school, Abigail worked as an economist in the Industry Economics Division of the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Department of Commerce. Her primary activities at the BEA included research and measurement of various service industries for the Benchmark Input-Output and GDP-by-Industry Accounts.


B.A. Economics, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, 2000

M.S. Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California at Davis, 2005

Ph.D. Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California at Davis, 2010

Professional Affiliations

American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA); Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association (NAREA); Western Agricultural Economics Association (WAEA); and Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society

Selected Publications

Selected Recent Monographs and Book Chapters

Alston, J.M. and A.M. Okrent. 2017. The Effects of Farm and Food Policy on Obesity in the United States. Palgrave Macmillian.

Okrent, A.M., and J.M. Alston. 2011. Demand for Food in the United States: A Review of Literature, Evaluation of Previous Estimates and Presentation of New Estimates of Demand, CWE Working Paper No. 1002, Giannini Foundation Monograph No. 48, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics, University of California, Berkeley, CA.

Selected Recent Professional Journal Articles

Alston, J.M., J.P. MacEwan, and A.M. Okrent. 2016. "The Economics of Obesity Policy," Annual Reviews of Resource Economics 8: 443–465.

Alston, J.M., J.P. MacEwan, and A.M. Okrent. 2016. "The Effects of U.S. Public Agricultural R&D on U.S. Obesity and its Social Costs," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy 38:498–520.

Shewmake, S.A., A.M. Okrent, L. Thabrew, and M. Vandenbergh. 2015. "Carbon Labeling for Consumer Food Goods," Ecological Economics 119: 168-180.

MacEwan, J.P., J.M. Alston, and A.M. Okrent. 2014. "The Consequences of Obesity for the External Costs of Public Health Insurance in the United States," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy 36 (4): 696-716.

Okrent, A.M. and J.P. MacEwan. 2014. "The Effects of Prices, Advertising and Demographic Composition on Demand for Nonalcoholic Beverages," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 43(1): 31-48.

Volpe, R.J., A.M. Okrent, and E. Leibtag. 2013. "The Effect of Supercenter-format Stores on the Healthfulness of Consumers’ Grocery Purchases," American Journal of Agricultural Economics 95(3): 568–589.

Liaukonyte, J., B.J. Rickard, H.M. Kaiser, A.M. Okrent, and T.J. Richards. 2012. "Evaluating Advertising Strategies for Fruits and Vegetables and the Implications for Obesity in the United States," Food Policy 37(5):543–553.

Okrent, A.M., and J.M. Alston. 2012. "The Effects of Farm Commodity and Retail Food Policies on Obesity and Economic Welfare in the United States," American Journal of Agricultural Economics 94(1):611–646.

Rickard, B.J., A.M. Okrent, and J.M. Alston. 2012. "How Have Agricultural Policies Influenced Caloric Consumption in the United States?" Health Economics 22(3):316-339.