Mark Prell

Senior Economist


Mark Prell is a Senior Economist in the Food Assistance Branch of ERS’s Food Economics Division. The work of the branch focuses on USDA’s domestic food and nutrition assistance programs and issues related to them. Three long-term research themes are dietary and nutritional outcomes, food program targeting and delivery, and program dynamics and administration. The work of the Food Assistance Branch contributes to ERS’s Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program.


Mark served as an Assistant Deputy Director at ERS from 1999 to 2003. Prior to joining ERS, Mark was Chair of the Economics Department at Hampden-Sydney College. He conducted research for the Commonwealth of Virginia on economic and programmatic factors explaining changes in the state’s welfare caseload. For five years, Mark was co-owner and manager of Global Awards, Inc., a family-owned company that provided regalia for college graduations depicting the national colors and symbols of each country. He has also taught economics courses at the University of California—Los Angeles, the University of Southern California, and California State University—Northridge.


Mark received a Ph.D. in economics from M.I.T. and a B.A. in economics and government (double-major) from the College of William and Mary.

Professional Affiliations

Mark is a member of the American Economics Association.

Selected Publications

While Mark’s areas of interest span the range of food assistance programs and issues, he considers his most profound contributions to be research on WIC, the infant formula rebate program, and infant formula retail prices. The ERS publication Infant Formula Prices and Availability: A Final Report to Congress is one outcome of this work.