William Liefert

William M Liefert

Deputy Director for Research (Acting)


Bill Liefert is a senior agricultural economist with the International Trade and Development Branch, Market and Trade Economics Division. He specializes in trade issues and the macroeconomic linkages to agriculture, with a special focus on the transition economies of the former Soviet bloc. Current research interests include productivity growth in Russian agriculture, the emergence of the former Soviet Union region as a major grain exporter, and the effect of countries’ economic crises on their agricultural imports. Before joining ERS, Bill was an assistant professor of economics at Kent State University. He also has worked as a consultant with the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.



Bill received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan. He also holds a B.A. in economics and history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Professional Affiliations

Bill is a member of the American Economic Association, American Agricultural Economics Association, and the Association for Comparative Economic Studies.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Liefert, W., and O. Liefert. 2017. “The Development of the Eurasian Livestock and Grain Sectors,” in The Eurasian Wheat Belt and Food Security: Global and Regional Aspects, G. y Paloma, S. Mary, S. Langrell, and P. Ciaian, eds., pp. 231-246. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Publishing.

Liefert, W., and P. Westcott. 2016. “Modifying Agricultural Export Taxes to Make Them Less Market-Distorting,” Food Policy 62(C):65-77, July.

Liefert, W., and O. Liefert. 2015. “Russia’s Potential to Increase Grain Production by Expanding Area,” Eurasian Geography and Economics 56(5):505-523.

Liefert, W., and O. Liefert. 2015. “Russia’s Economic Crisis and its Agricultural and Food Economy,” Choices 30(1), 1st Quarter.

Liefert, W., and O. Liefert. 2015. “Overview of Agriculture in Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine,” in Transition to Agricultural Market Economics: The Future of Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine, A. Schmitz, and W. Meyers, eds., pp. 1-14. Wallingford, UK: CABI.

Liefert, W., and O. Liefert. 2015. “The Rise of the Former Soviet Union Region as a Major Grain Exporter,” in Transition to Agricultural Market Economics: The Future of Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine, A. Schmitz, and W. Meyers, eds., pp. 27-36. Wallingford, UK: CABI.

Baquedano, F., and W. Liefert. 2014. “Market Integration and Price Transmission in Consumer Markets of Developing Countries,” Food Policy 44:103-114, February.

Liefert, W., and O. Liefert. 2012. "Russian Agriculture During Transition: Performance, Global Impact, and Outlook," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy 34(1):37-75, Spring.

Liefert, W., P. Westcott, and J. Wainio. 2012. "Alternative Policies to Agricultural Export Bans That are Less Market-Distorting," American Journal of Agricultural Economics 94(2):435-441, January.

Baquedano, F., W. Liefert, and S. Shapouri. 2011. "World Market Integration for Export and Food Crops in Developing Countries: A Case Study for Mali and Nicaragua," Agricultural Economics 42(5):619-630, September.

Liefert, W. 2011. "Decomposing Changes in Agricultural Producer Prices," Journal of Agricultural Economics 62(1):119-136, February.

Liefert, W., E. Serova, and O. Liefert. 2010. "The Growing Importance of the Former USSR Countries in World Agricultural Markets," Agricultural Economics 41(s1):65-71, November.

Liefert, W., O. Liefert, and M. Shane. 2010. "Russia's Agricultural Imports: Will the High Growth of the 2000s Continue?" EuroChoices 9(3):43-49.

Liefert, W., O. Liefert, and E. Serova. 2009. "Russia's Transition to Major Player in World Agricultural Markets," Choices 24(2):47-51, 2nd Quarter.

Liefert, W., and M. Shane. 2009. "The World Economic Crisis and U.S. Agriculture: From Boom to Gloom?" Choices 24(1):22-26, 1st Quarter.

Liefert, W. 2009. "Decomposing Changes in Agricultural Price Gaps: An Application to Russia," Agricultural Economics 40(1):15-28, January.

Liefert, W., and O. Liefert. 2008. "The Russian Federation," in Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Europe's Transition Economies, K. Anderson, and J. Swinnen, eds., pp. 135-174. Washington, DC: The World Bank.

Liefert, W. 2008. "Measuring the Success of Agricultural Transition: An Application to Russia," in Agricultural Economics and Transition: What was Expected, What We Observed, the Lessons Learned, C. Csaki, and C. Forgacs, eds., pp. 44-54. Halle, Germany: IAMO.

Liefert, W. 2008. "The Allocative Efficiency of Input Use in Russian Corporate Farms," in Russia's Agriculture in Transition: Factor Markets and Constraints on Growth, Z. Lerman, ed., pp. 305-326. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Liefert, W. 2007. Decomposing Changes in Agricultural Producer Prices, Working Paper 07-01, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium, St. Paul, MN.

Liefert, W. 2005. Decomposing Changes in Agricultural Price Gaps, Working Paper 05-2, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium, St. Paul, MN.

Liefert, W., Z. Lerman, B. Gardner, and E. Serova. 2005. "Agricultural Labor in Russia: Efficiency and Profitability," Review of Agricultural Economics 27(3):412-417, Fall.

Liefert, W. 2005. "The Allocative Efficiency of Material Input Use in Russian Agriculture," Comparative Economic Studies 47(2):214-223, March.

Osborne, S., and W. Liefert. 2004. "Price and Exchange Rate Transmission in Russian Meat Markets," Comparative Economic Studies 46(1):221-244, June.

Liefert, W., S. Osborne, O. Liefert, and M. Trueblood. 2003. "Can Russia be Competitive in Agriculture?" EuroChoices 2(3):18-23.

Liefert, W., B. Gardner, and E. Serova. 2003. "Allocative Efficiency in Russian Agriculture: The Case of Fertilizer and Grain," American Journal of Agricultural Economics 85(5):1228-1233, November.

Liefert, W. 2002. "Comparative (Dis?)Advantage in Russian Agriculture," American Journal of Agricultural Economics 84(3):762-767, August. 

Liefert, W. 2001. "Agricultural Reform: Major Commodity Restructuring but Little Institutional Change," Russia's Uncertain Economic Future, J. Hardt, ed., pp. 253-281. Washington, DC: Joint Economic Committee, U.S. Congress, December.

Liefert, W. 2000. Book review of "Russia's Agro-food Sector: Towards Truly Functioning Markets," European Review of Agricultural Economics 27(4):534-536, P. Wehrheim, K. Frohberg, E. Serova, and J. von Braun, eds. Boston, MA: Kluwer, December.

Shane, M., and W. Liefert. 2000. "The International Financial Crisis: Macroeconomic Linkages to Agriculture," American Journal of Agricultural Economics 82(3):682-687, August.

Liefert, W. 1997. "Comparative Advantage and Government Budget Effects: An Application to the Grain Trade of the Former USSR," American Journal of Agricultural Economics 79(3):715-725, August.

Liefert, W. 1997. "Russian Federation," The State of Food and Agriculture 1997 1:207-217. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Liefert, W., D. Sedik, R. Koopman, E. Serova, and O. Meliukhina. 1996. "Producer Subsidy Equivalents for Russian Agriculture: Estimation and Interpretation," American Journal of Agricultural Economics 78(3):792-798, August.

Sedik, D., W. Liefert, and C. Foster. 1996. "Economic Reforms and Agriculture in the Russian Federation, 1992-95," Communist Economies and Economic Transformation 8(2):133-148.

Liefert, W. 1996. "Russian Food Security is Not Threatened," The Food Systems Policy Roundtable Journal 1:38-40, May-June.

Liefert, W. 1996. "Grain Sector Reform and Food Security in the Countries of the Former USSR," Cereal Sector Reform in the Former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe, L. Smith, and N. Spooner, eds., pp. 54-68. Wallingford, UK: CAB International.

Sedik, D., and W. Liefert. 1996. "Effektivnost' agrarnogo sektora Rossii (The Efficiency of Russia's Agricultural Sector)," Sovershenstvovanie upravleniia otrasliami APK (Improving Management of the Branches of the Agro-industrial Complex), pp. 72-74. Moscow, Russia: Ioshkar-Ola.

Liefert, W. 1995. "The Farm Input 'Crisis' in the Former Soviet Union: What to Do?" Choices pp. 41-42, Fourth Quarter.

Liefert, W., D. Sedik, and C. Foster. 1995. "Progress in Russian Agricultural Reform," Transition 1(16):50-52, September.

Liefert, W. 1994. "Economic Reform and Comparative Advantage in Agriculture in the Newly Independent States," American Journal of Agricultural Economics 76(3):636-640, August.

Liefert, W. 1994. Chapters on Newly Independent States of Former Soviet Union, Agricultural Policies, Markets, and Trade in the Central and Eastern European Countries, the Newly Independent States, Mongolia and China, pp. 143-179. Centre for Cooperation with the Economies in Transition, OECD.

Liefert, W., R. Koopman, and E. Cook. 1993. "Agricultural Reform in the Former USSR," Comparative Economic Studies 35(4):49-68, Winter.

Liefert, W. 1993. "Distribution Problems in the Food Economy," The Former Soviet Union in Transition 2:491-505, J. Hardt, ed. Joint Economic Committee, U.S. Congress, May.

Liefert, W. 1993. "The Food Problem in the Republics of the Former USSR," The Farmer Threat: The Political Economy of Agrarian Reform in Post-Soviet Russia, D. van Atta, ed., pp. 25-42. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Liefert, W. 1992. "Alcune considerazioni sulla politica cerealicola Sovietica," (English title when submitted: "Soviet Comparative Disadvantage in Grain, Grain Imports, and Budget Effects"), Rivista di Politica Agraria 10(3):45-52, September.

Liefert, W. 1992. Book review of "Communist Agriculture: Farming in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe," K. Waedekin, ed. London, UK: Routledge, 1990, in Journal of Comparative Economics 16(2):394-397, June.

Liefert, W. 1992. "Food Shortages in the Former USSR Mainly the Result of Monetary Imbalances," Choices 7(2):14-16, 2nd Quarter.

Liefert, W. 1991. "Growing Soviet Food Shortages: A Result of Economy-Wide Monetary Imbalance," Occasional Paper No. 2, Geonomics Institute, October.

Liefert, W. 1991. "Economic Rent and Estimation of Soviet GNP Growth," Review of Income and Wealth 37(2):159-176, June. 

Liefert, W. 1990. "The Soviet Gain from Trade with the West in Fuel, Grain, and Machinery," Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv 126(1):78-96.

Liefert, W. 1988. "The Full Cost of Soviet Oil and Natural Gas Production," Comparative Economic Studies 30(2):1-20, Summer.