By Seth Truscott
College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences
From nutrition to the environment to women in STEM, Dr. Jill McCluskey explores how information, incentives, and perceptions change markets and the world.
“Perceptions and reputations matter,” she said. “They influence markets, agriculture, industry, the places we live and the things we buy—in short, our lives.”
Singled out for her research, teaching, service and leadership, McCluskey, Distinguished Professor of Sustainability at Washington State University’s School of Economic Sciences, was named a Fellow of the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) on Jan. 4.
The recognition of Fellow is the AAEA’s most prestigious honor. McCluskey is only the sixth faculty member in the history of WSU to receive the honor of AAEA Fellow. She joins Ron Mittelhammer, Dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, as a current AAEA Fellow.
“I am honored to receive this award,” McCluskey said. “It was made possible by the outstanding mentors, colleagues, and students I have interacted with both at Washington State University and nationally.”
During her 19‑year career at WSU, McCluskey has published more than 100 journal articles on topics that impact society and industry. Her research includes how environmental quality affects neighborhoods, how consumers respond to new food technologies, and how nutrition labels affect consumers’ food choices. Her major contributions include how collective reputations for quality, such the reputation for Washington apples, affect commodity markets, and how dual reputations affect the wine market.
“Economists use data to understand how things actually work,” she said. “I study the incentives that drive our behavior. I love what I do.”
As past president of the AAEA, she helped members communicate their research to the wider world, and pushed for a more diverse membership, encouraging women and minority members to assume more prominent roles.
“I am humbled to be a relatively young recipient of this honor,” said McCluskey. “I hope to inspire women in agricultural and applied economics to seek leadership roles in their field.”
The 2018 Class of five Fellows will be recognized at the AAEA Annual Meeting, Aug. 5–7 in Washington, D.C.