Educational Background

  • B.A. in Economics, Cornell
  • M.A. in Applied Economics, Cornell
  • Ph.D. candidate in Sociology, Cornell

Scholarly Interests

  • food security
  • poverty and inequality
  • sustainable development

I am currently pursuing two parallel research projects. First, I examine issues of food insecurity and international food assistance, US food aid and assistance polices, and response analysis – the portion of the programming cycle during which an agency identifies which transfer to distribute (cash, food, vouchers). Over the past decade of research on this topic, I have examined a range of issues relating to policy, targeting, and markets. Broadly I focus on the institutional characteristics that shape a range of factors around food assistance programming design and delivery.

Second, my dissertation focuses on the correlates of subjective wellbeing in sub-Saharan Africa, tracing the relationship between subjective wellbeing and structural inequality and intra-group inequality. We know surprisingly little about subjective wellbeing in developing countries. And there is an especially large void in understanding if and how individuals' assessments of their own wellbeing varies with others' assessments and with policy-related issues such as education, health care, and physical security. Utilizing crossnational and intranational data from sub-Saharan Africa, my dissertation research aims to advance our understanding of when and why Africans feel better or worse about their standard of living, with an eye toward informing debates around a range of development interventions.

Selected Publications

Erin C. Lentz and Christopher B. Barrett (forthcoming) "The economics and nutritional impacts of food assistance policies and programs." Food Policy. Online first: 2013.

Erin C. Lentz, Christopher B. Barrett, Miguel Gomez, and Daniel Maxwell (forthcoming) "On the Choice and Impacts of Innovative International Food Assistance Instruments." World Development. Online first: 2013.

Erin C. Lentz, Simone Passarelli, and Christopher B. Barrett (forthcoming) "The Timeliness and Cost Effectiveness of the Local and Regional Procurement of Food Aid." World Development. Online first: 2013.

Andrew Mude, Robert Ouma, and Erin C. Lentz (forthcoming). "The Market Information and Food Insecurity Response Analysis Framework: An application in northern Kenya." Journal of Development Studies. Online first: 2012.

Hope Michelson, Erin C. Lentz, Richard Mulwa, Mitchell Morey, Laura Cramer, Megan McGlinchy, and Christopher B. Barrett (2012) "Cash, Food or Vouchers in Urban and Rural Kenya?: An Application of the Market Information and Food Insecurity Response Analysis Framework?" Food Security. 4(3): 455-469.


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