Kemper in Agribusiness Earns PUBP Distinguished Dissertation Award

From left, Jennie Popp, Nathan Kemper and Brink Kerr.
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From left, Jennie Popp, Nathan Kemper and Brink Kerr.

Nathan Kemper, clinical assistant professor and undergraduate program chair in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, has earned the 2017 Public Policy William Miller Distinguished Dissertation Award for his dissertation titled, "Query Theory Applications: Choice Experiments Under Oath, Attendance to Attributes, and Genetically Modified Food Labeling Policy."

This award, named in honor of Dr. William Miller, the founding director of the Public Policy Ph.D. Program, recognizes the public policy student who develops a dissertation which excels in methodological and substantive quality as well as scholarly significance.

Kemper's work uses a social psychological theory called Query Theory to better understand how people make decisions and form preferences in three experiments. The first study examines a highly documented limitation of stated-preference methods: the formation of hypothetical bias. The results of the study document the mechanism behind the effectiveness of the honesty oath in reducing hypothetical bias. The second study proposes a new method for adjusting econometric models based on the attributes receiving attention and those being ignored by individuals in an experiment. The third study establishes a relationship between a person's cultural worldview and their preferences for GM labeling policy and how individuals with opposing worldviews process information differently. 

"By using Query Theory, we were able to look at how individuals form preferences for products and make decisions in choice experiments from a new perspective. This has shed light on three areas of research important in the field of agricultural and applied economics," Kemper states.

Kemper hopes that his dissertation can help researchers better understand their data. "My dissertation research was a huge part of my life over the past few years and required me to be away from my family for long periods of time. I'm very proud of the end product and that all that hard work and time paid off."


Ryan P. Ruiz, communications manager
Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness


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