Robert Thompson Receives Carlson Outstanding Dissertation Award

Robert Thompson received the 2022 Gerald A. Carlson Award for Outstanding PhD Dissertation. Thompson wrote the dissertation, titled “Agricultural Commodity Prices,” under the supervision of his PhD advisors Barry Goodwin and Nick Piggott. Thompson graduated from the joint Economics Graduate Program in Fall 2021.

Thompson attended NC State as an undergraduate in the Agricultural Business Management program. He completed his master’s degree at Mississippi State before returning to NC State. Thompson wanted a university with a good reputation for econometrics and a program with a number of professors working in his area of interest. In Thompson’s case, NC State “checked all of the boxes.” 

Thompson’s dissertation explored new methods that show how crop prices and yields are related, which has implications for the amount of revenue risk faced by farmers. Thompson also tested several commonly used methods and some newly developed methods for accuracy in forecasting corn prices in North Carolina.

How did the graduate program help you with your educational and career goals?

The graduate program set me up for success — I wanted to find a career that took advantage of my background in production agriculture and advanced education in Agricultural Economics and that is exactly what I was able to do. I understand luck has had a lot to do with it, most of the time I feel like I stumbled into my Master’s degree, PhD, and now this career. So I am sure much of my successes can be attributed to being at the “right place at the right time.” NC State was the right place for me and will always hold a special place in my heart, I have now spent almost 8 years of my life in the ARE department as a student. I got a really solid education here, great training in econometrics and applied economic theory which is exactly what I was looking for. Also, I was able to continue working on problems in agriculture through research projects and my dissertation research. All of this helped me find and land my current job – an Economist at John Deere. So like I said, I am sure luck had a lot to do with it, but NC State helped position me to be ready to seize these opportunities when I stumbled into them.

Thompson works in the Office of the Chief Economist at John Deere. His work involves short and long term forecasting to help the company make manufacturing decisions, such as whether to increase or decrease production of equipment based on projected trends.  Thompson also performs economic analyses of specialty crops for the High Value Crops division.

“NC State set me up for success in this career,” Thompson says. “I have really had fun so far with this job, I get to work on really meaningful projects, have a lot of creative freedom in solving problems, and get to work on intellectually challenging problems,” he said.

Thompson’s name has been added to the legacy plaque in the foyer of suite 4400 in Nelson Hall.

Read more about Robert’s path to CALS and contribution to the development of ARE’s price and basis tool.