John Pender

John Pender

Senior Economist


John Pender is a senior economist in the Rural Economy Branch, Resource and Rural Economics Division of the Economic Research Service (ERS). John joined ERS in July, 2009. His research focuses on concepts and measurement of rural household and community wealth and well-being, and impacts of economic development policies and programs on the U.S. rural economy. Prior to joining ERS he led research on rural development and natural resource management in developing countries at the International Food Policy Research Institute.


  • Ph.D. in agricultural and development economics from Stanford University
  • Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley
  • B.S. from the California Institute of Technology

Professional Affiliations

American Agricultural Economics Association, North American Regional Science Council, Southern Regional Science Association

Selected Publications

Books and Monographs

Rupasingha, A., J. Pender, and S. Wiggins. 2018. Impacts of USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grants Program on Business Survival and Growth, Economic Research Report No. 248, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Miller, C., J. Pender, and T. Hertz, T. 2017. Employment Spillover Effects of Rural Inpatient Healthcare Facilities, Economic Research Report No. 241, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Pender, J. 2015. Foundation Grants to Rural Areas from 2005 to 2010: Trends and Patterns, Economic Information Bulletin No. 141, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Pender, J., B. Weber, T. Johnson, and J.M. Fannin, eds. 2014. Rural Wealth Creation. London and New York: Routledge.

Pender, J., A. Marré, and R. Reeder. 2012. Rural Wealth Creation: Concepts, Strategies, and Measures, ERR-131, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.

Pender, J., and R. Reeder. 2011. Impacts of Regional Approaches to Rural Development: Initial Evidence on the Delta Regional Authority, ERR-119, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.

Journal Articles

Rupasingha, A, J. Pender, and D. Crown. 2018. "Rural Business Programs and Business Performance: The Impact of the USDA’s Business and Industry Loan Program." Journal of Regional Science,

Williamson, J., and J. Pender. 2016. "Economic Stimulus and the Tax Code: The Impact of the Gulf Opportunity Zone," Public Finance Review 44(4):415-445.

Pender, J., J. Weber, and J. Brown. 2014. "A Wealth Lens for Sustainable Rural Economic Development: Five Observations Based on Emerging Rural Energy Industries," Economic Development Quarterly 28(1):73-86.

Marré, A., and J. Pender. 2013. "The Distribution of Household Net Worth Within and Across Rural Areas: Are There Links to the Natural Resource Base?" American Journal of Agricultural Economics 95(2):457-462.

Brown, J., J. Pender, R. Wiser, E. Lantz, and B. Hoen. 2012. "Ex-Post Analysis of Economic Impacts from Wind Power Development in U.S. Counties," Energy Economics 34(6):1743-54.

Pender, J., B. Weber, and W. Fawbush. 2012. "Theme Overview: Rural Wealth Creation," Choices 27(1), 1st Quarter.

Pender, J., A. Marré, and R. Reeder. 2012. "Rural Wealth Creation: Concepts, Measures and Strategies," American Journal of Agricultural Economics 94(2):535-541.