Michael E. Johnson

Research Agricultural Economist


Michael Johnson is a research agricultural economist in the International Trade and Development Branch of the Market and Trade Economics Division at the Economic Research Service (ERS).


Michael joined ERS in 2021. His research focuses mainly on agricultural productivity and trade. Prior to coming to ERS, he served 3 years at 2 international development non-profits and 15 years at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Much of his previous work in international agricultural development focused on sub-Saharan Africa. Michael has served the profession in other roles, as an associate editor of the International Agricultural Economics journal and as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) diplomacy fellow.


Michael received his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University, MS in Business Economics from Georgia State University, and BA in International Relations from American University.

Professional Affiliations

Michael is a member of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and the International Association of Agricultural Economics.

Selected Publications

Johnson, M., N. Houssou, S. Kolavalli, and P. Hazell. 2019. “Agricultural transformation in the Savannah: perspectives from the village”, Chapter 6 in X Diao, P Hazell, S Kolavalli, D Resnick (eds.), Ghana’s Economic and Agricultural Transformation: Past Performance and Future Prospects, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Houssou, N., M. Johnson, S. Kolavalli, and C. Asante-Addo. 2018. “Changes in Ghanaian Farming Systems: Stagnation or a Quiet Transformation?” Agriculture and Human values, 35: 41–66.

Johnson, M. and P. Dorosh. 2017. “Tariffs, Smuggling and Economic Welfare: A Spatial Analysis of Nigerian Rice Policy Options.” Journal of African Economies, 26(4): 516–538.

Gyimah-Brempong, K., M. Johnson and H. Takeshima, eds. 2016. The Nigerian Rice Economy: Policy Options for Transforming Production, Marketing and Trade. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.

Nin-Pratt, A., M. Johnson, E. Magalhaes, X. Diao, L. You, and J. Chamberlin. 2011. Yield Gaps and Potential Agricultural Growth in West and Central Africa, IFPRI Research Monogram, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, D.C.

You, L., and M. Johnson. 2010. “Exploring strategic priorities for regional agricultural R&D investments in East and Central Africa.” Agricultural Economics, 41(2): 177-190.