Richard Shumway


Professor, Washington State University. Ph.D. 1969

I have a Bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics because of two UCD professors – Chet McCorkle and Ben French. I transferred from Pre-Veterinary Medicine to Agricultural Economics at the beginning of my sophomore year after taking a battery of interest exams and having them all say I was interested in social science. Not knowing what a social science was but wanting something related to my agricultural background, I found only two agriculturally-related social science majors offered at Davis at the time – Rural Sociology and Agricultural Economics. I chose the latter but was ready to bolt again after taking two very boring economic principles courses. Fortunately, during the 2nd semester I also took a farm management course from Chet McCorkle and loved it. That kept me in the major long enough to find that I really loved the foundations of economics when I took micro-economic theory from Ben French after returning to Davis following a 2-year mission in Florida.

I have a PhD in agricultural economics because Herb Snyder offered me an NDEA Fellowship to pursue the PhD when I applied for the Master’s program. I pursued a career in academia because of the excellent teaching of many faculty, especially Gerry Dean, and the effective mentoring and excitement for research exhibited by my dissertation committee – Gordon King, Gerry Dean, and Hal Carter. My classmates helped make learning a generally fun experience. I only remember feeling a competitive spirit once and that was internal. I realized very early that Gordon Rausser was brilliant (I just didn’t realize how brilliant). I set a personal goal of getting the same score on at least one exam as he did. After the first set of midterms, I realized that was not going to happen and settled into an easy collaborative relationship with all my classmates. They (Gordon and Jerry Carlson especially) proved to be invaluable in helping me grasp the nuances of complex material.

After finishing the PhD, I served a 2-year stint in the US Army. I then joined the economics faculty at North Carolina State University from 1971 to 1974, the agricultural economics faculty at Texas A&M University from 1974 to 1998, and have been at Washington State University since. I served as chair of the WSU Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics from 1998 to 2004. 

I currently teach a PhD course in production and consumption economics, a Masters-level course in microeconomic analysis, and the senior economics capstone course. My research focuses on the economics of technical change, renewable energy, and decisions of multiple-product agricultural firms.   

I have also had many treasured experiences outside of economics. I served in faculty governance, including elected speaker of the Texas A&M University Faculty Senate, and in a variety of community and religious capacities. I helped develop a big brothers group in Davis as a graduate student, have been a Boy Scout leader, and have served as a bishop and stake president for our church. I have been married to the former Janet Bain for more than 50 years. We parented 6 children and have 22 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. We spent a sabbatical at Harvard University 1980-1981 and 18 months as full time volunteers for our church in Frankfurt, Germany 2009-2011. I have run 3 miles 3 times a week pretty consistently for the last 45 years. That started just before I left UCD.


Select Awards and Accolades

Fellow, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

Distinguished Scholar, Western Agricultural Economics Association

Award for Lifetime Achievement, Southern Agricultural Economics Association

Award for Publication of Enduring Quality, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

Quality of Research Discovery Award, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (twice)

Published Research Award, Western Agricultural Economics Association (3 times)

Editor and Editorial Council, Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Associate Editor, American Journal of Agricultural Economics

President, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and Western Agricultural Economics Association


Weblinks and More Information

Washington State University (Shumway) Website