- Montana State University Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics
Diane's research interests lie at the intersection of labor, migration, agriculture, and development. Her dissertation analyzes the causes and consequences of the agricultural transformation in rural Mexico. She uses household panel data nationally representative of rural Mexico between 1980 and 2010 to identify the trend in the probability of working in agriculture and unpack the trend into its major components. Diane finds that rural Mexico is currently transitioning out of agricultural work. Growing non-farm employment in Mexico, rising education, and decreasing birthrates in rural Mexico are all significant factors in the trend of labor out of agriculture. She further identifies the impacts of local secondary school access on the probability of working in agriculture from rural Mexico, and finds that children with secondary school access are significantly less likely to grow up to work in agriculture. This suggests that public investments in school supply in rural developing economies can simultaneously accelerate the transition of labor out of agriculture. Understanding the factors that draw workers out of agriculture during this transition has important policy implications for rural economies to prepare for and adjust to a changing workforce.