Meet new faculty member Sandro Steinbach

Sandro Steinbach
Sandro Steinbach

Sandro Steinbach is a newly hired Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE). Sandro has diverse interests in agricultural, health and environmental economics, including a new scholarly article published last month in Economic Letters. This article examines the impact of the 2016 Indian banknote demonetization on the rural poor. Here is what he said in his interview.

Where did you get your degree? I received my doctoral degree in economics from ETH Zurich in 2018. Before earning my doctorate, I completed an MS in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California, Davis and an MSc in agricultural economics from the Humboldt University of Berlin. I also hold two BSc degrees from the Humboldt University of Berlin, one in agricultural sciences and another one in horticultural sciences.

What did you do before you came to UConn? After finishing high school in Germany, I was undecided about my career direction. Because I have a farming background, I finally decided to study agricultural sciences in Berlin. During my undergraduate studies, I had the opportunity to see and work in various places. Following my travel experiences, which included studying in Vienna and Zurich and teaching and researching in India and Russia, I completed my undergraduate degrees.

This experience motivated me to pursue an advanced degree in agricultural economics which I completed at Humboldt University in 2012. After that, I came to the United States to study agricultural and resource economics at UC Davis. At Davis, I was working with Professor Pierre Mérel who temporarily switched to ETH Zurich. I changed universities with him; however, he ultimately decided to go back to Davis, and I elected to stay at ETH Zurich, where I completed my doctorate in 2018.

What will your work here at UConn focus on? My research focuses on a variety of topics that are broadly related to agricultural trade and the economics of health and the environment. First of all, I am currently working to prepare the research from my dissertation for publication. Regarding new projects, I recently submitted a NIFA grant proposal with the USDA which uses big data methods to evaluate the impact of foreign trade policies on the United States. Two new projects funded by recently accepted grant proposals are:

  1. Performing a risk assessment on the disease spread in livestock in Switzerland
  2. Evaluating the impact of energy infrastructure on housing prices in Switzerland

I am also scheduled to teach ARE 3221 – Business Strategies and Policy in Food Industries – in spring 2019.

Name one aspect of your work that you like. My work addresses fundamental questions in applied economics that are highly relevant for society and policymakers. I analyze high-quality and detailed observable data with sophisticated statistical methods to provide arguments that allow me to evaluate the effectivity of policy programs.

The questions I am interested in are often unanswered because they are challenging to address because of limited data availability and methodological issues. For me, it is essential that my research agenda contributes to the general public interest. I also enjoy having the opportunity to collaborate with individuals who have a rigorous and explorative mindset.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? I enjoy spending free time with my wife and three children. Also, I encourage ARE students to stop by to get to know me outside of the classroom, while I settle in here at UConn.

By: Thomas Krumel