Kent D. Messer

Photograph Image of Kent Messer
Title S. Hallock du Pont Professor of Applied Economics, Director - Center for Experimental and Applied Economics
Office Townsend Hall


  • College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Applied Economics & Statistics; profile page
  • Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics, Department of Economics


Kent Messer is the S. Hallock du Pont Professor of Applied Economics and the director of the Center for Experimental & Applied Economics at the University of Delaware. He also co-directs the Center for Behavioral and Experimental Agri-Environmental Research (CBEAR), a USDA Center of Excellence.

Messer’s research interests include the behavioral response to food risks and the interface between agriculture and the environment. He has over 85 published works, served as editor of the Agricultural and Resource Economics Review and is an associate editor for the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. Messer has been an investigator of interdisciplinary proposals worth over $70 million from numerous sources including NSF, EPA, NOAA and USDA. His most recent book is The Science of Strategic Conservation: Protecting More with Less published by Cambridge University Press.


  • Ph.D., Cornell University, 2003
  • M.S., University of Michigan, 1999
  • B.A., Grinnell College, 1994

Select Publications

  • Savchenko, O.M., T. Li, M. Kecinski, and Kent D. Messer. Forthcoming. “Does Food Processing Mitigate Consumers’ Concerns about Crops Grown with Recycled Water?” Food Policy.
  • Li. T., J.R. Fooks, K.D. Messer, and P.J. Ferraro. Forthcoming. “A Field Experiment to Estimate the Effects of Anchoring and Framing on Residents’ Willingness to Purchase Water Runoff Management Technologies.” Resource and Energy Economics.
  • Wu, S, L.H. Palm-Forster, and K.D. Messer. Forthcoming. “Impact of Peer Comparisons and Firm Heterogeneity on Nonpoint Source Water Pollution: An Experimental Study.” Resource and Energy Economics.
  • Rosch S., S.R. Skorbiansky, C. Weigel, K.D. Messer, D. Hellerstein. “Using Economic Experiments to Promote Evidence-Based Policy-Making for Farmer and Rural Populations.” Applied Economics Policy & Perspectives.
  • Whiting, A., M. Kecinski, T. Li, Kent D. Messer, and J. Parker. 2019. The Importance of Selecting the Right Messenger: A Framed Field Experiment on Recycled Water Products. Ecological Economics.
  • Palm-Forster, L.H., P.J. Ferraro, N. Janusch, C.A. Vossler, and K.D. Messer. Forthcoming. “Behavioral and Experimental Agri-environmental Research: Methodological Challenges, Literature Gaps, and Recommendations.” Environmental and Resource Economics.
  • Butler, J.M., J.R. Fooks, K.D. Messer, L.H. Palm-Forster. 2019. “Addressing Social Dilemmas with Mascots, Information, and Graphics.” Economic Inquiry.
  • Li, T. and K.D. Messer. 2019. “To Scan or Not to Scan: The Question of Consumer Behavior and QR Codes on Food Packages.” Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics. 44(2):311-327.
  • Suter, J., S. Collie, J.M. Duke, K.D. Messer, and H.A. Michael. 2019. “Common Pool Resource Management at the Extensive and Intensive Margins: Experimental Evidence.” Environmental and Resource Economics. 73 (4), 973-993.
  • Ellis, S., O.M. Savchenko, and K.D. Messer. 2019. “What’s in a Name? Branding Reclaimed Water.” Environmental Research. 172: 384-393.

Awards & Honors

  • USDA-NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. 2019-2023. “Center for Behavioral and Experimental Agri-Environmental and Risk Management Research (CBEAR).” $1,000,000. K.D. Messer and P. Ferraro (PIs), M. Masters (co-PI).
  • National Science Foundation – funding support from EPSCoR Track-I. 2018-2023. “RII Track-1: Water in the Changing Coastal Environment in Delaware (Project WiCCED).” $23,040,000. K.D. Messer (PI), H. Michael, D.L. Sparks, V. Kalavacharla, and M. D’Souza (co-PIs).
  • USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. 2017-2020. “Understanding Agricultural Water Use Behavior through Randomized Controlled Trials.” $500,000. M. Masters (PI), K.D. Messer, P. Ferraro, and J. Suter (co-PIs).
  • USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. 2016-2020. “CONSERVE (Coordinating Nontraditional Sustainable watER Use in Variable climatEs): A Center of Excellence at the Nexus of Sustainable Water Reuse, Food Crop Production, and Health.” $10,000,000. (20166800725064). A. Sapkota (PI), K. Kniel and K.D. Messer (co-PIs).
  • USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. 2015-2018. “Applying Behavioral Economics to Improve USDA Agricultural Programs: Field Experiments in Nutrient Management and Water Quality Protection.” $499,386. M. Masters (PI), K.D. Messer and P. Ferraro (co-PIs).
  • Alumni Award, Grinnell College, 2019.
  • Agricultural and Resource Economics Review Fellow, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, 2017.
  • Outstanding Service Award, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, 2016.
  • Outstanding Alumnae Award, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, 2015.
  • Outstanding Teacher Nomination, University of Delaware – 2008, 2011, 2014, 2017.

Curriculum Vitae

Download Kent Messer’s CV (PDF)


Visit Kent D. Messer’s Personal Webpage