David Olson

Economist ~ Researcher ~ artist

About me

I'm currently a graduate student at Michigan State University pursuing a  MS in Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics (Applied Economics). My interests include veteran's related policy, international development, and public policy analysis.  Before my graduate work, I was an Army Officer and deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan for a year. This experience is what inspired me to study and research in the areas I do. 

Outside of these academic interests I have a wonderful family and an unusual addiction to glassblowing as a hobby. Claim to fame, my dog has been instagrammed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Current ResearchResumeCVArt
Current Research
My current research is focused on the adoption decisions faced by small-holder farmers in Kenya for sustainable agricultural technology in the face of governmental policy.  I use panel survey data and a correlated random effects regression framework to get at a causal relationship to the rural household’s adoption decisions and show how government maize marketing policies influence these household’s decisions.  Preliminary findings suggest that the government policy decision aimed at increasing maize prices decrease the use of the most sustainable technologies, but increase the use of somewhat sustainable technologies.  When more findings are available I will periodically be updating them here.
Images coming soon

David W. Olson

2771 Roseland Ave, East Lansing, MI 48823

[email protected] • (571) 232-8430




Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Master of Science in Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics (Applied Economics)                       Expected August 2017

Related Coursework: Econometrics, Statistics, Applied Microeconomics, Institutional and Behavioral Economics.


Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL

Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics                                                                                                                             May 2012

Certificate in Leadership/Military Science

Related Coursework: Calculus I & II, Statistics, International Development, Accounting, Economics.



Army Officer, US Army Reserve                                                                                                                       May 2012 – Present

US Army Reserve, various locations 

·      Led soldiers in all training and recruiting tasks and assignments

·      Successfully ensured 100 percent accountability and functionality of all equipment 

·      Ensure that all training surpasses standards and that soldiers develop in and outside of the military

·      Regularly rated in top 10 percent of Army Reserve officers in my rank and positions


Graduate Teaching Assistant                                                                                                                     January 2017 May 2017

Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

·       Responsible as graduate teaching assistant for Agribusiness Management 437 (Food and Agribusiness Strategic Management) and Environmental Economics 404 (Corporate and Environmental Management).


Hourly Research Assistant                                                                                                              January 2016 December 2016

Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

·       Prepared research on technology adoption, sustainable agricultural practices in Kenya, Kenyan agricultural markets for inputs and outputs, and Kenyan agricultural subsidies.

·       Conducted econometric empirical/statistical analysis of time series survey data.

·       Gained specific in-country experience while working with researchers in Nairobi, Kenya in August 2016.


Finance and Disbursing Officer, US Forces Afghanistan                                                              January 2014 – January 2015

US Army, Kabul, Afghanistan

·       Led a team of 9 soldiers that actively supported over 10,000 coalition members and all of the finance needs for the  Regional Command Capital within the NATO structure.

·       Completed the deployment with a record of zero losses of funds on an accountability of over $2.5 M and transactions amounting to over $14 M.

·       Coordinated reporting to the Federal Reserve Bank-Boston, Department of the Treasury, and the Afghanistan International Bank (AIB).

·       Rated in top 10 percent of Finance Officers in theater.


Business Analyst- Consultant, US Department of the Army                                                              January 2013 – July 2013

Army Enterprise Systems Integration Project, Alexandria, VA

·       Maintained accountability of Microsoft Access database task tracker for employees, regularly presenting the status of the program to supervising officers.

·       Collaborated closely with officers and civilian staff to ensure the Army adequately integrated all systems for use.


·       Proficient in STATA, Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint

·       Basic working knowledge of R for statistical analysis

·       Possess an active secret security clearance

·       Bronze Star Medal and Afghanistan Campaign Medal recipient 

contact me
contact me

David W. Olson


Tel.: +1-571-232-8430

Skype: david.wlmolson


M.S. Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University, July 2017

US Army Finance Officer Basic Course, October 2012

B.A. Business Economics, Wheaton College (IL), May 2012

Certificate in Military Science, Wheaton College (IL), May 2012

Academic Experience:

Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University, Jan. 2017 – May 2017

Hourly Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University, Jan. 2016 – Dec. 2016

Hourly Graduate Grading Assistant, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University, Aug. 2015 – Dec. 2015

Other Professional Experience Related to International Development and Governance:

US Army Officer, US Forces Afghanistan/NATO Operations with International Security Assistance Force, Kabul, Afghanistan, Jan. 2014 – Dec. 2014

Papers in Progress:

Morgan, S., J. Kim, D. Olson, and N.M. Mason. “A dynamic model of smallholder farmers’ soil fertility management practice decisions.”

D. Olson, N. Mason, J. Makau, and L. Kirimi. 2017. “Maize marketing boards and sustainable intensification: Panel survey evidence from Kenya” Policy Brief No. TBA.  Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development. Nairobi, Kenya (under review)

Policy Briefs and White Papers:

D.Olson. 2014. “Disbursing policy 1: Exceptions and regulations in the Kabul Base Cluster: March 2014-Dec 2014” US Department of Defense. US Forces Afghanistan. Kabul, Afghanistan

Conference, Outreach, and Policy Presentation:

D. Olson, N. Mason, J. Makau, and L. Kirimi “Maize marketing boards and sustainable intensification: Panel survey evidence from Kenya.” Selected paper presented at the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Annual Meeting. Chicago, IL. Aug. 1, 2017

N. Mason, J. Kim, S. Morgan, and D. Olson. “What drives adoption of soil fertility management practices among smallholder maize growers? A conceptual model and literature review for sub-Saharan Africa.” Invited presentation at the “Indicators for the Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture” meeting, Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI. Dec. 14, 2016.

Avaliable at:   //fsg.afre.msu.edu/inputs/2016_12_14_SI_Indicators_Meeting-Mason_et_al.pdf 

D. Olson. “Maize marketing boards and sustainable intensification” Graduate Research Symposium, Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI. Mar. 31, 2017.

Available at: //fsg.afre.msu.edu/kenya/Olson%20Research%20Symposium%202017.pdf

Academic Awards & Honors:

2017 Graduate Research Symposium “In Progress Research” Best Presentation, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University

Professional Association Memberships:

Member, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA)

 As of 01 Aug 2017





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