Picture of Zoë in a grey blazer, red blouse, and jeans, leaning against a brick wall.

Dr. Zoë T. Plakias

Assistant Professor

Dept. of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics

(The) Ohio State University

Faculty Affiliate 

InFACT Discovery Theme

Sustainability Institute

Professional Leadership

Executive Leadership Board member, STEAM Factory

Co-Lead, Racial Justice Pathways Project

VP of Communications, Food Distribution Research Society

Chair, S-1088 Multi-State Research Project

Current Research Areas

Evaluating Food System Investments + Innovations

Some of the questions I'm interested in:

  • How can we build a food system of the future that's better for all people and the environment?

  • What scales of food system activities (local, regional, national, global) are optimal and in what situations?

  • Are food system innovations and investments always meeting their intended goals? If not, how can we improve?

Evaluating Food + Agricultural Policy

Some of the questions I'm interested in:

  • Are food and agricultural policies having their intended effects? 

  • What are the unintended consequences of food and agricultural policies?

  • What kinds of policies will increase food system resilience to shocks?

  • How can food and agricultural polices better support marginalized people?

Exploring the role of Democracy in Food Systems

Some of the questions I'm interested in:

  • What is the role of democratic organizations (e.g., cooperatives) in food systems?

  • Can democratic organizations in food systems help address food system stakeholder concerns?

  • What are the opportunities and challenges for democratic organizations and participation in food systems?

Reflecting on the Work of Higher Education

Some of the questions I'm interested in:

  • What pedagogical techniques are most effective for teaching about food and agricultural economics?

  • How do we alleviate disparities in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and institutional type in how we do our work as applied economists?

  • What are the most effective models for interdisciplinary research and outreach to address wicked problems?


Publications + Working Papers

Working paper (Invited chapter for the Handbook of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 6, edited by Chris Barrett and David Just, in review)

Interdisciplinary System and network Perspectives in Food and Agricultural Economics [REQuest Manuscript]

Authors: Chyi-Lyi (Kathleen) Liang and Zoë Plakias

Most recent version: 2021

Working paper

Local Ice Cream Makes Life Sweeter: A Structural Model of Consumer Preference for Local Processed Foods [REQuest Manuscript]

Authors: Xiao Dong, H. Allen Klaiber, and Zoë T. Plakias

Most recent version: 2021

Peer-reviewed journal article

Past, Present, and Future: Status of Women and Minority Faculty in Agricultural and Applied Economics [view Article]

Journal: Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy

Authors: Jana Hilsenroth, Anna Josephson, Kelly Grogan, Lurleen Walters, Zoë Plakias, Leah Palm-Forster, Simanti Banerjee, and Tara Wade

Publication year: 2021

Working paper (Accepted to Agricultural Finance Review)

Pot of Money: Characterizing Banking and Lending in the California Cannabis Industry [REQuest Manuscript]

Authors: Zoë Plakias, Margaret Jodlowski, Parisa Kavousi, Taylor Giamo, and Keith Taylor

Most recent version: 2021

Working paper (in review)

Which Schools Receive State-Level Support for Local Food Purchases?

[REQuest Manuscript]

Authors: Jeff O'Hara, Becca Jablonski, and Zoë Plakias

Most recent version: 2021

Peer-reviewed journal article

Measuring the Welfare Impacts of Local Food Sourcing by Institutions: A Cost-Benefit Analysis Approach [VIEW ARTICLE]

Journal: Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development

Authors: Zoë Plakias

Publication year: 2021

Working paper (in review)

Short Value Chain Models of Healthy Food Access: A Qualitative Study of Two Approaches [REQuest Manuscript]

Authors: Kathleen Krzyzanowski Guerra, Drew Hanks, Zoë T. Plakias, Susie Huser, Tom Redfern, and Jennifer Garner

Most recent version: 2021

Working paper

Healthy Food, Healthy Farms? Implications of Healthy Food Policies for Agricultural Value Chains [REQuest Manuscript]

Authors: Zoë T. Plakias, Seung-hun Chung, and Lei Xu

Most recent version: 2021

Peer-reviewed journal article

Increasing Student Engagement with Agriculture in a Changing Academic Environment [VIEW ARTICLE]

Journal: Applied Economics Teaching Resources

Authors: Kristin Kiesel, Na Zuo, Zoë Plakias, Luis Moises Peña-Lévano, Andrew Barkley, Katherine Lacy, Erik Hanson, and Julianne Treme

Publication year: 2020

Peer-reviewed journal article

Lean on your Land Grant: One University's approach to address Food Supply Chain Workforce during the COVID-19 Pandemic [VIEW ARTICLE]

Journal: Journal of Agromedicine

Authors: Dee S. Jepsen, Lisa Pfeifer, Lyda Garcia, Zoë Plakias, Shoshanah Inwood, Joy Rumble, Mary Rodriguez, Judit Puskas, and Sam Custer

Publication year: 2020

Peer-reviewed journal article

Tradeoffs in Farm to School Implementation: Larger Foodsheds Drive GREATER Local Food Expenditures [VIEW ARTICLE]

Journal: Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Authors: Zoë Plakias, H. Allen Klaiber and Brian E. Roe

Publication year: 2020

Working paper

The Mexican PROCAMPO Farmland Subsidy and Its Effectiveness as a Rural Anti-Poverty Program [REQuest Manuscript]

Authors: Ariadna Martínez González, Zoë Plakias and Mark Partridge

Most recent version: 2019

Peer-reviewed journal article

Terminated marketing order provided resources to California Peach and Nectarine Growers [View article]

Journal: California Agriculture

Authors: Zoë Plakias, Rachael E. Goodhue and Jeffrey Williams

Publication year: 2020


Peer-reviewed journal article

Direct Marketing Channel Choices Among U.S. Farmers: Evidence from the Local Food Marketing Practices Survey [VIEW article]

Journal: Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems

Authors: Zoë Plakias, Iryna Demko and Ani L. Katchova

Publication year: 2019

Outreach publication

The Economic Contribution of Agricultural and Food Production to the Ohio Economy [VIEW REPORT]

Format: Peer-reviewed department-published research report

Authors: Janice DiCarolis, Tim Haab, Zoë Plakias, Ian Sheldon, Brent Sohngen, and Kelli Trinoskey

Publication year: 2017

Outreach publication

Growers’ Assessments of Challenges Facing the California Rice Industry: Past and Present [VIEW article]

Journal: ARE Update

Authors: Zoë Plakias and Rachael E. Goodhue

Publication year: 2016

Working paper

Optimal Licensing for Public Intellectual Property: Theory and Application to Plant Variety Patents [REQuest Manuscript]

Authors: Zoë Plakias and Julian Alston

Most recent version: 2015

Peer-reviewed journal article 

Producer Heterogeneity and Voting Power in Mandatory US Agricultural Marketing Organisations [VIEW article]

Journal: European Review of Agricultural Economics

Authors: Zoë Plakias and Rachael E. Goodhue

Publication year: 2015

Working paper

The Evolution of the California Blueberry Industry: A Social Network Analysis Approach [REQuest Manuscript]

Authors: Zoë Plakias

Most recent version: 2014

Outreach publication

Old Dog, New Tricks: The Changing Role of California’s Agricultural Marketing Organizations [VIEW article]

Journal: ARE Update

Authors: Zoë Plakias

Publication year: 2013

Teaching + Advising

AEDECON 2001: Principles of Food + Resource Economics

Spring Semester

This course serves as an introduction to microeconomics, with an emphasis on food and resource topics. It is a lecture-based course, with in-class activities and additional opportunities for class participation using online tools. This course is open to any undergraduates except those who've taken AEDECON 2001H or ECON 2001 and serves as a Social Sciences GE course (Human, Natural, and Economic Resources category). It is also a required course for the Agricultural and Applied Economics and EEDS majors.

AEDE 5330: Benefit-Cost Analysis

Spring Semester

This course covers the theory and practice of cost-benefit analysis. We analyze real cost-benefit analyses, read economic papers, and discuss timely issues (e.g., marijuana legalization, the opioid crisis, pollinator health, etc.). This course is open to advanced undergraduates who have taken AEDE 4310 (Environmental and Natural Resources Economics), AEDE 4001 (Managerial Economics) or ECON 4001 (Intermediate Microeconomics), as well as graduate students outside AEDE with a quantitative background (with permission).

eEob 5194: Interdisciplinary TEam Science

Fall Semester

This team-designed, team-taught course for graduate students is new in 2021. Designed by a team of faculty across disciplines and colleges at Ohio State, it provides students with core professional development skills to enable them to be more effective members and leaders of large team science projects. In the modules, I lead we discuss Leadership, Building Scientific Teams, and Meeting Facilitation using a combination of lecture, discussion, and small group activities exploring scenarios and cases motivated by real issues in Team Science. This course is open to undergraduate and graduate students.

Undergraduate + Graduate Advising


I currently advise PhD Student Lei Xu and serve on the dissertation committee for PhD Student Angie Liu. I also employ PhD Candidate Jonathan Siegle and am advising undergraduate student Jillian Horan's Honors Project. I advise undergraduate students in the Agribusiness and Applied Economics major and lead the department's PhD job market preparation activities. If you are a current or aspiring undergraduate or graduate student, don't hesitate to contact me about opportunities!


Recent Outreach + Media


When I'm not working you might find me...



Views of Mt. Baker from the deck of the S/V Hawaiian Chieftain
Strait of Juan de Fuca
Canada/US border

Photo of a snow-capped peak off in the distance, with a blue sky and wispy clouds above and a large expanse of water with small waves in the middle distance. The photo is taken from the port pin rail of a traditionally rigged ship, and the shrouds, belaying pins, and lines are in the foreground.

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