John McPeak


Department of Public Administration and International Affairs

333 Eggers Hall

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY 13244

Office Phone: 315-443-6146

Fax: 315-443-9721


CV: CVmcpeak.pdf


PhD in Applied Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1999)

MA in Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1996)

BA in Economics and Sociology, Saint Lawrence University (1988)



PAI 705 Research Design  PAI 723  Economics for Public Decisions     

PAI 757/ ECN 661 Economics of Development   PAI 897  Fundamentals of Policy Analysis


 Recent Publications  / (Full List of Publications):

Mobile Peoples, Contested Borders: Land use conflicts and resolution mechanisms among Borana and Guji communities, southern Ethiopia”.  With Peter Little.  World Development.  Volume 103, March 2018, Pages 119-132 

Digital wiki map of pastoral geographies in eastern Senegal with Matthew Turner, Erin Kitchell, and Jérémy Bourgoin.  Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice 2017 (7):31

"Applying the Concept of Resilience to Pastoralist Household Data” with Peter Little. Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice. 7(14) (2017)


Report of a Consultancy for Livestock Systems and Environment Program.  Accelerated Value Chain Development (AVCD) Livestock Component Project.pdf.  Field work in Marsabit and Wajir Kenya.  (2016)


Reconciling Flexibility and Tenure Security for Pastoral Resources:  The Geography of Transhumance Networks in Eastern Senegal.  With Matthew D. TUrner, Kramer Gillin, Erin Kitchell and Niwaeli Kimambo.  Human Ecology. 2016.  44: 199-215

 Cattle sharing and rental contracts in an agrarian economy: Evidence from Ethiopia.  With Million Tadesse, Stein T. Holden, and Ragnar A Øygard.  Agricultural Economics.  (2016) 47:479-492

Pastoral Land Tenure at the Margins of Intensive and Extensive Land Use:  Baseline Survey Results from a USAID Customary Land Rights Recognition Project in Southern Ethiopia.  Prepared for the Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty.  (2015). With Peter Little, Heather Huntington, and M. Mercedes Stickler. 

Mapping of Pastoral Corridors: Practices and Politics in Eastern Senegal with Erin Kitchell and Matthew Turner.  Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice. 4(17) (2014)

Section 3, Social and Political Impacts of Increased Market Involvement, with Peter Little, in Human, Social and Political Dimensions of Resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa, FAO and World Bank. (2014) 


Resilience and Pastoralism in Africa South of the Sahara, with a Particular Focus on the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, West Africa.  (chapter) IFPRI 2020 Resilience Conference Paper 9.  (full paper)    IFPRI 2020 Resilience Conference Brief.  (brief)  with Peter Little.  (2014)


"The Role of Livestock Mobility in the Livelihood Strategies of Rural Peoples in Semi-Arid West Africa" with Matthew Turner and Augustine Ayantunde.  Human Ecology. 42: 231-247 (2014)


"Market Access and Trade Issues Affecting the Drylands in the Horn of Africa." With Yacob Aklilu, Peter D. Little, and Hussein Mahmoud Brief #2, Technical Consortium for Building Resilience to Drought in the Horn of Africa. CGIAR, FAO. . ILRI: Nairobi. (2013)


"Trade"  in African Studies, Oxford Bibliographies Online   Thomas Spear, editor in chief..  Oxford University Press. (2012)


Risk and Social Change in an African Rural Economy: Livelihoods in Pastoralist Communities.  John G. McPeak, Peter D. Little, and Cheryl R. Doss.  Routledge Press.  (2012)


"Risk and Intertemporal Substitution:  Livestock Portfolios and Off-Take Among Kenyan Pastoralists"  with Travis Lybbert.  Journal of Development Economics.  97:415-426 (2012)

"Leaving or Staying:  Inter-Provincial Migration in Vietnam". With Phuong Nguyen-Hoang.  Asian and Pacific Migration Journal.  19(4): 473-500.  (2010)


"Explaining Index Based Livestock Insurance to Pastoralists".  With Sommarat Chantarat and Andrew Mude.  Agricultural Finance Review.  70(3):333-352 (2010)


"Dynamic Field Experiments in Development Economics: Risk valuation in Morocco, Kenya and Peru" With Travis Lybbert, Francisco Glazara, Christopher B. Barrett, Stephen Boucher, Michael R. Carter, Sommarat Chantarat, Aziz Fadlaoui, and Andrew Mude.  Agricultural & Resource Economics Review 39(2): 176-192 (2010)

"Do Community Members Share Development Priorities?  Results of a Ranking Exercise in East African Rangelands." With Cheryl Doss, Christopher B. Barrett and Patti Kristjanson.  Journal of Development Studies.  45(10): 1663-1683 (2009)



Current Research Projects (Former Projects):

Kenya: Index Based Livestock Insurance in Kenya

Project Overview:  Prior work conducted by members of the Index Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) team in northern Kenya leads us to believe that a program providing asset protection is an important step towards ensuring sustainable poverty reduction.  This is because the main economic activity in this area is raising livestock in a highly risky environment.  In this area, livestock herds are subject to ‘boom and bust’ population cycles due to a reliance on rain fed pastures and highly variable rainfall patterns spatially and temporally.  Over the past forty years we have empirical evidence that herders have suffered major asset losses, losing on average 30%-50% of their herds, at least twice per decade.  Similar losses are reported in oral histories as far back as can be remembered.   As livestock and livestock products serve as the foundation for income generation in this area, these asset losses have profound impacts in human well-being and can leave people in poverty.  A complementar project, HSNP, is providing cash transfers to people in this area in an effort to bring people out of poverty though cash transfers.  We have proposed an insurance product to help insure against asset loss that will help people avoid falling into poverty.  We believe that index based livestock insurance offers the possibility of poverty reduction by reducing the number of households that fall into poverty and overall improved human welfare through risk reduction.  We area also seeeking to underrstand how income transfers and asset protection can combine to move households out of poverty over time and / or prevent households from falling into poverty over time.  For a description of project activities and outputs, see .

Documentary about our project      



Funded by BASIS / AMA Collaborative Research Support Project of USAID

Game to illustrate insurance, Karare Kenya, August 2008.  Photo by Sommarat Chantarat

Senegal and Mali

RIVERS: Management of River Systems for the Future / La Gestion des Systèmes Fluviaux pour l'Avenir (GSFA)

Project Abstract:  Riverine systems in arid and semi-arid lands serve as key resources that support livestock and crop production. For herders, rivers flowing through drylands are critical for producing dry season grazing reserves and essential sources of permanent water. For cultivators, the waters allow cultivation both though recessional cultivation of floodplains and irrigated cultivation using river water. Due to increased population pressure and changing rainfall patterns in the Senegal and Niger River basins, the agricultural economy based on these riverine systems has already come under the kinds of stresses that climate models predict may become more widespread in the future. This makes study of these systems a priority, as understanding what they have already experienced will be critical in understanding likely outcomes in other similar environments. The proposed project is designed to investigate three linked questions: what has been the impact of climate change on the vegetation of riverine systems to date; what are the benefits and costs of different methods of increasing food security though irrigated rice production noting the impact on livestock production; and what are the key points on transhumance corridors as identified by herders. We believe that, while the conversion of large areas of land to rice production is inevitable and if done correctly desirable, the costs imposed on livestock production systems and the conflict induced by conversion need to be managed. In order to design management options based on the existing  conditions, including mechanisms that allow adaption to climate change, we are conducting research with the GSFA project.

Project Outputs:

June 2012 mission report:  RM_Mission_Rivers_Juin 2012_Rap tech_prospection_Bame.pdf

September 2012 Overview of the study area write up ISRA BAME: /Rapport Caracterisation_Isra_Rivers.pdf

Mapping Transhumance Corridors in West Africa

Mapping in Final Phase:

Training in Near Infrared Spectrometry:



Village visit near Gao

Adamou Kalilou's photo.  Senna, Mali near Gao

MLPI-2: Mali Livestock Pastoralist Initiative Phase 2 (

The USAID Mission in Mali has identified an overall goal of improving productivity and income of livestock producers in Mali by enabling them to access technologies, and to build the capacity of all actors involved in development of  livestock systems.  To assist in meeting this overall goal, US universities and national organizations in Mali will implement the following activities: 1) Establishment of a livestock market information system (LMIS) for Mali using state-of-the-art communication and information technologies; 2) Conduct community based surveys such as market chain analyses and examinations of pastoralists household marketing and migration decision making to couple with remote sensed and market level data to develop a holistic understanding of constraints and conditions and to identify opportunities; 3) Develop methods and extension activities for nutritional analyses of supplemental feed; 4) Conduct risk management studies with a specific focus on community based conflict management and development of mapping tools; 5) Develop early warning capabilities for monitoring surface water used by livestock; and 6) Develop capacity and rapid assessment methods for monitoring of livestock fodder and animal nutrition status.

Livestock Market Prices in Mali Markets at :

Extension Workshop Reports:

French: MLPIDOCS/synthese atelier mopti gao OCTOBRE 2011.pdf

English  MLPIDOCS/synthese atelier mopti gao OCTOBRE 2011_English.pdf

Feeding Systems Study

French: MLPIDOCS/MLPISystemes d'alimentation octobre.pdf

English: MLPIDOCS/systemesdalimentationoctobre_English.pdf

Organizations Study

French: MLPIDOCS/OP au Mali.pdf

English: MLPIDOCS/OP au Mali_English.pdf

Animal Fattening Practices Study


Market Organization Study:

French: MarchésMali.pdf

 English: MaliMarketStudy.pdf

Mopti Poultry assessment:

French:  Aviculture au nord 2009 b.doc

Risk Ranking Report

English: RiskRankingTenenkouMali2008.pdf

Bourgou Practices Report:

French: Bourgou



My Photo, Cattle in the Niger Delta, Mali, June 2008

Conferences and Workshops:

“Pastoralism and Poverty Reduction in East Africa:  A Policy Research Conference” Nairobi, Kenya, June 27-28, 2006. Co-organizer 

“Livestock Marketing in Kenya and Ethiopia”, Nairobi, Kenya August 11-13, 2003 Nairobi Workshop Proceedings 

“Reconciling Rural Poverty Reduction and Resource Conservation:  Identifying Relationships and Remedies.”  Cornell University, May 1-3, 2003. Co-organizer 

Some photos from Northern Kenya: