Robert Paarlberg is the Betty Freyhof Johnson Class of 1944 Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College and Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. He has been an outspoken advocate of biotechnology, particularly in African nations where there is chronic hunger. Paarlberg is part of an effort to have a Second Green Revolution, which, like the first Green Revolution, brings industrial agriculture to poor countries.
Paarlberg grew up in West Lafayette, Indiana. "He received his B.A. in government from Carleton College in Minnesota and his Ph.D. in political science from Harvard. He has served as visiting professor of government at Harvard, as a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate, and as an officer in the U.S. Naval Intelligence Command." His wife, Marianne Perlak, is the Art Director at Harvard University Press.
Research and Writings
"Paarlberg's principal research interests are international agricultural and environmental policy. His book, Starved for Science: How Biotechnology Is Being Kept Out of Africa (Harvard University Press, March 2008), explains why poor African farmers are denied access to productive technologies, particularly genetically engineered seeds with improved resistance to insects and drought.
"He also has published books on the use of food as a weapon (Food Trade and Foreign Policy, Cornell University Press), on international agricultural trade negotiations (Fixing Farm Trade, Council on Foreign Relations), on environmentally sustainable farming in developing countries (Countrysides at Risk, Overseas Development Council), on U.S. foreign economic policy (Leadership Abroad Begins at Home, Brookings), on the reform of U.S. agricultural policy (Policy Reform in American Agriculture, Chicago University Press, with David Orden and Terry Roe), and on the regulation of biotechnology in developing countries (The Politics of Precaution, Johns Hopkins).
"Paarlberg's most recent research focus has been on the regulation of modern technology, including biotechnology. In 2004-05 he published articles on the competitive posture of scientific research in the United States and on the global stem cell research competition. He has worked most intensively on policies toward genetically modified crops and foods in developing countries. In recent years he has done research on this topic in Kenya, Zambia, Brazil, Cameroon, Senegal, India, China and Argentina."
"He published a lead article on this topic in Foreign Affairs Quarterly in May/June 2000, a discussion paper on this topic for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in December 2000, and his book on this subject, The Politics of Precaution: Genetically Modified Crops in Developing Countries, was published in 2001 by Johns Hopkins University Press."
"Paarlberg has also recently completed major studies of regional policy harmonization toward biotechnology in eastern and southern Africa, for the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) on the politics of accepting biofortified food crops in developing countries, commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation."
Memberships and Appointments
- Member of the Board of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the National Research Council
- Member of the Biotechnology Advisory Council to the CEO of the Monsanto Company
- Member of the Board of Directors of Winrock International
- Member of the Emerging Markets Advisory Committee at the United States Department of Agriculture
- Scientific liaison officer to IFPRI from the U.S. Agency for International Development
- Consultant to the National Intelligence Council (NIC)
- Consultant to USAID
- Consultant to IFPRI
- Consultant to the World Bank
- Consultant to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Resources and articles
- Second Green Revolution
- Genetically Modified Organisms
- Chicago Council on Global Affairs
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
- Jill Richardson, Book Review: Starved for Science, La Vida Locavore, November 7, 2010.
- Jill Richardson More Non-Help for Africa, Courtesy of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, La Vida Locavore, March 24, 2009.