Sustainability Science Program

Alicia Harley

Alicia Harley

Alicia HarleyMs. Alicia Harley
Sustainability Science Program
Kennedy School of Government
Mailbox 81
Harvard University
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Office: Non-resident
Group affiliation: Doctoral Research Fellow

Alicia Harley is a Doctoral Research Fellow in the Sustainability Science Program and a doctoral candidate in Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. She is also a Weatherhead Center for International Affairs Graduate Student Affiliate. She is interested in international food and agriculture policy, agriculture innovation systems, public goods provision, and smallholder agriculture and farmer livelihoods. Within these literatures, she focuses on institutional reform in support of innovation and technology cooperation in agriculture development. Alicia leads the food and agriculture systems working group as part of a collaborative project with the Initiative on Innovation and Access to Technologies for Sustainable Development led by Professor William Clark. She received her BA, magna cum laude, in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College in 2008 and subsequently worked as a greenhouse gas reduction program coordinator for Harvard’s Office for Sustainability. Following that, she spent a year in Cairo as a Fulbright Scholar researching the political economy of agriculture and food security in Egypt before returning to graduate school. She speaks advanced Arabic and German, intermediate Spanish and beginning Hindi. Her faculty host is William Clark.

Agriculture innovation systems and collective action
This projects asks how capacity for collective action will improve systemic weaknesses in agriculture innovation systems and lead to better outcomes as measured by improved farmer livelihoods.

Alicia’s research focuses on agriculture innovation systems and capacity for collective action as a means for improving project outcomes targeted at smallholder farmers. Using four case studies from India and Egypt, her research looks at technology cooperation between smallholder farmers and technology brokers, focusing on the different mechanisms by which technology brokers in the public, private, and civil society sectors foster or impede capacity for collective action in local agriculture systems. The overarching hypothesis her research explores is that capacity for collective action will improve systemic weaknesses in agriculture innovation systems, leading to better outcomes as measured by improved farmer livelihoods. Moreover, different groups of technology brokers will vary in their ability to support capacity for collective action through their de jure and de facto institutional designs. By bringing together literatures from agriculture innovation systems and political institutionalism, the research aims to both contribute to more robust agriculture innovation systems for smallholder agriculture, as well as the empirical and theoretical literature on collective action within political science.

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