Roshan Adhikari

Research Associate
Global Development Institute, University of Manchester

Welcome to my homepage! I am a development economist, working as a Research Associate in the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester.


  • Our paper "Performance of large-scale irrigation projects in sub-Saharan Africa" is now published in Nature Sustainability. Link to paper

  • I am convening a panel titled "The World Commission on Dams +20 years - revisiting dams, decision-making and development" at the Development Studies Association in June 2021. Abstracts are due on February 8! Link to the abstract submission page.

  • I am also convening a session on connections between water, food, energy and environment systems at the European Geo sciences Union (EGU) Conference in Vienna in April. You can find more information about the session here.


Research Interests

My current projects and future research agenda focus on sustainable development, including climate change impacts and adaptation, technology adoption, and related economic and environmental outcomes. I am most interested in improving our understanding of agricultural systems, and using that knowledge to improve private and public decision making by communicating research to stakeholders.

I approach my work from an interdisciplinary perspective — partly by choice, partly by nature, and mostly because I cannot avoid it.

Short CV

I received my Ph.D. in Applied Economics from Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis, USA (2013-2018). In my dissertation, I used an integrated modeling framework to study the impacts of climate change and adaptation measures on smallholders' welfare in Ethiopia and Kenya. During my time at OSU I worked with Dr. John Antle, my PhD advisor, on a few other projects ranging from assessing the impacts of legume inoculation technology in Tanzania and economic analysis of a sustainable biofuels system in the Pacific Northwest USA. I completed a part of my PhD work at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analytics in Austria as a participant in the Young Scientist Summer Program.

Prior to my career as an economist, I toyed with the idea of becoming a lawyer and worked at a law firm in Washington. I have a BA in Economics-Mathematics from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.

At Manchester, I am working with Dr. Tim Foster and Dr. Ralitza Dimova on understanding and managing the impacts of dams on agriculture. Most of our work combines remote sensing techniques, crop-water modeling, and analysis of agricultural/socio-economic survey data to understand how and why dams have affected agricultural productivity.


  1. Higginbottom, T., Adhikari, R., Dimova, R., Redicker, S. and Foster, T (2021). Irrigation scheme developments in sub-Saharan Africa have failed to achieve proposed irrigated areas. Nature Sustainability

  2. Adhikari, R., Antle, J. and Weibe, K (2021). Adoption and Impacts of Small-Scale Irrigation in Kenya's Maize-Based Farm Households. [In Press]
  3. Oldekop, J.A., Horner, R., Hulme, D., Adhikari, R., et al. (2020). COVID-19 and the case for global development. World Dev. 105044.
  4. Antle, J., Adhikari, R. and S. Price (2015). An Income-Based Food Security Indicator for Agricultural Technology Impact Assessment. Chapter 14 in A. Schmitz, P.L. Kennedy and T.G. Schmitz, eds. Food Security in an Uncertain World: An International Perspective. Emerald Insight Publishing

Manuscripts under review & Working Papers

  1. Foster, T., Adhikari, R., Adhikari, S., Justice, S., Urfels A.,and Krupnik, T.J. Fuel-efficient and cost-effective pumpset selection to support intensification of groundwater irrigation in South Asia

  2. Ghansah, B., Adhikari, R., Foster, T., Higginbottom, T., and Zwart S. Spatial-Temporal Variations of Small Reservoirs Surface Areas in Response to Climate Variability and Landscape Positioning in Semi-Arid Zones: Case Study Upper East Region, Ghana
  3. Adhikari, R., Foster, T., Urfels A., Adhikari, S. and Krupnik, T.J. Irrigation cost heterogeneity and impacts on farm productivity: Empirical evidence from rice-wheat cropping systems in Nepal
  4. Adhikari, R.,Foster, T., Bui, T. Mitigating impacts of return migration on rural livelihoods and poverty in Nepal
  5. Redicker S. and Adhikari, R. Determinants of sustainable agriculture practice adoption in Indonesia



Intermediate Applied Economics (Undergraduate, Winter 2017 & 2018)

Math Camp (Incoming PhD students, Summer 2017)

Teaching Assistant

Global Poverty and Sustainable Development (Undergraduate, Spring 2018)

Microeconomic Theory (Graduate, Fall 2017)

Advanced Econometrics, (Graduate, Spring 2017)

Intermediate Applied Economics (Undergraduate, Fall 2014 & 2015)

The Economic History of American Agriculture (Graduate, Winter 2014)

Guest Lectures

Water Resource Planning & Management, School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, Manchester (2021 -Scheduled)

Behavioural Experiments, Quantitative Field Research and Development Policy, Global Development Institute, Manchester (2020)

Invited Presentations

2017 Applied Economics Working Group, Oregon State University

2016 Southern Economic Association Conference, Washington DC

2016 USDA-NIFA AFRI Sustainable Bio-energy Annual Project Directors Meeting, Louisiana

2016 Methods and Tools for Impact Assessment, International Institute for Applied Systems Analytics, Austria

2016 6th Agricultural Model Inter comparison Project (AGMIP) Global Workshop, Montepellier, France

2015 Economic Development Working Group, Oregon State University

2015 Northwest Agribusiness Executive Seminar, Washington

Fellowships and Awards

Sasakawa Young Leaders’ Fellowship Fund (Sylff), Tokyo Foundation, Graduate Fellowship (2016)

Young Summer Scientists Program at IIASA, Austria (2016)

Robert Johnson Fellowship, Department of Applied Economics, OSU (2015)

Hugh and Helen Woods Scholarship, Benton County Foundation (2013)