Carlisle Ford Runge

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Carlisle Ford Runge
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CitizenshipUnited States Of America
Alma materUniversity of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
OccupationUniversity Professor
OrganizationUniversity of Minnesota
  • Carlisle Piehl Runge (father)
  • Elizabeth Eshleman Runge (mother)

Carlisle Ford Runge (b. 1953) is Distinguished McKnight University Professor[1] of Applied Economics and Law at the University of Minnesota, where he also holds appointments in the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the Department of Forest Resources, is a member of the faculty in Conservation Biology and a Fellow of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment.

Born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1953, his parents were Carlisle Piehl Runge (1920-83), a Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin, and Elizabeth Eshleman Runge (1922-64), a television journalist. Both were active in Democratic politics and early opponents of Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI). His mother died in 1964 of complications from multiple sclerosis. In 1966, his father remarried Eleanor Vilas Runge (1932-2012).

Early Life

His childhood was spent in Madison. From 1961-62, the family relocated to Washington, D.C., while his father served as Assistant Secretary of Defense to President John F. Kennedy. After graduating from high school in Madison in 1970, he attended the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he served as President of the Student Body in 1973-74[2]. As a North Carolina Fellow, he worked as an intern (1972) for Gaylord Nelson (D-WI). After a year at the (now) Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University, where he met his future wife, Susan Mackenzie Runge (married 1982[3]), he received a Rhodes Scholarship[4] and attended New College, Oxford from 1975-77, finishing a BA and MA in Politics and Economics. During 1976, he worked on the staff of the House Committee on Agriculture under Chairman and later House Speaker Thomas S. Foley. In 1977, he served as speechwriter to Allard K. Lowenstein after Lowenstein (1929-1980) was appointed U.S. Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva by President Jimmy Carter. He returned to Madison from 1977-81 to study for his doctorate in Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin, and received his PhD in 1981[5].

His first academic appointment was at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in Public Policy from 1981-82. In 1982 he received a Science and Diplomacy Fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)[6], working in USAID on science and technology issues in developing countries, especially in Africa. In 1990, he was appointed to the National Academy of Sciences Study Group on Common Property Resources [7](the subject of his dissertation), working with Daniel W. Bromley (his dissertation supervisor) and Eleanor Ostrom, who would win the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics for her work on common property.

In 1983, he was appointed an Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota, working with G. Edward Schuh[8] (1932-2009), Vernon Wesley Ruttan (1924-2008) and Harlan Cleveland (1918-2008) and directing the Future of the North American Granary Project [9]at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. In 1985, he served as Chairman of the Governor's Farm Crisis Commission, structuring recommendations on farm credit and land markets in Minnesota, during the farm financial crisis of the 1980’s.

Professional Involvement Outside Academia

In 1986 he was awarded an International Affairs Fellowship by the Council on Foreign Relations[10], and in 1987 selected as a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow[11] and Ford Foundation Economist. He spent 1987-88 as a special assistant to the U.S. Ambassador to the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs [12](GATT now WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland, working under Trade Representative and former Agriculture Secretary Clayton Yeutter (1930-2017)[13]. In 1988 he was named a member of the Council on Foreign Relations[14] in New York, and in 1990 a Fulbright Scholar[15] for study in Western Europe.

From 1988-91, he served as the first director of the Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy (CIFAP) at the University of Minnesota[16]. During 1991, he did research on European trade reform and environmental policy as a Fulbright Research Fellow, visiting at the Universities of Padova (Italy) and Dijon (France). From 2004-2007, he served for the second time as Director of CIFAP. He has consulted for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, the Ford Motor Company, Monsanto, Syngenta, the Environmental Defense Fund, the World Wildlife Fund, the World Resources Institute, and the Wilderness Society. He served as an advisory member of the Board of Directors at Land O'Lakes from 1993-98. He is a member of the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C.

His publications include numerous books, and a wide range of articles concentrating on trade, agriculture and natural resources policy. In 1992, Iowa State University Press published Reforming Farm Policy: Toward a National Agenda, which he wrote with Willard W. Cochrane (1914-2012). In 1994, the Council on Foreign Relations published Freer Trade, Protected Environment: Balancing Trade Liberalization and Environmental Interests. In 2003, Johns Hopkins University Press published, Ending Hunger in Our Lifetime: Food Security and Globalization. In 2007 he published “How Biofuels May Starve the Poor” in Foreign Affairs. In 2010 he co-authored “Against the Grain: Why Failing to Complete the Green Revolution Could Bring the Next Famine,” also in Foreign Affairs. In 2014 he co-authored “Global Agriculture and Carbon Trade-offs,” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. His current research is focused on the neuroscience of economic decisions over time.

Personal and Family Life

Since 1994, he has lived with his wife and daughter, Elizabeth Thayer Runge (b. 1987) in Stillwater, Minnesota. His son, Carlisle Piehl Runge (b. 1990), after leaving Minnesota to attend Yale University, lives and works as a health economist in Washington, D.C. Since 1985, the family has owned a small farm enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in Dunn County, Wisconsin and a family summer home on the Bois Brule river in Wisconsin.


  1. dtrexel (2015-09-04). "Runge, Ford". University of Minnesota Law School. Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  2. "Collection Title: Student Government of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1919-2016".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. "Susan Mackenzie Wed to Professor". The New York Times. 1982-07-04. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  4. "Carolina's Rhodes Scholars - UNC General Alumni Association". Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  5. "Carlisle Ford Runge". How Rhodes Scholars Think. 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2020-09-21.
  6. "Alumni of S&T Policy Fellowships | American Association for the Advancement of Science". Retrieved 2020-09-21.
  7. The Drama of the Commons. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. 2002. pp. 7–8. ISBN 978-0-309-08250-1.
  8. "Economist G. Edward Schuh made mark far beyond U". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  9. "The Future of the North American Granary". 2009-01-28. ISSN 0015-7120. Retrieved 2020-09-21.
  10. "Council on Foreign Relations". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  11. "Fifty Years of Fellowship". Bush Foundation. Retrieved 2020-09-21.
  12. Runge, Carlisle Ford (2009-01-28). "The Assault on Agricultural Protectionism". ISSN 0015-7120. Retrieved 2020-09-21.
  13. Runge, Carlisle Ford (2009-01-28). "The Assault on Agricultural Protectionism". ISSN 0015-7120. Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  14. "Council on Foreign Relations". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  15. "Directory of American Fulbright Scholars" (PDF).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. Sundquist, W. Burt (2001). A History of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota, 1979-2000. Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota.

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