Dr. Nicolas Gerber

Research themes
  • Land use and food security
  • Sustainable use of natural resources
  • Biodiversity
  • Land, water, food and energy
  • Health, nutrition and ecosystems
Research countries
  • Bangladesh
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • India
  • Uganda
  • Pakistan
Research projects

ELD - The economics of land degradation; FoodSecure (www.foodsecure.eu) - Exploring the future of global food and nutrition security; PROIntensAfrica - Towards a long-term Africa-EU partnership to raise sustainable food and nutrition security in Africa; WATSAN-AGRICULTURE - Guiding pro-poor investments in the nexus among domestic water quality and quantity, sanitation and hygiene, and agriculture from the bottom up; Analysis and Implementation of Measures to Reduce Price Volatility in National and International Markets for Improved Food Security in Developing Countries ” (Phase 2); TelePAtH - Tipping Points of Food Security in coupled social-ecological systems of West Africa under Climatic Hazards (Definition Phase); PRO-ACT - Fostering Smallholder Agriculture in Sierra Leone; STRIVE - Sustainable TRade and InnoVation transfer in the bioEconomy: From National Strategies to Global Sustainable Development Goals; NOURICITY - Partnerships for healthy diets and nutrition in urban African food systems – evidence and strategies


ZEF's interdisciplinary coursework (proposal writing and development); Lectures in "Development Policy and Analysis", Uni Bonn (B-3.4.2 / ENT 212); Advanced Environmental Economics (ENV 210, AFECO Master's program, Uni Bonn); Angewandte Mikroökonomie (B-AE-Ö-03, Bachelor program, UNi Bonn)

Additional Information:

Member, ZEF Research Ethics Committee (2013- ); Departmental representative to the Directorate (2017- ); ZEF Project Coordinator (2017-), "ProACT: Fostering Smallholder Agriculture in Sierra Leone"; ZEF Project Coordinator (2015-2017), "PROIntensAfrica: Towards a long-term Africa-EU partnership to raise sustainable food and nutrition security in Africa"; ZEF Project Coordinator (2012-2017), "Exploring the future of global food and nutrition security", www.foodsecure.eu ; ZEF Project Coordinator (2015-2016), "Guiding pro-poor investments in the nexus among domestic water quality and quantity, sanitation and hygiene, and agriculture from the bottom up". ZEF Project Coordinator (2010-2011), "The Economics of Land Degradation".

Tutorship of doctoral candidates

Abdul Salam Lodhi, "Education, Child Labor, and Human Capital Formation in the Selected Urban and Rural of Settings of Pakistan" (graduated); Siti Rahyla Rhamat, "A global value chain and science policy analysis for sustainable palm oil industry in Malaysia" (graduated); Philipp Baumgartner, "The impact of large-scale land-acquisition in East Africa on poverty reduction and the rural economy: stuides in Ethiopia and Uganda" (graduated); Elias Danyi Kuusaana, "Large-Scale Investment in Agriculture in West Africa - Implications for Land Markets and Smallholder Farmers" (graduated); Daniel Ayalew Mekonnen, "Aspirations, adoption of agricultural innovations, and household food and nutrition security: Case of Ethiopia" (graduated); Muhammed Abdella Usman, "Water, Sanitation and Hygiene - Agriculture Nexus: Synergies and Trade-offs for a Better Nutrition and Health Outcome in Ethiopia" (graduated); Tekalign Gutu Sakketa, "Youth in agriculture, relative deprivation, expectations and their decisions in the context of economic change: future prospects of rural young people and Ethiopian agriculture"; Charles Yaw Okyere, "Water Quality in Multipurpose Water Systems, Sanitation, Hygiene and Health Outcomes in Ghana"; Ruchi Vangani, "Exploring the links and dynamics therein for WATSAN and irrigation agriculture (AG-WATSAN Nexus) for a better nutrition and health outcome Gujarat, India"; Mohammad Monirul Hasan, "Investment in health and its relation with agriculture, water and sanitation (AG-WATSAN nexus) for the rural households in Bangladesh: synergies, trade-off, threshold level and way out"; Emmanuel Nshakira Rukundo, "Essays on Economics of Decentralization and Health in Uganda"; Isaac Bonuedi, "Enhancing Food and Nutrition Security through Cash Crop Promotion and Nutrition Education in Sierra Leone"



Professional experience

Associate lecturer, UNSW (2001-2006) Research Officer, NSW Depart. of Environment & Conservation (2005-2006)


PhD in Economics, UNSW, Australia (2006) MSc. in Environmental & Resource Economics, UCL, UK (1998) BSc. in Economics, UNIL, Switzerland (1997)


Environmental and resource economics

Funding institutions

BMBF; BMZ; European Commission; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Research partners

Wageningen Economics Research (Netherlands), Center of Excellence for Food Security - University of the Western Cape (South Africa), ISSER (U. Ghana) for the NOURICITY project; Welthungerhilfe for the PRO-ACT project; GIZ, IFPRI for the ELD project; AgroPariTtech, IFPRI, INRA, KUL, LEI-WUR, CCAP, EEA, EMBRAPA, IDDRI, IGIDR, IHEID, IIASA, JRC-IPTS, CIRAD, SAU, UROMA3, IAE, PBL for the FoodSecure project; WUR, FARA, CIRAD, CORAF/WECARD, UC Leuven, CCARDESA, Swedish U. of Ag. Sciences, CSIR-CRI Kumasi, ARC South Africa, IICT (Portugal), MTT (Finland), AFAAS, U. of Copenhagen, ASARECA and others for the PROIntensAfrica project; ISSER (U. Ghana), Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar, Ethiopian Economic Association and BRAC (Bangladesh) for the WATSAN project.


Gerber, N. and Mirzabaev, A.. 2018. Benefits of action and costs of inaction: Drought mitigation and preparedness – a literature review. In: Donald A. Wilhite and Roger S. Pulwarty (eds.): Drought and Water Crisis – Integrating Science, Management, and Policy. CRC Press, Boca Raton.
Mekonnen, D.A., Gerber, N. and Matz, J.A.. 2018. Gendered social networks, agricultural innovations and farm productivity in Ethiopia. World Development, 105: b321-335.
Usman, M. A., Gerber, N., and Pangaribowo, E. H.. 2018. Drivers of microbiological quality of household drinking water – a case study in rural Ethiopia. Journal of Water and Health, 16(2): 275-288.
Usman, M., Gerber, N., and von Braun, J.. 2018. The Impact of Drinking Water Quality and Sanitation on Child Health: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia. The Journal of Development Studies, doi:10.1080/00220388.2018.1493193.


Gerber, N. and Bhaduri, A.. 2017. Producers’ well-being and natural resource extraction - the Eaglewood trade in Papua New Guinea. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, 46(1): 21-43. (Open Access)
Hasan, M. M., and Gerber, N.. 2017. Bacterial contamination of drinking water and food utensils: impacts of piped water on child health in North-Western Bangladesh. Water Resources and Rural Development, (10): 33-44.
Mekonnen, D.A., Gerber, N.. 2017. Aspirations and food security in rural Ethiopia. Food Security, 9(2): 371-385. (Open Access)
Narayanan, S. and Gerber, N.. 2017. Social Safety Nets for Food and Nutrition Security in India. Global Food Security, DOI 10.1016/j.gfs.2017.05.001..


Hasan, M.M. and Gerber, N.. 2016. The impacts of piped water on water quality, sanitation, hygiene and health in rural households of north-western Bangladesh - a quasi-experimental analysis. ZEF Discussion Papers 217, . Further Information
Malek, M.A., Khan, T.N., Gerber, N., Saha, R. and Mohammad, I. 2016. Can a specially designed information intervention around the WASH-agriculture linkages make any difference? Experimental evidence of behavioral changes and health impacts. ZEF Discussion Papers 213, . Further Information
Mekonnen, D.A. and Gerber, N. 2016. Aspirations and income, food security and subjective well-being in rural Ethiopia. ZEF Discussion Papers 212, . Further Information
Mekonnen, D.A. and Gerber, N. 2016. The effect of aspirations on agricultural innovations in rural Ethiopia. ZEF Discussion Papers 214, . Further Information
Narayanan, S. and Gerber, N. 2016. Social Safety Nets for Food and Nutritional Security in India. ZEF – Working Paper 146, . Further Information
Pangaribowo, E.H. and Gerber, N. 2016. Innovations for food and nutrition security: impacts and trends. In: Franz W. Gatzweiler and Joachim von Braun (eds.): Technological and Institutional Innovations for Marginalized Smallholders in Agricultural Development. Springer.
Usman, M.A., Gerber, N. and Pangaribowo, E.H.. 2016. Determinants of Household Drinking Water Quality in Rural Ethiopia. ZEF–Discussion Papers 220, . Further Information
Usman, M.A., Gerber, N. and von Braun, J.. 2016. The Impact of Drinking Water Quality and Sanitation Behavior on Child Health: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia. ZEF–Discussion Papers 221, . Further Information
Vangani, R., Saxena, D., Gerber, N., Mavalankar, D. and von Braun, J.. 2016. Impact of different irrigation systems on water quality in peri-urban areas of Gujarat, India. ZEF–Discussion Papers 219, . Further Information


Kuusaana, E.D. and Gerber, N. 2015. Institutional Synergies in Customary Land Markets—Selected Case Studies of Large-Scale Land Acquisitions (LSLAs) in Ghana. Land, 4: 842-868. (Open Access)


Pieters, H., N. Gerber and D. Mekonnen. 2014. Country typology on the basis of FNS. A typology of countries based on FNS outcomes and their agricultural, economic, political, innovation and infrastructure national profiles. Further Information


Evita Pangaribowo, Nicolas Gerber and Pascal Tillie. 2013. Assessing the FNS impacts of technological and institutional innovations and future innovation trends. . FOODSECURE working paper no. 11. Further Information
Gerber N., E. Nkonya, and J. von Braun. 2013. Land Degradation, Poverty and Marginality. In: Joachim von Braun and Franz W. Gatzweiler (eds.): Marginality: addressing the nexus of poverty, exclusion and ecology. Springer Open. 181-202. Further Information
Pangaribowo, E. H., Gerber, N. and Torero, M. 2013. Food and Nutrition Security Indicators: a review. . ZEF – Working Paper 108. Further Information
von Braun, J., Gerber, N., Mirzabaev, A. and Nkonya, E. 2013. The Economics of Land Degradation. . ZEF – Working Paper 109. Further Information


Gerber, N. and Sommer, J.H. 2012. Biological indicators – genetic. In: Ian Spellerberg et al. (eds.): “Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability Vol. 6 - Measurements, Indicators, and Research Methods for Sustainability”. Berkshire Publishing Group, Great Barrington, USA..
von Braun, J. and N. Gerber. 2012. The economics of land and soil degradation - toward an assessment of the costs of inaction. In: Lal, R., K. Lorenz, R.F. Hüttl, B.U. Schneider and J. von Braun (Eds) (eds.): Recarbonization of the biosphere - ecosystems and the global carbon cycle. Springer. pp 493-516.


Gerber, N. 2011. Biodiversity measures based on species-level dissimilarities: a methodology for assessment. Ecological Economics, 70: 2275-2281.
Nkonya, E., Gerber, N., Baumgartner, P., von Braun, J., De Pinto, A., Graw, V., Kato, E., Kloos, J. and Walter, T.. 2011. The Economics of Land Degradation: Toward an integrated global assessment.. Peter Lang GmbH.
Nkonya, E., N. Gerber, J. von Braun, and A. De Pinto. 2011. Economics of land degradation - The costs of action versus inaction. . IFPRI Issue Brief 68. Further Information
Salam Lodhi, A., Tsegai, D. and Gerber, N.. 2011. Determinants of participation in child’s education and alternative activities in Pakistan,. . ZEF- Discussion Papers On Development Policy No. 159. Further Information


Gerber, N.. 2009. Measuring Biodiversity – an axiomatic evaluation of measures based on genetic data. . ZEF Discussion Paper 133. 26. Further Information


Gerber, N.. 2008. Bioenergy and Rural Development in Developing Countries: a review of existing studies.. . ZEF – Discussion Papers On Development Policy No. 122. Further Information
Gerber, N., van Eckert, M. and Breuer, T.. 2008. The Impacts of Biofuel Production on Food Prices: a review.. . ZEF – Discussion Papers On Development Policy No. 127. Further Information


Gerber, N. 2007. Biodiversity measurement, species interactions and sustainability. Thesis at UNSW.

Additionals, Curriculum Vitae
and Downloads

Nicolas Gerber

Senior Researcher



ZEF B: Department of Economic and Technological Change