A common discussion topic between my classmates and I (between studying, of course) is why we each have chosen our areas of interest in applied economics. In a department as diverse as MSU’s Agriculture, Food, and Resource Economics Department, this discussion often is quite interesting. Some of us are interested in environmental resources (water quality, non-point pollution, energy) some are interested in producing food efficiently and some of us are interested in the field (which is ever growing in popularity) of development economics.
My standard answer to the question, why work on international development issues when there are areas of the United States that need help too (i.e. Detroit) is: “There are entire countries like Detroit”. That’s really just part of my full answer. But here’s a map to back up this idea: