An agronomist (with a degree from INA, the French National Agronomic Institute) as well as an economist (PhD from Michigan State University), Michel Petit has held posts as researcher at INRA (France’s National Agricultural Research Institute), professor at ENSSAA (National Higher Institute for Applied Agronomy), from 1968-1988, and then Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at the World Bank. During his tenure at the World Bank he created a special program of support for agricultural research in developing countries. Recently retired after four years as Professor at the INA, where he instituted a new teaching and research unit devoted to public economics, Michel Petit is now associated with the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute in Montpellier, He is a member of the International Food and Agricultural Policy Council (IPC).
For more than two decades, his research focused on farmers’ decision-making. Later he began a research program on the political economy of agricultural policy, in particular in Europe and the US, a subject he has taken up again more recently.