Talking Trade with Paul Castaneda Dower, assistant professor of agricultural and applied economics at UW-Madison

In the latest episode of “Talking Trade,” a UW-Madison economist and expert on Russia provides insight into the evolving conflict with Ukraine. 

Paul Castaneda Dower is an assistant professor of agricultural and applied economics at the university and is involved with UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Russia Project. He offers his perspective on the rationale behind Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as how it could impact global trade. 

“Precisely because Ukraine is so close to Russia … economically, culturally, historically, politically, all these things, because they’re so close, if Ukraine is able to successfully integrate with the west and democratize in a successful way, this means that it can be done in Russia too,” he said. “That’s very problematic for Putin’s worldview.” 

Aside from the predicted rise in fuel costs, Dower notes Russia and Ukraine combined produce a fourth of the world’s wheat and a fifth of the world’s corn. And Ukraine is the world’s largest exporter of sunflower seed oil. 

“So obviously this is going to have huge effects across the globe,” he said. “With the pandemic’s disruption of the global supply chains, this is going to be an additional, kind of perfect storm if you will, to impact global prices.”