Lentz, Erin | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin
  • Ph.D. in Sociology, Cornell University, 2014
  • M.S. in Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, 2005
  • B.A. in Economics, Cornell University, 1999
Research Areas
  • Food Security
  • Gender, Nutrition and Agriculture Linkages
  • U.S. Food Aid and Food Assistance Policies
Teaching Areas
  • Research and Empirical Methods
  • Development Policy
  • Social Policy

Erin Lentz is an associate professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. She teaches on research and empirical methods, development policy, gender and development, and food policy. Her research explores food security; early warning systems; gender, nutrition, and agriculture linkages; and U.S. food aid and food assistance policies.

Dr. Lentz is currently pursuing four research agendas. First, she is an established authority on U.S. food aid and food assistance policy. For nearly two decades, she has studied donor responses to food insecurity in low-income countries. This research informed her 2018 congressional testimony on reforming food aid. Second, she researches innovative approaches to improving early warning for food insecurity crises, with a focus on leveraging real-time data and machine learning techniques. Third, she analyzes the links between hunger, gender and nutrition. With collaborators she developed the Women's Empowerment in Nutrition Index. Having validated the Index in South Asia, she is now preparing to validate it in Kenya. Fourth, she is developing a collaborative, community-based research project exploring the social life of famine through collecting oral histories of survivors of the 1974-5 famine in rural, northern Bangladesh.

Dr. Lentz received a Fulbright fellowship to Bangladesh to research the secondary effects of food aid in local communities. She has worked or consulted with CARE, the United Nations World Food Programme and numerous other international NGOs. She holds a Ph.D. in sociology and M.S. in applied economics and management from Cornell University.

Courses Taught
Media Expertise
  • Globalization and International Affairs


FeatureApril 25, 2022
Nina Nomura Nibling (MGPS '22) finds community, confidence and a passion for development

Nina Nomura Nibling was teaching English in Japan when she started thinking about going to graduate school. She'd earned her undergraduate degree in education and followed parental advice about taking a career path with a stable income. But after a couple of years that stability just didn’t feel fulfilling.

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NewsApril 9, 2021
April 9: Faculty Research, Policy Engagement and News

10 features from the week 

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May 28, 2020
Food Insecurity in the Domestic and International COVID-19 Context

For decades the number of undernourished people had been declining, but as of 2015 this is no longer the case. Current trends of food insecurity are especially alarming in the context of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Supply chain pressures and international movement restrictions coupled with a global economic crisis are exacerbating the existing food security crisis. What is the policy solution to addressing immediate food needs? What is the broader long-term road map? How does the U.S. balance domestic and global food insecurity pressures? And who are the people at greatest risk of suffering from food insecurity as a result of COVID-19? LBJ Associate Dean Kate Weaver moderates a conversation with LBJ professors Erin Lentz and Raj Patel.

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