IO/Dev work in agrifood
I also see some interesting possibilities at the intersection of IO and development...partly based on work that already exists at this intersection.
In the agrifood sector, in particular, there are several good examples of this work (e.g., supermarkets, procurement, food quality and safety, production contracting, transportation). Research in other sectors does seem sparse (I think due mainly to data limitations), but IO/dev work in the agrifood sector has a track record that is at least a decade long.
For a flavor of this work, see these recent publications from some of my colleagues at UC Davis and a link to supermarket work by Tom Reardon.
A. Suzuki, L. Jarvis, and R.J. Sexton “Partial Vertical Integration, Risk Shifting, and Product Rejection in the High-Value Export Supply Chain: the Ghana Pineapple Sector,” World Development, 39, 1611-1623.
Merel, P., R.J. Sexton, and A. Suzuki “Optimal Investment in Transportation Infrastructure When Middlemen Have Market Power: A Developing-Country Analysis.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 91, 2009, 462-476.
Sexton, R.J. I. Sheldon, S. McCorrison, and H. Wang. “Agricultural Trade Liberalization and Economic Development: the Role of Downstream Market Power.” Agricultural Economics 36, 2007, 253-270.