George Davis

Professor

Expertise:

Education

Ph.D. Economics, North Carolina State University, 1991

M.S. Agricultural Economics, Clemson University, 1986

B.S. Agricultural Economics, Clemson University, 1983

Overview

I have a joint appointment in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise.  My research generally covers food demand, health outcomes, econometrics, and methodology. Though I work on many issues related to food and nutrition, my main focus is on understanding the interaction of nutrition policies and time allocation in affecting nutrient intake and diet quality.

Current Projects

I am currently working with Wen You on using more informative measures of ‘food poverty’ in evaluating how well individuals are reaching nutrition targets and to what extent there are differences across socioeconomic and demographic groups.  We also continue to work on the many implications of time constraints on nutrient intake and diet quality.

Currently Teaching 

  • PhD
    • Food and Health Microeconomics AAEC 6214
  • MS/BS
    • Food, Nutrition, and Health Economics AAEC 4814 (Virginia Tech)

Previously Taught

  • PhD
    • Applied Econometric Methods AGEC 661 (Texas A&M)
    • Consumer Demand Analysis AGEC 635 (Texas A&M)
    • Research Methodology AGEC 520 (Texas A&M)
  • MS
    • Applied Microeconomics AAEC 5026
  • BS 
    • Agricultural Price Analysis AGEC 447 (Texas A&M)

Experience

  • Professor. Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech. (August, 2007 – Present).
  • Assistant to Professor. Department of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University. (December, 1995-August, 2007).

Awards

Article of the Year Award. 2015. Western Agricultural Economics Association for article with Senarath Dharmasena and Oral Capps, Jr. “Partial and General Equilibrium Effects of a Sugar Sweetened Beverage Tax.” Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics. Vol. 39. No. 2.  (Aug. 2014): 157-173.

Excellence in Applied Research Award. 2014. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Virginia Tech.  Shared with Wen You.

Article of the Year Award. 2011. Food Safety and Nutrition Section of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association for article with Wen You, “Household Food Expenditures, Parental Time Allocation, and Childhood Obesity: An Integrated Two-Stage Collective Model with an Empirical Application and Test.”  American Journal of Agricultural Economics.  Vol. 92. No. 3. (April, 2010):859-872.

William Preston Society Master’s Thesis Gold Watch Award. 2009. Virginia Tech. Co Advisor with Wen You for award given to Ge Zhang for her thesis “Incorporating Food-Away From Home into Thrifty Food Plan.”

American Agricultural Economics Association Outstanding Dissertation Award. 2006. Major Advisor for award given to Wen You for her dissertation “Parental Time and Children’s Obesity Measures: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation.”

Outstanding Alumnus Award. 2001 North Carolina State University, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. 

 

Selected recent publications

Food and Nutrition Economics

 

Welcome Intrepid Scholar,

This is our webpage for the supplementary material associated with the 2016 Oxford University Press book “Food and Nutrition Economics: Fundamentals for Health Sciences.”  This page will eventually have three items: (i) question bank (ii) math review document and (iii) power points.  Below is a little description about each one.  

 

Question Bank

I generally structure my tests with 15 multiple choice, two short answer, and one discussion question.  Tests will usually cover on average of about two chapters.  Given the audience and the subject matter (especially the economics later on) I have found that having a majority of rather softball (regurgitation) multiple choice questions sets a relaxed tone for the student, who then has some confidence going into the more challenging short answer and discussion questions.  Thus the short answer and discussion questions are designed to generate the grade dispersion (i.e., separate As from the Bs, etc..). 

For each chapter there are four types of questions:

(i) The thought break questions from the chapter

(ii) Multiple choice questions

(iii) Short answer questions

(iv) Discussion questions

The thought break questions are included here because I will often use verbatim at least one thought break question from the book on a quiz or test to send a signal that there is a reward to be obtained by working these problems as they read the chapter.

Given the structure of economics it is very easy to make up very different questions with very different answers by just changing a few words within a question, especially verbs, such as increase to decrease.  Thus these questions cover the most important concepts and provide a template for many variations of the questions simply by changing a few words.

Chapter 1 Questions
Chapter 2 Questions
Chapter 3 Questions
Chapter 4 Questions
Chapter 5 Questions
Chapter 6 Questions
Chapter 7 Questions
Chapter 8 Questions
Chapter 9 Questions
Chapter 10 Questions 
Chapter 11 Questions
Chapter 12 Questions 
Chapter 13 Questions
Chapter 14 Questions
Chapter 15 Questions
Chapter 16 Questions

Math Review

The math review document covers all the mathematical and graphical concepts needed for the book, but goes into more detail and gives rather general principles.  As this document has several graphs and equations, it is given in a PDF format to avoid formatting errors that can occur when moving between different text software or versions.

Math Review

Power Points

This will probably be available by late fall of 2016.  It will consist mainly of a few motivational slides and summary slides per chapter.  It will probably not contain many of the graphs from the chapters.  Why? Given the nature of the material a “power point flipping” style is not a very effective way to teach the material or for the students to learn the material.  As explained in the book, economics is a framework for thinking.  It is a toolkit for organizing and analyzing the interaction of different variables.  It is a conceptual calculator.  It should not be viewed as a list of facts or findings.  It is a tool. 

The best way to learn how to use a tool is to use the tool, not hear someone just talk about using the tool.  If I was teaching you to become a carpenter and I wanted you to learn how to use a hammer, I wouldn’t just show you a picture of a hammer and a nail and then explain how to hammer.  No, I would do that, but then I would also give you a hammer and some nails and tell you to practice hammering nails and then work with you on improving your hammering.  The same concept applies to learning economics.  The best way to learn economics is to do economics, not read about economic findings.  It is one thing to see the mountain.  It is quite another to climb the mountain.  The map is not the journey.

The main tool for understanding and applying economics at this level is drawing and manipulating graphs.  Students need to practice – a lot – drawing, manipulating, and interpreting graphs, especially if they have not had much economics in the past.  Consequently, I have found the most effective way to teach the material and graphs is to use what is effectively a fancy overhead projector and draw the graphs from the book for the students in class and then manipulate them in class and discuss what the analysis means in the process.  The best students, and the ones that get the most out of the class, practice drawing the graphs in class and take interpretation notes.  As explained in the book, graphs are just another language for communicating ideas and so there is almost an infinity number of ideas that can be presented graphically once the student understands the language (i.e., graphical analysis).  So I usually first explain how to draw (and draw) the graphs from the book but then quickly expand them to cover many other issues, demonstrating how they can be used to explore many other questions.  The book pretty much explains how to do this process as well.

Please email me, George Davis, or Elena Serrano if you have any questions.

George Davis