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George Davis

Professor
George Davis
250 Drillfield Dr.
304 Hutcheson Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24060

George Davis has a joint appointment in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise.  His research generally covers food demand, health outcomes, econometrics, and methodology. Though he works on many issues related to food and nutrition, his main focus is on understanding the interaction of nutrition policies and time allocation in affecting nutrient intake and diet quality. To learn more about Professor Davis' work, click on the information below.

Expertise:

Education

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

M.S. Agricultural Economics, Clemson University, 1986

B.S. Agricultural Economics, Clemson University, 1983

Current Projects

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

Currently Teaching 

  • Ph.D. - Food and Health Microeconomics AAEC 6214
  • MS/BS - Food, Nutrition, and Health Economics AAEC 4814
  • MS - Contemporary Issues and Responses in Food Systems AAEC 5904

Previously Taught

  • Ph.D.
    • Food and Health Microeconomics AAEC 6214
    • Applied Econometric Methods AGEC 661 (Texas A&M)
    • Consumer Demand Analysis AGEC 635 (Texas A&M)
    • Research Methodology AGEC 520 (Texas A&M)
  • MS
    • Food, Nutrition, and Health Economics AAEC 4814 (Virginia Tech)
    • Applied Microeconomics AAEC 5026
  • BS 
    • Food, Nutrition, and Health Economics AAEC 4814 (Virginia Tech)
    • 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

    Best Paper Award in Food Safety and Nutrition for the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 2019, for article with Wen You entitled, “Estimating Dual Headed Time in Food Production with Implications for SNAP Benefit Adequacy.”  The Review of Economics of the Household.  Vol. 17. No.1 (2019):24-266.

    Best Paper Award in Food Safety and Nutrition for the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 2018, Honorable Mention, for article with Yanliang Yang and Wen You entitled, “Measuring Food Expenditure Poverty in SNAP Populations: Some Extensions with An Application to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.” Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy. Vol. 41. No.1 (2018):133-152.

    Quality of Communication Award from Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in 2017 for the book Food and Nutrition Economics: Fundamentals for Health Sciences

    Article of the Year Award from Western Agricultural Economics Association in 2015 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.

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

    Council on Food, Agricultural, and Resource Economics Blue Ribbon Panel in Consumer Concerns about Food, Health, and Safety. 2011 – 2013.

    Best Paper Award in Food Safety and Nutrition for the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 2010 for article with Wen You entitled, “Household Food Expenditures, Parental  Time Allocation, and Childhood Obesity: An Integrated Two-Stage Collective Model with an  Empirical Application and Test.”

    Scholar of the Week. Virginia Tech. February 7 – 14, 2011

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

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

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

    Excellence in Teaching at the Graduate Level Award.  Department of Agricultural Economics. Texas A&M University. 1996–97.

    Outstanding Faculty Member Under Ten Years Award.   Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Tennessee.  1995.

 

    You, Wen, George C. Davis, and Jinyang Yang. “Viewpoint: An Assessment of Recent SNAP Benefit Increases Allowing for Money and Time Variability.” Food Policy. Vol. 106. 2022.  102175.

    Davis, George C. “The American Rescue Plan Act Is a Great Start but More Increases in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits Are Likely Needed Due to Implicit Hidden Reductions” The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 151, Issue 8, August 2021, Pages 2099–2104

    Davis, George C. “The Many Ways COVID-19 Affects Households: Consumption, Time, and Health Outcomes.” Review of Economics of the Household 19, no. 2 (2021): 281-289.

    Houghtaling, B., Serrano, E., Chen, S., Kraak, V.I., Harden, S.M., Davis, G.C. and Misyak, S., 2021. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-Authorized Retailers’ Perceived Costs to Use Behavioral Economic Strategies to Encourage Healthy Product Sales. Ecology of Food and Nutrition, 60(2), pp.212-224.

    Davis, George C. “Convenient Economics: The Incorporation and Implications of Convenience in Market Equilibrium Analysis.” Applied Economics Teaching Resources. 2020. Vol. 2. No. 2226. 1209.

    Davis, George C., You W., and Yang, Y. “Are SNAP Benefits Adequate? A Geographical and Food Expenditure Decomposition.” Food Policy. Available online June 23, 2020.  

    O’Keefe, K*, Farris A, Serrano E, Davis GC, Frisard M. “School lunches are less expensive than home-packed lunches: a comparative cost study that includes time.” J Child Nutrition & Management. Vol. 44. No. 1: 1-13.

    Houghtaling B*, Serrano E, Kraak VI, Harden SM, Davis GC, Misyak S. Availability of Voluntary Commitements of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Authorized Retailers to Use Marketing-Mix and Choice-Architecture Strategies to Encourage Healthy Diet.”  Public Health Nutrition. Vol. 23. No.10: 1745-1753.

    Shi, R.*, Meacham S, Davis GC, You W, Sun Y, and Goessl. “Factors Influencing High Respiratory Mortality in Coal mining Counties: A Repeated Cross-Sectional Analysis.”  BMC Public Health. Vol. 19. No. 1. Article number. 1484. 2019.

    Houghtaling B*, Serrano E, Kraak VI, Harden SM, Davis GC, Misyak S. “A Systematic Review of Factors that Influence Food Store Owner and Manager Decision Making and ability/Willingness to Use Choice Architecture and Marketing Mix Strategies to Encourage Healthy Consumer Purchases in the United States, 2005-2017.” Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. Vol. 16. No. 1 (2019). 

    Houghtaling, B*, Elena Serrano, Liza Dobson, Vivica I. Kraak, Samantha M. Harden, George C. Davis, and Sarah Misyak. “Perceptions of Rural SNAP-Authorized Food Store Owners and Managers About Healthy Product Availability.” J Nutr Education Behav (2019). 

    Houghtaling B*, Serrano E, Dobson L, Chen S, Kraak VI, Harden SM, Davis GC, Misyak S. “Rural independent and corporate SNAP-authorized food store owners’ and managers’ perceived feasibility to implement marketing-mix and choice-architecture strategies to encourage healthy product purchasing by SNAP consumers.” Translational Behavioral Medicine. Vol. 9, No. 5. October (2019):888-98.

    Grebitus, Carola and George C. Davis. “Does the New Nutrition Facts Panel Help Compensate for Low Numeracy Skills? An Eye-Tracking Analysis.”  Agricultural Economics. Vol. 50. No. 3. (2019): 249-58

    You, Wen and George C. Davis. “Estimating Dual Headed Time in Food Production with Implications for SNAP Benefit Adequacy.”  The Review of Economics of the Household.  Vol. 17. No.1 (2019):249-266. 

    Yang, Yanliang*, G.C. Davis, and W. You. “Measuring Food Expenditure Poverty in SNAP Populations: Some Extensions with An Application to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act”  Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy. Vol. 41. No.1 (2018):133-152. 

    Davis, George C., R. Baral*, T. Strayer* and E. Serrano. “Using Pre- and Post-Survey Instruments in Interventions: Determining the Random Response Benchmark and Its Implications for Measuring Effectiveness.”  Public Health Nutrition. Vol. 21. No. 6 (2018): 1043-1047.

    Grebitus, C. and G. C. Davis. “Change is Good!? Analyzing the Relationship Between Attention and Nutrition Facts Panel Modifications.”  Food Policy.  Vol. 73. (Dec. 2017): 119-130.

* indicates graduate student

Food and Nutrition Economics

Welcome Intrepid Scholar,

This webpage contains supplementary material associated with the 2016 Oxford University Press book Food and Nutrition Economics: Fundamentals for Health Sciences winner of the 2017 AAEA Quality of Communication Award. This page currently has two items: (i) question bank and (ii) math review document.  Below is a little description of each.  All files will be in a WORD format so they can easily be copied, saved, and altered to your desires.

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

Why No Power Points?

After teaching this course for a decade, I am 98.32% confident J that the least effective way to teach the material is “power point flipping.” 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.  Students who approach it as memorizing a list of facts do not do well.   

The best way to learn how to use a tool is to use the tool, not have someone show you the tool and 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.  I do not just show them a graph, but I actually draw the graph, explaining why the graph is drawn a certain way as it is being drawn.  The main concept, graph, and or math, is then applied and extended through a real world example that we as a class analyze together.

So for example, if I am going over the analytics of convenience and time, the students are expected to have read the chapter (Chapter 6) and I will briefly go over the main concepts drawing the main graphs.  After this, we will spend most of the class applying the concepts to real world examples such as

Q. Suppose you have a nutrition-counseling client who was assigned to a new job site that is 20 minutes further away than the current job site.  What do you expect this to do to their diet quality given what we know about food away from home versus food at home? (Analysis location: Chapter 6: Convenience and Time)

Thus, a Socratic or “flipped” teaching style works well once the foundations are understood and demonstrated. The best students, and the ones that get the most out of the class, practice drawing the graphs in class and take interpretation notes.  

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