Wen You




Ph.D., Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M, 2005
B.A., International Trade, Nankai University, 2000


I am a Faculty of both Agricultural and Applied Economics and Health Sciences, invested in multidisciplinary scientific research across campus and with university partners. The focus of my program has been to understand the economic causes of health disparities through the creative integration of economics and other disciplines. The current primary focus is on the obesity epidemic that is placing a significant medical burden on society and affecting the quality of life of people in Virginia and throughout the world.


My research program revolves around three topics that are crucial for health quality improvement:

a) choices within social and physical environment;

b) incentives for behavior changes; and

c) evaluations of health policies and programs.

These topics are interrelated in that individual lifestyle choices within the environment (both social and physical) are the channels through which health policies and programs take effect. To better improve policy and program effectiveness, it is essential to know how people react to different incentives and how the reactions result in individual choices. The common thread running through these topics is the role of choice in the context of social and physical environment.

Courses Taught

  • AAEC/ECON 5946 - Microeconometrics
  • AAEC/ECON 5984 - Panel Data Econometrics
  • AAEC 6224 - Food and Health Macroeconomics

Courses Previously Taught

  • AAEC/STAT 4804 - Elementary Econometrics

Professional Experience

  • Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech, June 2013 - Present
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech, 2007 - May 2013
  • Assistant Research Scientist, Department of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M, 2006


Michael P. O'Donnell Paper of the Year Award, American Journal of Health Promotion Papers, 2016

Gamma Sigma Delta Faculty Research Award, Virginia Tech, April 2013

Chair Kristen Capogrossi’s dissertation that received the Honorable Mention award in the Outstanding Dissertation in Social Sciences, Business, Education and Humanities category of the Graduate School, Virginia Tech, March 2013

Teacher of the Week, Virginia Tech Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER), October 2011  

Best Economic Paper Award, Agricultural & Applied Economic Association, Food Safety and Nutrition Section, July 2011

Outstanding Dissertation Award, Agricultural & Applied Economic Association, July 2006

Selected Publications (* denotes student co-author)

Yanliang Yang*, George C Davis, Wen 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, , ppy004, https://doi.org/10.1093/aepp/ppy004

You, W., Davis, G. C. “Estimating Dual Headed Time in Food Production with Implications for SNAP Benefit Adequacy.” Review of Economics of the Household, 2018, DOI 10.1007/s11150-018-9403-7.

Yang*, Y., Davis, G.C., You, W. “Measuring Food Expenditure Poverty in SNAP Populations: Some Extensions with An Application to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.” Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy (forthcoming in 2018).

Michaud, T., You, W., Wilson, K., Su, D., McGuire, T.J., Almeida, F.A., Bayer, A.L., Estabrooks, P.A. “Cost Effectiveness and Return on Investment of a Scalable Community Weight Loss Intervention.” Preventive Medicine (2017) 105:295-303.

Yenerall*, J., You, W., Hill, J. “Investigating the Spatial Dimension of Food Access.” Int J Environ Res Public Health. (Aug, 2017) 14(8). pii: E866. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14080866.

Sun*, Y., You, W., Almeida, F., Estabrooks, P., Davy, B. “The Effectiveness and Cost of Lifestyle Intervention including Nutrition Education for Diabetes Prevention:  A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2017) 117(3):404-421.

Estabrooks PA, You W, Hedrick VE*, Reinhold M*, Krzeski E*, Zoellner J.  “A Pragmatic Examination of Active and Passive Recruitment Methods in Improving Reach in Community Lifestyle Programs: The Talking Health Trial” International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (2017) 14:7. DOI 10.1186/s12966-017-0462-6.

Capogrossi*, K., and You, W. “Do School Nutrition Programs Influence Child Weight? A Treatment Effect Analysis” Health Economics (2017). 26:980-1000. DOI: 10.1002/hec.3378.

Zoellner, J., W. You, F. Almeida, KCA. Allen, S. Harden, R.E. Glasgow, L. Linnan, J. Hill, P. Estabrooks. “The Influence of Health Literacy on Reach, Retention, and Success in A Worksite Weight Loss Program”. American Journal of Health Promotion (Mar 2016) 30(4): 279-282. DOI: 10.1177/0890117116639558.

Zeng*, D, W. You, B. Mills, J. Alwang, M. Royster, R. Anson-Dwamena. “A Closer Look at the Rural-Urban Health Disparities: Insights from Four Major Diseases in the Commonwealth of Virginia” Social Science & Medicine 140(2015): 62-68. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.07.011.

Yuan*, Y., K. Boyle, W. You. “Sample Selection, Individual Heterogeneity and Regional Heterogeneity in Valuing Farmland Conservation Easements” Land Economics(2015) 91(4):627-649. doi: 10.3368/le.91.4.627.

Hashemi, A., W. You, K. Boyle, C. Parmeter, B. Kannien, P. Estabrooks. “Identifying Financial Incentive Designs to Enhance Participation in Weight Loss Programs.” Journal of Obesity and Weight Loss Therapy (2015). doi: 10.4172/2165-7904.1000247.

Almeida, F., W. You, S. Harden, K. Blackman, B. Davy, J. Hill, L. Linnan, S. Wall, J. Yenerall*, J. Zoellner, P. Estabrooks. “Effectiveness of a Worksite-based Weight Loss Randomized Controlled Trial: The WORKSITE Study.” Obesity (Feb, 2015). doi: 10.1002/oby.20899.

Harden, S.M., W. You, K., Blackman, F. Almeida, J. Hill, L. Linnan, P. Estabrooks. “Does Successful Weight Loss in an Internet-Based Worksite Weight Loss Program Improve Employee Presenteeism and Absenteeism?” Health Education & Behavior (2015). 42(6), 769-74. doi: 10.1177/1090198115578751.

Hill, J., W. You, J.M. Zoellner. “Disparities in Obesity among Rural and Urban Residents in A Health Disparate Region.” BMC Public Health 14(2014):1051. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-1051.

Davy, B.M., W. You, F. Almeida, S. Wall, S. Harden, D.L. Comber, P.A. Estabrooks. “Impact of Individual and Worksite Environmental Factors on Water and Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption Among Overweight Employees.” Preventing Chronic Disease 11(2014). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd11.130207.

Davis, G.C., and W. You. (senior authorship shared) “Estimates of Returns to Scale, Elasticity of Substitution, and the Thrifty Food Plan Meal Poverty Rate from A Direct Household Meal Production Function” Food Policy 43(2013):204-212.

Baral*, R., G.C. Davis, W. You. “National, Regional, and State-Level Estimates of Returns to Scale in the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.” Journal of Agricultural & Applied Economics 45(2013):203-216.

Capogrossi*, K., and You, W. “Academic Performance and Childhood Misnourishment:  A Quantile Approach.” Journal of Family and Economic Issues 34(2013):141-156. doi: 10.1007/s10834-012-9315-2.

You, W., P.D. Mitchell, and R. Nayga. “Improving Food Choices Among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Recipients.” Health Economics. 21(2012): 852-864. doi: 10.1002/hec.1758.

You, W., F.A. Almeida, J.M. Zoellner, J.L. Hill, C.A. Pinard*, K.C. Allen*, R.E. Glasgow, L.A. Linnan, and P.A. Estabrooks. “Who Participates in Internet-Based Worksite Weight Loss Programs?” BMC Public Health 11(2011):709. Open access at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/11/709.

Baral*, R., G.C. Davis, and W. You. “Consumption Time in Household Production: Implications for the Goods-Time Elasticity of Substitution.” Economics Letters 112(2011): 138-140.

You, W., and G.C. Davis. “Childhood overweight: Does quality of parental childcare time matter?” Journal of Family and Economic Issues 32(2011): 219-232.

Zoellner, J., W. You, C. Connell, R.L. Smith-Ray, K. Allen*, K.L. Tucker, B.M. Davy, and P.A. Estabrooks. “Health literacy is associated with Healthy Eating Index scores and sugar-sweetened beverage intake: Findings from the rural lower Mississippi Delta.” Journal of American Dietetic Association 111(2011):1012-1020. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2011.04.010.

Davis, G.C., and W. You. “Not enough money or not enough time to satisfy the Thrifty Food Plan? A cost difference approach for estimating a money–time threshold.”  Food Policy 36(2011): 101-107.

You, W., and G.C. Davis. “Household Food Expenditures, Parental Time Allocation, and Childhood Overweight: An Integrated Two-Stage Collective Model with an Empirical Application and Test.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics. 92(2010):859-872.

Davis, G.C., W. You. "The Thrifty Food Plan is not Thrifty when Labor Cost is Considered" Journal of Nutrition. 140(2010):854-857. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.119594.

Davis, G.C., and W. You. “The Time Cost of Food at Home: General and Food Stamp Participant Profiles.” Applied Economics. 42(2010):2537-2552.

You, W., G. Zhang*, B.M. Davy, A. Carlson, B.H. Lin. “Food Consumed Away from Home Can Be a Part of a Healthy and Affordable Diet.” Journal of Nutrition. 139(2009): 1994-1999. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.107615.


You, W. (May 2008). Time Well Spent: How Watching Time can Reduce the Chances of Having Overweight Children. VDM Verlag Dr. Muller. ISBN: 978-3-8364-3926-8.

Associate Professor Wen You headshot
  • 540-231-4083
  • wenyou@vt.edu
  • 250 Drillfield Dr.
    304 Hutcheson Hall
    Blacksburg, VA 24061