Chen Zhen Graduate Coordinator & GA Athletic Association Professor in Food Choice, Obesity & Health Agricultural & Applied Economics
Portrait of Chen Zhen
Mailing Address Athens, CAES Campus 312-E Conner Hall, 147 Cedar St., Athens, GA 30602 0000
Shipping Address Athens, CAES Campus 312-E Conner Hall, 147 Cedar St., Athens, GA 30602 0000

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Portrait of Chen Zhen

I develop policy-relevant structural models of consumer food behavior estimated with large-scale household and retail scanner data. The overarching goal of my research is to promote the use of these high-dimensional, yet practical, models to predict outcomes of innovative nutrition policy proposals. For instance, I have shared the code and documentation for estimating the EASI demand system with truncated purchases, many goods, and endogenous prices (Zhen et al. 2014, 2023) with over three dozen interested researchers. I have published extensively on issues such as habit formation in beverages and tobacco, unintended consequences of sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes, and the efficiency of volume- vs. calorie-based SSB taxes. In the past sixteen years, as PI or senior Co-PI, I received approximately $7 million in grants and contracts from the US Department of Agriculture, US Food and Drug Administration, National Institute of Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and industry to support these research activities. My research on SSB taxes has been featured in New York Times, NPR, and other national and local media. My current research includes panel food price indexes, SSB restrictions in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, food demand in Sub-Saharan Africa, unhealthy food taxes and healthy food subsidies, shelf-nutrition labeling, and the healthy retail food environment.



  • Ph.D., Economics - North Carolina State University- Raleigh NC, 2006
  • M.S., Montana State University - Bozeman MT, 2001
  • B.A., University of Colorado - Denver CO, 1999

Research Interests

  • Food Choice and Obesity
  • Nutrition and health economics
  • Demand and price analysis
  • Tobacco Control¬†