Book by economics professor to help teach statistical methods in food policy

Gaj's book

A new book by Dr.Shailendra Gajanan, professor of economics, will help students and practitioners perform statistical analyses in evaluating poverty and nutrition. 

            The book, “Food Security, Poverty and Nutrition Policy Analysis: Statistical Methods and Applications,” is a second edition. The original volume focused on Africa and was written by Prabuddha Sanyal and Suresh C. Babu, who is on the senior research staff of the International Food Policy Research Institute.

            The new version, Gajanan said, has two-thirds more text and two new chapters. Although the original was published only five years ago in 2009, Gajanan said that rapid changes in the field required including large amounts of new research and incorporating hands-on examples and case studies using the statistical software Stata, which is used by most large policy-makers, such as the World Bank and United Nations.

            Gajanan said he added large amounts of information about Latin America, Asia and food insecurity, and obesity in the United States. He also added new research and case studies about the effect of educating women, using corn and other foods to produce biofuels, and the effects of the 2008 global economic crisis.

            Gajanan said that although the statistical analyses are designed for graduate students and those working in the field, the background and case studies used are appropriate for undergraduates.

            Gajanan’s successful completion of the second edition earned him a second book contract with the same publisher for a book on economics and nutrition, which he will begin this summer with an eye on publishing it next summer.

            In addition, this summer, Gajanan will travel to his native Chennai (Madras) region of India to work with graduate students from the University of Madras to design a study to measure indoor air pollution caused by cooking fires in Indian households. He said the work will examine topics such as health issues, deforestation, the amount of work days lost and how to give people incentive to use healthier cooking methods.

            In the past, he has worked with similar teams of graduate students from the University of Madras to study the disease chikungunya. This fall, he will teach a special topics class at Pitt-Bradford in Global Hunger.