Will Davis

  • Department of Agricultural Economics


Dr. Davis received his Ph.D. in economics from Georgia State University. He is a health economist with expertise in statistical data analysis, Bayesian modeling, nutrition assistance programs, domestic food security, and policy evaluation. His primary research focus is on the relationship between food policy, the food supply chain, and health outcomes. Dr. Davis’s modeling work includes research with the USDA creating food security measurement models. He has also built models of latent factors like county-level health, country-level human development, and unobserved location-specific suicide propensity using hierarchical Bayesian spatial factor analysis models.


On Modeling
Qiu, Q., Sung, J., Davis, W., and R. Tchernis “Using Spatial Factor Analysis to Measure Human Development", Journal of Development Economics (2018), doi: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2017.12.007.

Davis, W., Gordan, A. and R. Tchernis “Measuring the Spatial Distribution of County Health in the United States" (Under Review: Health Economics).

Davis, W., Gregory, C., and R. Tchernis “A Flexible Model of Food Security: Estimation and Implications for Prediction".

Davis, W., and J. Gibson “Keeping Up with the Joneses You Know: The Effect of External Consumption Valuation and Bequests in a Life Cycle Model with Heterogeneous Agents".

On Nutrition Assistance Policy Evaluation
Davis, W. “Should Kids Have Their School Lunch and Eat it Too? Estimating the Effect of Universal Free School Meals on Child Health".

Davis, W., and T. Musaddiq “Estimating the Effects of Subsidized School Meals on Child Health: Evidence from the Community Eligibility Provision in Georgia Schools" (Under Review: Southern Economic Journal).


Dr. Davis is currently planning several projects related to the effects of COVID-19 on outcomes of adult and child food security, health, and the behaviors of farmers and farm laborers. One project involves the study of COVID-19’s impact on the health, production habits, and social behaviors of farmers and farm laborers in the Southeast. In another project, Will plans to evaluate the effect of COVID-19, related local policy responses, and food supply chain interruptions on the utilization of pre-natal care and neonatal child health outcomes among pregnant mothers and infants in the state of Mississippi. Dr. Davis also has current projects focusing on the pandemic’s effects on household and child food security among disadvantaged households in the Southeast, including Native American communities in the state of Mississippi who are particularly susceptible to food insecurity and negative health outcomes.

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