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Chen Zhen

Research Economist, Food and Nutrition Policy Research

Chen Zhen is a research economist in the Food and Nutrition Policy Research program. Dr. Zhen specializes in food demand and price analysis, applied microeconometrics, and the economics of obesity and nutrition. His current research interest and expertise include merging multiple large-scale datasets to conduct sophisticated econometric analyses of food and nutrition policy research. He has been the principle investigator for several U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Health, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grants that examine the effects of food prices on consumer food choices, habits, nutrition, and obesity. The overarching goal of Dr. Zhen's research is to integrate advanced econometric methodology with good economic intuition and rich data sets to address complex nutrition and obesity policy questions.


PhD, Economics, North Carolina State University; MS, Applied Economics, Montana State University; BA, Economics, University of Colorado.

Latest Publications

Finkelstein, E.A., Strombotne, K.L., Zhen, C., & Epstein, L.H. (2014). Food prices and obesity: A review. Adv Nutr , 5 (6):818-821.
Zhen, C., Brissette, I.F., & Ruff, R.R. (2014). By ounce or by calorie: The differential effects of alternative sugar-sweetened beverage tax strategies. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 96 (4):1070-1083.
Zhen, C., Finkelstein, E.A., Nonnemaker, J.M., Karns, S.A., & Todd, J.E. (2014). Predicting the effects of sugar-sweetened beverage taxes on food and beverage demand in a large demand system. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 96 (1):1-25.
View all publications by Chen Zhen (18)


  • Nutrition and Obesity
  • Consumer Demand
  • Food Price Analysis