Bapu Vaitla, 2012

Bapu Vaitla conducted his dissertation research on the political economy of chronic child undernutrition, with a particular focus on Brazil and India. Using the tools of development economics and comparative politics, his work analyzed how “good policy change” – that is, policy change that succeeds in reducing child undernutrition – happens in a world where children have no political voice. During his doctoral studies, Bapu worked for the Feinstein Center at Tufts University, primarily on a household panel study looking at livelihoods change in Tigray, Ethiopia. Bapu is currently on a Fulbright Grant to Brazil to continue his research on child undernutrition. Prior to joining Fletcher, Bapu was a food security policy researcher for the international non-governmental organization Action contre la Faim (ACF; Action Against Hunger) in Ethiopia, the UK, and India. His work with ACF focused primarily on the impact of social protection initiatives like Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Nets Program and India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme on household food security and seasonal child undernutrition. Bapu has also worked as a teaching assistant in development economics at the Fletcher School, as a monitoring and evaluation officer for the United Nations Children’s Fund in India, and as an economics researcher for the University of California-Davis. Bapu has an M.S. in International Agricultural Development (focus on agroecology and rural economics) and a B.A. in Nature and Culture (focus on human ecology) from the University of California-Davis. He was born in India, and grew up mostly in California. He speaks Spanish, Portuguese, and Hindi proficiently, and French and Telugu passably.

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PhD Dissertation

  • Dissertation: “How Good Change Happens: The Political Economy of Undernutrition”

Awards, Fellowships, and Grants

  • - Boren Fellowship, NSEP (2011-2012)
  • - Provost Fellowship, Tufts University (2008-2011)
  • - Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellowship, Congressional Hunger Center (2005-2007)
  • - Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, UC-Berkeley (2004)
  • - Herbert Kraft Fellowship, UC-Davis (2002-2003)
  • - Graduate Opportunity Fellowship, UC-Davis (2001-2002)
  • - Regents Scholarship, UC-Davis (1997-2000)

Previous Education

  • - MS from University of California-Davis
  • - BA from University of California-Davis

Fletcher Fields of Study

  • - Development Economics
  • - Human Security