Bapu Vaitla

Doctoral Candidate

  • PhD, International Relations, The Fletcher School, Tufts University (expected)
  • BA, Nature and Culture, University of California-Davis
  • MS, International Agricultural Development, University of California-Davis


Bapu Vaitla is currently conducting 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 analyzes how “good policy change” – that is, policy change that succeeds in reducing child undernutrition – happens in a world where children have no political voice. Along with his doctoral studies, Bapu currently works for the Feinstein Center at Tufts University, primarily on a household panel study looking at livelihoods change in Tigray, Ethiopia. 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.

Curriculum Vitae - Bapu Vaitla

Areas of Expertise
  • Political Economy, International
  • Nutrition and Health
  • Agricultural and Rural Development

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)

Fields of Study
  • Development Economics
  • Human Security

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

Email Address