Nisha Malhotra

Senior Instructor (Tenured) (on leave)

My Role As A Teacher

I teach a number of undergraduate courses at UBC including Introductory Microeconomics, International Trade, Population, Gender and Global Health.

For the Introductory Microeconomics course (offered in 2014) I adapted a blended learning approach, where a percentage (roughly 10%) of traditional lecture style classes were substituted with online learning and reviewing of the material. This increased the class time for problem solving and application of the learned concepts.

I am also a strong advocate of using social media and new technologies in the teaching field. My YouTube education channel focuses on economics and serves as a resource for students at UBC and beyond.

Please click on paper titles for abstracts and full text downloads.

(Link to Google Scholar Profile)


Aim: To examine the role of maternal diet in determining low birth weight (LBW) in Indian infants.

Methods: Data from the National Family Health Survey (2005–06) were used. Multivariate regression analysis was used to analyse the effect of maternal diet on infant birth weight.

Results: Infants whose mothers consumed milk and curd daily [odds ratio (OR), 1.17; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.06–1.29]; fruits daily (OR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.07–1.36) or weekly (OR, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.02–1.24) had higher odds of not having a low birth weight baby. The daily consumption of pulses and beans (OR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.02–1.36) increased the odds while weekly consumption of fish (OR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.70–0.89) decreased the odds of not having a LBW infant. Intake of iron–folic acid supplements during pregnancy increased birth weight by 6.46 g per month.
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In this paper we examine the barriers and the facilitating factors for seeking treatment for childhood diarrhoea, and to determine the main causes for delay in seeking treatment. Data from Indian Demographic and Health survey 2005-06 (NFHS-III) were used. Mothers were asked whether i) their children (<5-years) had suffered from diarrhoea during the 2 weeks preceding the survey, ii) if treatment was sought, and iii) number of days waited to seek treatment after the diarrhoea had started. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to find the determinants of seeking treatment at the health facility and the factors responsible for the 'delay' in seeking advice/treatment.
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Why does child malnutrition persist in India? This column argues that the reason is not limited to poverty or inadequate access to food; but that a lack of knowledge about healthy nutrition plays a vital role.

Nutrition advice on feeding infants and children provided by health professionals is shown to be strongly correlated with improved feeding practices across all age groups. If information about feeding children is the key obstacle to improving nutrition, then there is hope; it will be easier to resolve the problem of scarce information than to resolve the problem of acute poverty.

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Why does child malnutrition persist in India? Amongst the fastest growing economies over the last two decades, India has struggled to make progress in the health of its children. In this article the author argues that the reason malnutrition persists is not limited to poverty or inadequate access to food; but that a lack of nutritional knowledge amongst families plays a very important role.

Scientific Abstract Objective: Despite a rapidly growing economy and rising income levels in India, improvements in child malnutrition have lagged. Data from the most recent National Family Health Survey reveal that the infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices recommended by the WHO and the Indian Government, including the timely introduction of solid food, are not being followed by a majority of mothers in India. It is puzzling that even among rich households children are not being fed adequately. The present study analyses the socio-economic factors that contribute to this phenomenon, including the role of nutritional information.

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The objective of this paper is to identify demographic, social and behavioural risk factors for HIV infection among men in Zambia. In particular, the role of alcohol, condom use, and number of sex partners is highlighted as being significant in the prevalence of HIV. Multivariate Logistic Regressions were used to analyse the latest cross-sectional population-based demographic health survey for Zambia (2007). The survey included socio-economic variables and HIV serostatus for consenting men (N = 4,434). Risk for HIV was positively related to the wealth status. Men who considered themselves to be at high risk for HIV-positive were most likely to be HIV-positive. Respondents who, along with their sexual partner, were drunk during the last three times they had sexual intercourse, were more likely to be HIV-positive (Adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 1.60; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.00-2.56). Men with more than two sexual life partners and inconsistent condom use had a higher risk for being HIV-positive (OR: 1.89; 95% CI: 1.45-2.46 and OR: 1.49; 95% CI: 1.10-2.02, respectively). HIV prevention programs in Zambia should focus even more on these behavioural risk factors.

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This paper sets out a simple non-cooperative model of resource allocation within the household in developing countries that incorporates domestic violence as an instrument for enhancing bargaining power. We demonstrate that the extent of domestic violence faced by women is not necessarily declining in their reservation utilities, nor necessarily increasing in their spouses’. Using the National Family Health Survey data of India for 1998-99, we isolate the e¤ect of domestic violence on female autonomy, taking into account the possible two-way causality through the choice of appropriate instruments. We provide some evidence for the evolutionary theory of domestic violence, which argues that such violence stems from the jealousy caused by paternity uncertainty in our evolutionary past. The findings have strong policy implications suggesting that it will take more than an improvement in women's employment options to address the problem of spousal violence.

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In this article, we analyze whether the Softwood Lumber Agreement between the United States and Canada imposed significant economic costs on industries that use softwood lumber in the United States. To ascertain this impact, we use an event study. Our event study analyzes variations in the stock prices of lumber-using firms listed at the major stock markets in the United States. We find that the news of events leading to the Softwood Lumber Agreement had significant negative impacts on the stock prices of industries using softwood lumber. The average reduction of stock prices for our sample of firms was approximately 5.42% over all the events considered. Article first published online: 20 OCT 2009

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The main aim is to question why we don't see more firms petitioning for import relief. It is well accepted that petitioning itself can restrain imports, lead to higher prices and hence higher profits (in the short run). What prevents more firms from filing for protection? It may be that petitioning reflects cost inefficiency on the part of the petitioning firm, and concerns about revealing this information might act as a deterrent for firms to come forward with their complaints. However, in a declining industry where a large number of firms are contemplating exit, petitioning could be a signal that the firm expects to remain in the market for the near future. The signaling hypothesis is tested by comparing the stock market response of an antidumping petition for petitioning firms and non-petitioning firms producing the same product.

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In this article we highlight the anticompetitive nature of antidumping (AD) legislation. Antidumping legislation was set up to protect domestic firms from predatory pricing by foreign firms. We argue that protecting highly concentrated industries drastically reduces competition at home. In cases where the industry consists only of one or two firms, import restriction may breed monopolies at the expense of domestic consumers. This article looks at cases filed by the agriculture sector, and at the market concentration of industries in this sector, to illustrate the above possibility. We study the case of fresh tomatoes in detail to further demonstrate the anticompetitive nature of AD legislation. We show the effect of AD legislation on imports, as well as the change in the Lerner index in the fresh tomato industry.

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In this paper we analyze whether U.S. Anti-Dumping (AD) duties in the agricultural sector are effective in restricting trade. More specifically, does imposition of an antidumping duty restrict imports of the named commodity or is there a diversion in the supply of imports from countries named in the petition to countries not named in the antidumping petition? We find that AD duties have had a significant impact on the imports of agricultural commodities from the countries named in the petition. However, our results also indicate that, unlike the manufacturing sector in the US, there was little trade diversion towards countries not named in the AD petition. Our results indicate that AD is a plausible protectionist policy in the Agriculture sector.

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In order to develop effective policies and programs that reduce the number of smokers a necessary first step is to understand the determinants of starting to smoke. In this paper, we present a split-sample duration model of the decision to start smoking. We use data from the 2002 Canadian tobacco use monitoring survey. The hazard rate of starting smoking peaks sharply at age 15 and quickly declines thereafter. Our parametric estimates provide evidence that gender, education, marital status and household size are important determinants of the smoking habit. We also find that higher cigarettes prices have an impact on picking up the habit, but not on the initiation age. Thus, the results highlight the importance of cigarette taxes in influencing the likelihood of smoking.

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We estimate the degree of trade diversion from provinces named under the Softwood Lumber Agreement(SLA) to provinces not named. Our regression results indicate that the SLA had a significant impact on the exports of non-named SLA provinces. Controlling for other factors, the SLA by itself would have increased exports from these provinces four times. The corresponding effect for the provinces named in the SLA is estimated at minus 5 percent. This decrease is not, however, statistically significant.

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In this paper we compare the use of antidumping (AD) measures in the agriculture sector by Canada and the United States, the two major users of antidumping procedures.1 We consider both the direct and indirect effects of the AD measure, and consider what factors make an AD measure more or less successful at impeding trade and when it is more likely to cause trade diversion. Specifically, we ask when the imposition of an antidumping duty restricts imports of the targeted commodity and when is there a deflection in the supply of imports from countries named in the petition to countries not named in the antidumping petition? We compare these results for that of the US and draw conclusions about the determinants of such differences, like the exchange rate, GDP and distance to partner countries. We use a modified version of the gravity model, as used in the earlier literature (Prusa (2001)) for our analysis. We find that affirmative AD cases caused trade diversion from non-named countries for agricultural products in general, but that trade diversion was particularly strong for perishable products. We also find that the more concentrated the imports, the more restrictive the AD duties.

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As part of UBC’s initiative to facilitate community-based learning, this course gave students the option of participating in a research project that helps a non-profit organization gain better understanding of a specific issue. Whereas most undergraduate economic curricula focus on theory or data analysis, Community-Based Research (CBR) lets students use their theoretical knowledge and analytical skills to help people in their own community.

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I use the Indian National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) data collected in 2006 to study the determinants of a mother's decision to breastfeed her child, and social factors that influence the duration of breastfeeding. More specifically, I examine the influence of family structure and gender of the child on mother's choice to either breastfeed exclusively, supplement breast milk or not to breastfeed her child. I do not find any gender-bias in the choice to breastfeed an infant- more than 95% of the children in the sample are breastfed. Duration of family structure is surprisingly a strong determinant of duration of breastfeeding, women living in joint family breastfeed for significantly shorter duration.
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Winter 2018

ECON101 Principles of Microeconomics Sections

Elements of theory and of Canadian policy and institutions concerning the economics of markets and market behaviour, prices and costs, exchange and trade, competition and monopoly, distribution of income.

Winter 2018

ECON355 Introduction to International Trade Sections

The determinants of trade patterns, trade policy, tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, political economy of protectionism, bilateral and multilateral trade disputes, trade liberalization, trade and development. Credit may be obtained for only one of ECON 355 and 455.

Winter 2018

ECON457 Seminar in International Economic Relations Sections

Selected topics focusing upon various issues arising in international economic relations. Open only to fourth-year students in the Major program in International Relations.

Winter 2018

ECON490 Seminar in Applied Economics Sections

Selected problems and issues in the theory and practice of Economics. Each section will focus on a different field. Restricted to Economics Majors, and Combined Majors in Economics their final academic session.


Aim: A discussion of course design for a fourth-year Research Seminar: To
research social issues, students must have an understanding of human behavior, culture, and
socioeconomic foundations. Peer discussions, which often generate positive externalities, can lead to a greater understanding of the costs and benefits of various policies and behaviors (Van Den Berg, Admiraal, & Pilot, 2006). While the interaction between the professor and students is mostly at the individual level, peer discussions are at the individual level, in small group settings, or in large groups.
The class also has a Facebook page for students from previous semesters and from the current sessions, to interact and offer assistance. Use of social media that students have previously been using and accustomed to provides a cost and free effective medium for discussion and interaction (Lockyer, Dawson, & Heathcote, 2010). I visit the Facebook page weekly to answer questions, post new research articles, and highlight events that might be helpful.
Given a constraint on time, a choice had to be made between allocating time to in-class lectures, and individual meetings with the students. My past experience reveals that unless students are required to use the learned material within a short span of time - lectures are quickly forgotten or at times ignored. This thought is also reinforced by the viewing statistics from my YouTube channel: YouTube STATA tutorials were viewed only 1 to 5 days prior to proposals due dates regardless of when these videos were posted or announced in class. Therefore, YouTube videos of required material were posted (STATA and Econometrics), which allowed students to view the lectures whenever they needed the material, and this allowed me to allocate a greater number of office hours dealing with individual questions.
Another decision I struggled with was the assessment of class participation/discussion: how to grade students anxious about public speaking or who are in general quieter and shy. Having a place to post comments and participate without the public eye - should be helpful and encourage involvement from the shy student (Larson, B.E. & Keiper, T.A., 2002). Thus, student-led interaction on the class Facebook page has been assigned a grade, resolving to some extent my concern with assessing participation.
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INTRODUCTION document my experience with using social media actively in my classroom
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My goal for adapting Blended Learning is to enhance my students' educational experience by incorporating more active learning in the classroom. A percentage (roughly 15%) of traditional lecture style classes are substituted with online learning and reviewing of the material. This increases class time for problem-solving and the classroom becomes more students centered.

For Students 

The following small video was prepared by UBC leap, Chapman learning commons, where a few undergraduates interviewed me about the course requirements. This video might also answer some of your concerns about taking a course which is a little different from traditional lectures.

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My approach to Blended learning

Guiding students in solving a problem is more conducive to learning than a lecture providing the answer. I free up class time by having students review basic concepts before class. They do this by watching the video tutorials I create.  While I still teach these concepts in class, I do not have to review them before subsequent lectures and when they have to be revisited for different sections. This allows me to engage students in problem-solving during lecture time. While we solve problems or apply concepts together I help students assimilate the new information and make the right connections with what they already know. I started using this approach in 2009 with only a few lectures and over time have developed video tutorials that have now culminated in this course with blended learning.




Follow me on twitter (Topics Tweeted-Global Health).

Click here to go to my Twitter profile. 


You Tube Channel