Robert John Baulch

School: The Business School
Department: Economics & Finance
Position: Interim Deputy Dean, Research & Innovation
Location: RMIT Saigon South
ORCID: 0000-0003-1977-5802

Baulch is currently Professor of Economics in the Business School, RMIT University Vietnam (South Saigon Campus). His background is as an agricultural and development economist, and I have worked in 24 countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.He was trained at the universities of Oxford (undergrad), Sussex (masters) and Stanford (doctorate) and has worked for the Asian Development Bank, International Food Policy Research Institute, Natural Resources, Institute, University of Sussex (UK), Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences and World Bank, as well as RMIT Vietnam. He has also been a manager for a community interest company and ran my own successful economic consultancy company

  • PhD (Stanford)
  • MA (Sussex)
  • BA Hons (Oxford)
  • GradCert(RMIT) 
  • Food price analysis 
  • Poverty dynamics
  • Sustainable urban development
  • Applied econometrics
  • Agricultural marketing
  • Aid
  • Human development,
  • Social protection
  • Sustainable urban development

29 refereed journal articles, 3 edited books, 9 book chapters and numerous reports and working papers since 1995. Key publications since 2016 include

  • 2022. Industry 4.0 in Viet Nam: Strengthening Victoria’s Connections with Southeast Asia─Opportunities for Australian Business (RMIT University Australia-with Vinh Thai and others).
  • 2021 ‘Malawi’s slowly changing employment landscape and its implications for youth’, Development Southern Africa 38 (with Todd Benson, Yanjanani Lifeo and Priscilla Mkwenta)
  • 2021  ‘Short-term impacts of COVID-19 on the Malawian economy, 2020-21: A SAM multiplier modelling analysis’. MaSSP Working Paper 37, International Food Policy Research Institute (with Rosemary Botha and Karl Pauw’) 
  • 2020 ‘A sentiment analysis of the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak in the media and social media; A design science approach’ in Wickramansinghe, N. (ed.) Handbook of Research on Optimizing Health Care Management Techniques, Hershey, PA: IGI Global (with Blooma John and Nilmini Wickramasinghe)
  • 2019 ‘Change and rigidity in employment patterns in Malawi’ in Mueller, V. and Thurlow, J. (eds.) Youth and Jobs in Rural Africa, New York: Oxford University Press (with Todd Benson and Alvina Erman)
  • 2019 ‘Explaining catch-up in human development: a political economy analysis of the Philippines and Vietnam since 1986’, Asian Development Perspectives 10(1): 1-18
  • 2018 ‘Using sparse categorical principal components analysis to estimate asset indices: a new method with application to south-east Asia’, Review of Development Economics 23(May): 640-663 (with Giovanni Merola)
  • 2018 ‘Constraints to the uptake of solar home systems in Ho Chi Minh City and some proposals for  improvement,  Renewable Energy 118: 245-256  (with Duong Do Thuy and Thai-Ha Le)
  • 2018 ‘Commodity exchanges and warehouse receipt systems in Malawi: current status  and implications for the development of structured markets’, MASSP Working Paper 25, International Food Policy Research Institute  (with Adam Gross, Justice Chimgonda Nkhoma and Chikumbutso Mtemwa),
  • 2017  ‘Lean-season food transfers, children’s diets and household food security: Evidence from a quasi-experiment in Malawi, Journal of Nutrition 145(5) 869-878 (with Aulo Gelli and others)
  • 2016   ‘The poverty focus of Swedish bilateral aid: a comparative analysis’, European Journal of Development Research 28(5): 758-775

Principal/Co-principal investigator for more than 15 major research grants since 1995. Grants since 2016 include:

  • USAID Strengthening Evidence Based Agricultural Policy. 2016-17
  • USAID Agricultural Policy and Program Support to Government of Malawi, 2017-2021
  • DFID/FCDO, Building Resilience and Adapting to Climate Change  2018-2020
  • European Union Commission Monitoring Farmgate and Retail Market Prices for Legume, Roots & Tubers and Other Cereals, 2018-2022
  • Government of Flanders Agricultural and Food Policy Research and Advisory Services to  Malawi, 2020-2022


3 completed PhD/DPhil supervisions plus 1 ongoing

  • Merit Awards, International Food Policy Research Institute, 2019-21
  • Visiting Fellow, Kellogg Institute for International Studies, University of Notre Dame, Fall semester, 2015
  • Two DFID-ESRC Development Research Awards, 2006 and 2008
  • Award for Professional Excellence, World Bank 2000; Outstanding Journal Article, American Agricultural Economics Association, 1997
  • Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation, American Agricultural Economics Association, 1994
  • Prize Fellowship, Stanford University, 1990-93
  • Fellow, Overseas Development Institute,1985-1987.
  • Postgraduate Studentship, UK Economic and Social Research Council, 1984-85.


Member of Agricultural and Economics Association and Development Studies Association. 

2016-2021: Leader and Senior Research Fellow, Malawi Strategy Support Program, International Food Policy Research Institute, Lilongwe, Malawi

  • 2021-date: Professor of Economics and interim Deputy Dean (Research & Innovation), The Business School, RMIT University, Vietnam
  • 2016-2021: Leader and Senior Research Fellow, Malawi Strategy Support Program, International Food Policy Research Institute, Lilongwe, Malawi
  • 2012-2016: Associate Professor (Economics), Centre of Commerce and Management, RMIT University.
  • 2011-2012: Faculty Member, School of Business and Economics, Tan Tao University, Vietnam
  • 2008-2011: Lead Economist, Prosperity Initiative, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • 2001-2008: Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, U.K.
  • 1999-2001: Quantitative Poverty Specialist, World Bank Resident Mission, Vietnam 
  • 1995-1999: Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, U.K.
  • 1993: Affiliate Research Scholar, International Rice Research Institute, Los Banos, Philippines
  • 1991: Consultant, Operations and Evaluation Division, World Bank, Washington D.C., U.S.A.
  • 1987-1990: Senior Research Officer, Economic & Statistics Department, Natural Resources Institute, U.K.
  • 1985-1987: ODI Fellow, Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea