The desire for world peace, elimination of hunger, and omnipresent opulence are ubiquitous. No one purposefully generates unemployment or causes famine. However, while our hopes and goals for public policy are almost universal, there is no agreement on the methods. I believe the role of the economist is to continuously elucidate the relationship between the methods and the outcomes of public policy and to reveal the unintended consequences of compassionate policies. This is the task that motivates my research projects. I view myself primarily as a microeconomist; I am interested in the applied microeconomics of health care as well as the public sector. I also seek to expand the standard categories of utility, cost, and price to all exchanges, regardless of whether they originate in the market or in the political environment, following the Public Choice tradition. This interest complements my research on institutional change, which I approach from the evolutionary perspective.
I am a Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics at Beloit College. My main responsibility here is to teach Microeconomic Theory, a challenging and technical course, designed to be a rite of passage into the economics major. In the Spring of 2013, I also taught Principles of Economics and Health Economics. This coming Spring, I will teach Economic Development, Comparative Health Economics, and again, Microeconomic Theory.
My time at Beloit College has inspired me to research economic pedagogy. I have discovered that using mass media to illustrate economic principles is a great way of encouraging undergraduates to study economics. My favorite in this regard is the popular series of books about the underage wizard, Harry Potter. In the now forthcoming paper, co-authored with a fellow George Mason student Darwyyn Deyo, I demonstrate the pedagogical potential of the series by providing illustrations of trade-offs and opportunity costs, marginal thinking, the power of incentives, and the benefits of trade and commerce. Currently, I am collaborating on a paper on using AMC’s Mad Men to provide students with a more intuitive understanding of how the standard of living has changed in the United States in the last five decades.