I plan to research programs and policies that could have long-term effects, such as education laws.
POSITION: Assistant Professor, Tenure Stream
ACADEMIC UNIT: Economics
PLACE OF BIRTH: Washington, DC
JOINED UTM FACULTY: 2018
“I plan to research programs and policies that could have long-term effects, such as education laws.”
After earning an undergraduate degree in math and physics and then working at an economic “think tank,” it made “perfect sense” to move into graduate studies in economics, says David J. Price, an assistant professor of economics.
“I did a lot of political activities as an undergraduate and I wanted to do work that would really affect people and make their lives better,” he says. At the think tank, he studied the recent recession and other economic topics. “I discovered economic research, and found that it provided the perfect way to use my quantitative and analytic skills to help improve peoples’ lives.”
As a labour economist, he studies poverty and inequality, investigating their causes and potential solutions. Some of his research explores how firms interact with employees and how that can result in income differentials. He also examines various economic policy interventions and the way they affect the lives of children and adults over the long term.
For example, Price studied the long-term effects of a 1970s U.S. cash assistance program to determine if its guaranteed income helped children and their parents succeed. The program, which gave people more money if they didn’t work, did not have a significant effect on the success of children in those families. The program, he discovered, encouraged people to work less which, in turn, resulted in skills that deteriorated and a loss of human productivity.
“My interpretation is that the design of the program may have been flawed,” Price says. “I plan to research other programs and policies that could have long-term effects, such as education laws.”
Price also enjoys the classroom portion of his position and is currently teaching a third-year econometrics class.
“It’s a lot of fun, and gratifying to be able to teach students how economics works, and how they can use that knowledge to understand issues that affect peoples’ lives,” he says.
1.Firming Up Inequality (with Jae Song, Fatih Guvenen, Nicholas Bloom, and Till von Wachter), Accepted,Quarterly Journal of Economics