Research Interests

My primary line of research investigates the roles of values, beliefs and preferences in economic, political and social outcomes.  My work in this area considers the roles of language and climate in cultural development, and the role of individualism as a determinant of institutional quality, social policy formation, and economic development.  My work on happiness is primarily concerned with how happiness is influenced by social comparisons, with papers on social status, solidarity, and tunnel effects.

I have been fortunate to have worked with a variety of talented coauthors, including most recently my colleagues M. Fuat Sener and Stephen Schmidt at Union College, Anne Owen, Stephen Wu and Julio Videras of Hamilton College, and Mark Hopkins of Moody’s Analytics.

I have an abiding interest in undergraduate research and have coauthored a number of papers with my students, including Allison Frederick ’10, Jack Mara ’10, Matthew Knauss ’11, Emily LaCroix ’11, Faragis Abdurazokzoda ’14, and Megan Reynolds ’16.


Associate Editor, Princeton Encyclopedia of the World Economy, 2 volumes, edited with R. S. Rajan, K. A. Reinert, and A. Glass, Princeton University Press, February 2009.

Economics of Culture

Working papers:

Pedagogy and Economics of Education

Social Status

Working papers:

  • “The Taste for Status in International Comparison,” with Stephen Wu, in preparation.

Institutions and Economic Growth

Working papers:

  • “Is Justice Blind?  Evidence from Federal Corruption Convictions,” with KR White, in process.
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