John E. Walker Department of Economics
Welcome to my website.
My CV is here.
I am an applied micro-economist working at the intersection of labor and development economics. My research investigates early childhood education, fertility, and labor force participation. I study how the market and policy environments of these decisions determine poverty and socio-economic inequality. The subjects of my current projects are poor women and their children, either in the United States or in developing countries. Development economics usually focuses on countries other than the United States. However, a significant fraction of American women and their children live in poverty. Two examples illustrated in the figure below are the following: 1) Arkansas' current maternal mortality rate is virtually identical to that of El Salvador, which is both the smallest country in Central America and one of the most disadvantaged countries in the region; and 2) Mississippi's current infant mortality rate is similar to that of Turkey, another developing country according to several standards. Commonalities in the development of children and the decision-making of poor individuals permit a cohesive agenda, studying individuals who live in different contexts but face similar constraints and scarcities.
A central component of my research is data analysis using modern micro-econometric tools. I teach the basis of that analysis at the PhD level in classes that combine theory, statistical software, and version control. I also host a reading group for advanced PhD students, where we learn about recent developments in causal inference and policy evaluation. At the undergraduate and master's level, I have enjoyed teaching upper-level classes on the economics of education.