Faculty Profile

Patrick Walsh, PhD

Associate Professor of Economics

Ph.D. University of Michigan
B.A. Washington University in St. Louis

Areas of Expertise:

Economics of education; focusing on competition in education; sorting among schools; and peer externalities. Other topics include occupational choice and occupational switching.

Courses I Teach:

  • Economics of Health Care
  • Principles of Macroeconomics
  • Principles of Microeconomics
  • Public Finance
  • Money and Banking
  • Macroeconomic Theory

My Saint Michael's:

I chose to pursue a Ph.D. in economics so that I would have the opportunity to show students that economics is a powerful, interesting, and relevant way of understanding the world's problems.

Saint Michael's is a tight community where the individual doesn't get lost. As a young faculty member, I can have a much greater impact at Saint Michael's - both in and out of the classroom - than I can at a larger university.

The lights really come on when students see that economics offers a way to make sense of real-world issues. I think students gain a real sense of power in being able to cut to the core of an economic question.

Saint Michael's students are willing to have fun in their classes. While they are receptive to an in-class demonstration or exercise, these experiments can get some laughs, and yet they will ultimately stick in the students' minds better than a straight lecture.

My favorite class to teach is Principles of Microeconomics. My goal is to get students excited about economics during their first exposure to the subject. Even if they don't take any more classes in economics, I want them see how economics is a powerful, interesting, and relevant way to address today's problems.

The class sizes at Saint Michael's allow students to do more project-based work in my courses. Students in Public Finance design their own healthcare system, education system, and Social Security system - and then have to design the taxes to pay for it all.

I’ve taken the opportunity presented by digitial media to take my passion for Economics to the wider world.  I’ve created a YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/user/thateconguy/ that features short videos on a variety of subjects, including Minimum Wage, Free Trade, Taxes, Welfare, and Healthcare Reform.  Check it out if you’re interested in an example of the dynamic teaching at Saint Michael’s.

Outside the classroom, I’ve had the opportunity to supervise a number of students in summer research projects.  Under my supervision, they’ve posed a research question, gathered their own data, and used statistical methods to answer that question.  Students have studied the differences between U.S. and French healthcare systems, developed computer models of the economy, and examined the impact of funding on educational outcomes in New England.

My research interests are the economics of education, focusing on competition in education, sorting among schools, and peer externalities. Other topics include occupational choice and switching in the teaching profession, and whether parents use online sources of information about their children’s schools.

I have received a number of the college’s grants to support my own research, and to supervise student research.  These awards have resulted in a number of publications, including "Do Smaller Schools Induce Greater Parental Involvement?"

Life Off Campus:

Outside Saint Michael's I enjoy reading, kayaking (on wimpy flat rivers), hiking and camping, and movies.

Favorite Quote:

"If you want to hear God laugh, tell him about your plans." - Mother Theresa

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