Faculty Profile

Economics Faculty

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

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.

Outside the classroom, students are engaged by the "Current Issues in Economics" series. In this series, faculty members discuss different views on issues such as minimum wage, outsourcing, immigration, Wal-Mart, and the presidential candidates' economic platforms.

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 occupational switching.

Among the courses I teach at Saint Michael's is a class on the economics of education, which is my research field. I use my research to bring more depth and real-world experience to the course.

I published the article, "Effects of school choice on the margin: The cream is already skimmed" in Economics of Education Review (July 2008). I was awarded a $3,000 Junior Faculty Development Research Grant for the projects entitled, "Do Smaller Schools Induce Greater Parental Involvement?" and "When Schools Are Too Good" (June 2007).

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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