Patrick Walsh Chair of Department of Economics, 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 digital media to take my passion for Economics to the wider world.  I’ve created a YouTube channel, 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.

Awards & Recognition

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

Recent News

Patrick Walsh of the economics faculty has frequently in the past taken to YouTube to help explain, in relatable terms for the general public, many of the economic headlines of the nation and the world, including for a time under the title of  “The Econ Guy.” A recent post he did this summer had the following introduction on YouTube: “Patrick Walsh, Professor of Economics, tackles the many questions surrounding the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about what to expect in the coming months and years as the pandemic affects the United States.”
(posted February 2021)

Patrick Walsh, associate professor of economics, joined an alumna state official, Lindsay Kurrle ’93 and others in March for a panel discussion about paid sick leave in Vermont and the laws surrounding it, on the Vermont Public Radio program Vermont Edition. On January 2 Patrick participated in a two-hour morning Federal Tax Reform Forum at the Pavilion Auditorium in Montpelier. Along with Patrick and a state economist, this six-person panel of experts also included tax practitioners and members of the business community who offered perspectives as they explored how federal tax reform will affect individuals and business in Vermont. Tax Commissioner Kaj Samson moderated the panel. In December 2017, Patrick was invited to write a column for the business-news website about real-world economics behind the tax bill that was before Congress at that time.
(posted June 2018)