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Econ alum recognized for intellectual work in his field

Saturday, May 7, 2011
Econ alum recognized for intellectual work in his field

Sacramento State awarded Robert W. Wassmer, SBA (Economics) '83, its Outstanding Scholarly Achievement Award, which recognizes one faculty member who has, over many years, made significant contributions to discipline through scholarly activity, research and publication.


As Sacramento State's 49th recipient of the award, Wassmer, professor and chair, public policy and administration, for achievement in all three areas.


An excerpt from Sacramento State's award website follows:


As an economist Wassmer has made two major intellectual contributions in the field of economics as applied to the analysis of urban public policy. The first is toward a better understanding of the offering of local economic development incentives to business in a metropolitan area. Central to this research are the questions of what motivates a local government to offer business incentives and when offered, do they actually work to increase the amount of economic activity in the community, region, or state offering them. His second major contribution comes through his empirical examinations of the causes and consequences of urban sprawl. Through this work he has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the relative influence of the different causes of urban sprawl (auto reliance, fiscal and natural economic), and what can be used to slow it (urban containment policies).


He has authored or co-authored articles in refereed academic journals on subjects as varied as factors that influence personal happiness, manufacturing activity in California, high school test scores, public opinion about urban sprawl, public policy influences on housing prices, the influence of home foreclosures on neighboring homes, and effects of race and ethnicity on transfers to four year institutions from community colleges. Two were in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, widely considered the world’s premier journal in public policy, and two others were in the Journal of Urban Economics, another top journal in the field. He has also authored or co-authored five book reviews in academic journals, one article in conference proceedings, seven articles in non-refereed journals, eight book chapters in a variety of edited volumes, numerous op-ed pieces and other articles in mainstream publications, funded research reports, and has presented several papers at a variety of conferences. Some of these works have been coauthored with current and former graduate students exemplifying his commitment to working with students to provide them with valuable scholarly experience.


The number of citations received for his previous work, measured by number of references to his work in the two top undergraduate textbooks and the inclusion of his work in university syllabi indicates his impact. He has been invited to serve on the editorial boards of California Politics and Policy, State and Local Government Review, Economic Development Quarterly, and Public Finance and Management (which comes from Erasmus University in the Netherlands). He has also been invited numerous times to review research and book proposals by prestigious organizations and major presses. Wassmer has also been particularly active in the community, sharing his expertise on numerous public radio and television programs, and providing public testimony.


Read the full write up at Sacramento State's award page.