Hi and thanks for visiting my website! I'm an applied microeconomist interested in a range of policy issues, and I rely heavily on data and microeconometrics. I follow political economics and labor economics most closely, and most of my research falls into one of two areas.
First, I'm worried about how divisive politics produces escalated political incentives, and the ways that this undermines basic tasks of a well-functioning government. I'm particularly concerned about political pressures placed on the bureaucracy, especially when it is in charge of complex, high-stakes tasks where neutrality and competence are so important. The criminal justice system is a particularly important example of this, so I do a lot of work on it that (depending on which result you find most interesting) might get classified as political economics, organizational economics, law and economics, the economics of crime, or public economics.
Second, I'm worried about long-run pressures on middle- and low-wage labor markets coming from declines in union strength; import competition and globalization; automation, robots, and technology; access to education and the role of education in the labor market; and changes in corporate power and practices. I'm mostly disappointed by the lack of creative policy in a lot of these areas, and so I often find myself drawn to research on some of the foundational issues behind them (How flexible are labor markets? How well do wages reflect marginal product?), rather than evaluating specific policies. I think of this as labor economics (some disagree), but I think macro and trade have a lot of valuable insights, so I try to keep tabs on those fields a bit, too.
I am an Assistant Professor at Stockholm IIES (which you can follow on Twitter @IIES_Sthlm). I received my PhD in economics from UC San Diego in 2017. If you're interested in my work, I'd love to hear from you! I can be reached at mitch.downey [at] iies.su.se.