John McLaren headshot
Professor of Economics

A long, long time ago I came to economics from a math background: I enjoyed the abstract beauty of math but wanted to work on something more immediately useful.  I’ve gone through a lot of different topic areas, but my research in recent years has focussed on the effects of trade policy on workers.  This includes work on the effects of NAFTA on income distribution, and how labor markets respond over time to trade liberalization, and the rise of offshoring.  I have also been working on the effects of immigration on local labor markets, the effects of the electoral college on US trade policy, and the effects of globalization on worker rights and child labor.  I’ve written an undergraduate textbook on international trade which is focussed on real-world problems and questions and how economy theory can clarify them.  It has been used at Dartmouth, Penn State, Duke, and Michigan State and a number of other institutions in the US, Canada, and Europe.  It has also been translated into Japanese.

I wanted to try teaching in the Engagements because I wanted to share how simple tools and ideas from quantitative social science such as economics can shed light on difficult issues of concern to everyone, and not merely narrow ‘economic’ issues