James E. West

W.H. Smith Professor of Economics
Department of Economics 
Baylor University

Vitae (PDF)
Google Scholar Page 










I joined the faculty at Baylor University in 2011, and am a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. I received a BA in Economics from The University of Denver in 1987, an M.A. in Economics from The University of Michigan in 1989, and a Ph.D. in Economics from The University of Michigan in 1994 in the fields of public finance and econometrics. Previously, I was at the US Air Force Academy from 1997 – 2011 and Seattle University from 1994 – 1997. My research interests are in the fields of economics of education, social network formation, public economics, and applied econometrics.


Contact Information:  Department of Economics
One Bear Place #98003
Waco, TX 76798
Phone: (254) 710-6126
Fax: (254) 710-6142
Email: j_west@baylor.edu



  • Graduate Econometrics (Fall 2017)
  • Intermediate Microeconomics (Fall 2017)
  • Public Economics (Spring 2018)
  • Undergraduate Econometrics (Spring 2018)



  • “From Natural Variation to Optimal Policy? The Importance of Endogenous Peer Group Formation,” Econometrica, Volume 81, Number 3, pp 855-882. (with S. Carrell and B. Sacerdote)
    (PDF)(Supplemental Material) The Econometric Society Web Site
  • “A’s from Zzzz’s? The Causal Effect of School Start Time on the Academic Achievement of Adolescents,” American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 62-81, August 2011. (with S. Carrell and T. Maghakian). Copyright 2011 by the American Economics Association
  • “Is Poor Fitness Contagious? Evidence from Randomly Assigned Friends,” Journal of Public Economics, Volume 95, Issue 7-8, pp 657-663, August 2011. (with S. Carrell and M. Hoekstra) featured in The Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2010 and The New York Times, November 9, 2010
  • “Does Drinking Impair College Performance? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Approach,” Journal of Public Economics, Volume 95, Issue 1-2, pp 54-62, January 2011. (with S. Carrell and M. Hoekstra) featured in The Washington Post , September 7, 2010, The New York Times, September 10, 2010
  • “Sex and Science: How Professor Gender Perpetuates the Gender Gap,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, Volume 125, Issue 3, pp 1101-1144, August 2010. (with S. Carrell and M. Page) featured in Slate , June 5, 2009
  • “Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors,” Journal of Political Economy, Volume 118, No. 3, 409-432, June 2010. (with S. Carrell) featured in The Washington Post, June 11, 2010
  • “Does Your Cohort Matter? Measuring Peer Effects in College Achievement,” Journal of Labor Economics, 27(3): 439-464, July 2009. (with S. Carrell and R. Fullerton
  • “Peer Effects in Academic Cheating,” Journal of Human Resources. Volume XLIII, Number 1, Winter 2008, 173-207. (with S. Carrell and F. Malmstrom)
  • “A Sequential Equilibrium for the Army’s Targeted Selective Reenlistment Program,” Human Resource Management,, Vol 46, No 1, Spring 2007, 21-34. (with S. Carrell)
    (PDF)(Available at Wiley InterScience)
  • “Optimal Compensating Wages for Military Personnel,” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Vol 24, No 4, Fall 2005, 803-822. (with S. Carrell)
    (PDF)(Available at Wiley InterScience)
  • “Class Action Extraction?,” Public Choice, Vol 116, No 1-2, 2003, 91-108. (with J. Haymond)
  • “The Evolution of Fuzzy Rules as Strategies in Two-Player Games,” Southern Economic Journal, Vol 69, No 3, 2003, 705-717. (with B. Linster)
  • “Functional Form in Regression Models of Okun’s Law,” Applied Economics Letters, Vol 3, No 9, 1996, 607-609. (with C. Weber)


Working Papers 

  • “The Impact of College Diversity on Behavior Toward Minorities” (with S. Carrell and M. Hoekstra)
    (PDF) featured in The Washington Post Wonkblog
  • “Reduced Retirement Benefits: Should I Stay or Should I Go?” (with J. Smith)
Research in Progress 

  • “All Things New Again: Specification Error and the `New’ Minimum Wage Literature,” (with C. North and J. Seward)
  • “The Impact of Chief Diversity Officers on Diverse Faculty Hiring,” (with S. Bradley, J. Garven, and W. Law)
  • “Physician Quality,” (with N. Fleming and J. Henderson)
  • “The Effect of Birth Level Hospital Level on Cerebral Palsy Outcomes,” (with C. Bolbocean)
  • “PPO vs HDHP/HSA for Identical Service Networks: Why Employees Choose Dominated Plans,” (with J. Garven and J. J. Hilliard)
  • “Teaching Evaluations and Time of Day Effects,” (with S. Carrell and C. North)
  • “Experiments in Faith and Honesty,” (with J. Aimone)
  • “The Effect of Study Time on Student Achievement,” (with J. Doyle and M. Kelly)
  • “Can the Number of Female Scientists and Engineers be Engineered? A Controlled Experiment in Professor Gender,” (with S. Carrell and M. Page)
  • “Lab Partner Choice and Academic Achievement,” (with D. Branan and S. Carrell)

Hankamer School of Business

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