Jon C. Thompson '09

Associate Professor of Economics

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Contact Information

900 State Street
Salem  Oregon  97301


Over the last two hundred years, per capita income in the United States has grown between 20 and 30 fold.  This growth marks a radical departure with the trends of the past, and has irrevocably altered the material conditions of our lives.  In some countries, this growth was paralleled immediately.  In others, it was copied after a lag.  The most important question in economics is how we can deliver this outcome to those who have not yet benefited from this shift, and whether we can deliver the same increase in living standards we have enjoyed to the next generation.


Prior to earning his Ph.D., Jon attended Willamette University, earning a BA in Economics with a focus on discovering the lessons economic history had to teach about modern economic problems.  He then went on to a graduate program in economics at the University of Oregon, earning a PhD in economics and winning a Kleinsorge Research award along the way.

Jon's research focuses on economic growth and economic development.  Particular emphasis is placed on the role of culture in creating economic outcomes.  His research uses formal economic theory as a basis for econometric empirical analysis, using, for example, rainfall variation as an exogenous variable to test how trust influences economic growth.  

Jon enjoys teaching a variety of topics with the central theme of using the insights of economics (the science of decision making under constraint). Public policy, market organization and economic development are specific interests

Jon lives in Salem and enjoys hiking, cinema and barbecues.


  • Ph.D., University of Oregon
  • M.S., University of Oregon
  • B.A., Willamette University

Selected Publications

“Ranking State Tax Systems: Progressivity, Adequacy, Efficiency” with Fred Thompson and Ken Beatty  (State Tax Notes, Vol. 141, No. 7, 2013).

 “Reputation, Contracts and Culture” (Job Market Paper).

 “The Culture of Entrepreneurship” with Shankha Chakraborty and Etienne Yehoue (resubmission invited, Journal of Economic Theory).

 “Culture and the Coordination Game” with Chris Ellis.

Selected Presentations

Central European Program in Economic Theory, Udine, Italy, July 2014

Willamette University

Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Salem Campus

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

Portland Center

200 SW Market Street, Suite 101
Portland Oregon 97201 U.S.A.

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