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Faculty & Staff Directory

Brian Duncan, PhD


Vita: Professor Duncan's Vita​​​​
E-mail: Brian Duncan
Office Location: Lawrence Street Center 470E
Phone: 303-315-2041
Fax: 303-315-2048
Areas of Expertise:
Economics of Philanthropy 

Education & Degrees

PhD, Economics, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1998
BA, Economics, San Diego State University, 1992


My main line of research focuses on the economics of personal philanthropy and nonprofit organizations. In particular, I am interested in developing new ideas—formalized as economic models—regarding the motives people have for giving to charitable causes. My research employs theoretical, empirical and experimental techniques, the last reflecting my view that laboratory experiments may hold the key to answering many of the unresolved questions regarding charitable behavior. I have also done research on the economic incentives in the foster care system and on immigration and assimilation of first, second and third generation immigrants to the U.S.

Selected Publications

"Intermarriage and the Intergenerational Transmission of Ethnic Identity and Human Capital for Mexican Americans" (with Steve Trejo), forthcoming in Journal of Labor Economics.

"Ancestry versus Ethnicity: The Complexity and Selectivity of Mexican Identification in the United States" (with Steve Trejo), Research in Labor Economics 29, 2009, pp. 31-66.

"Secret Santa Reveals the Secret Side of Giving: Negative Externalities," Economic Inquiry 47(1), 2009, pp. 165-181.

"Economic Incentives and Foster Care Placement," (with Laura Argys), The Southern Economic Journal 74(1), 2007, pp. 114-142.

"The Effect of Smoking on Depression: A Reexamination of Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health," (with Daniel Rees), American Journal of Epidemiology 162(5), 2005, pp. 461-470.

"Using Municipal Residency Requirement to Disguise Public Policy," Public Finance Review 33(1), January 2005, pp. 84-116.

"Race, Ethnicity and Gender Differences in the Relationship Between Substance Use and Adolescent Sexual Behavior," (with Susan L. Averett, Daniel I. Rees, and Laura Argys), Topics in Economic Analysis & Policy 4(1), 2004.

"A Theory of Impact Philanthropy," Journal of Public Economics 88(9-10), August 2004, pp. 2159-2180.

"Pumpkin Pies and Public Goods: The Raffle Fundraising Strategy," Public Choice 111(1-2), April 2002, pp. 49-79.

"Modeling Charitable Contributions of Time and Money," Journal of Public Economics 72(2), May 1999, pp. 213-242.

Courses Taught

Undergraduate level:
Principles of Microeconomics
Intermediate Microeconomics

Graduate level:
Public Finance
Seminar in Applied Economics
Research Seminar