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Randy T Simmons

Randy T Simmons

Departments: Economics and Finance
Programs: Koch Scholars
Location:  Business 516
Office Phone:  435.797.1310
Fax:  435.797.2701


Ph.D., Political Science, University of Oregon, 1980 Emphasis: Public Choice
MA, Political Science, University of Oregon, 1978
BS, Political Science, Utah State University, 1975

Related Huntsman News Articles

Professor Randy Simmons on Carbon Taxes in National Journal’s Blog (The Huntsman Post - March 2013)
Huntsman Professors Have Written Some Books You Should Know About (Huntsman Alumni Magazine - Fall 2012)
USU Professor Testifies About Impact of Designated Wilderness Areas (The Huntsman Post - December 2011)


Randy T. Simmons emphasizes the importance of economic reasoning to better understand public policy. He believes the study of politics cannot be separated from the study of markets and uses this framework to evaluate environmental and natural resource policies. The real challenge of the social process, as he sees it, is to design institutions that have outcomes that closely represent the wishes of individuals. He believes that markets are often the best way to achieve this objective when they are insulated from political influence. His core filed in political science is Public Choice.

Simmons current environmental research focuses on the Endangered Species Act. He stresses that threatened and endangered species are not simply a biological problem but a social problem, since the threat to their existence is a consequence of economic and political processes. Unfortunately, the solutions presented in the Endangered Species Act have been both costly and ineffective. He believes that positive incentives are more effective than penalties. Instead of creating a burden for private property owners, Simmons proposes measures to reward owners who conserve species and habitat. He also favors decentralizing and depoliticizing conservation programs, because twenty competing answers are better than one, especially when no one knows which is the right answer. He argues this case in is book Endangered Species: Critical Thinking About Environmental Issues and in his soon-to-be finished book manuscript Political Ecology: Politics, Economics and the Endangered Species Act.

His other books include Beyond Politics: Markets, Welfare and the Failure of Bureaucracy, a primer on public choice economics co-authored with William Mitchell, and The Political Economy of Customs and Culture: Informal Solutions to the Commons Problems, co-edited with Terry Anderson. Simmons has also written widely on the conservation of African elephants.

Simmons received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Oregon in 1980. He was previously a professor of political science at Utah State University, where he has been honored three times by the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences as researcher of the year. Also at Utah State University, he is the director of the Institute of Political Economy. Simmons is a senior scholar with the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. and a Senior Fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center, Bozeman, MT.

He makes his home in Providence, Utah, where he served six years on the city council and served as mayor for four years.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Utah League of Cities and Towns and is a member of the Utah Governor's Privatization Commission. He is writing a book on his experiences in local government. In his spare time, Simmons enjoys llama packing with his wife and three children and boating on Lake Powell.

Check his class blog at


Teacher of the Year - 2014

Name Title Phone Location Email
Blau, Ben Associate Professor 435.797.2340 Business 603
Bowles, Tyler Professor 435.797.2378 Business 611
Brough, Tyler Assistant Professor 435.797.2369 Business 605
Caliendo, Frank Professor and Head 435.797.2963 Business 619
DeLisle, R. Jared Assistant Professor 435.797.0885 Business 612
Fawson, Christopher Executive Director of Partners in Business & Dr. Vernon Maughan Buehler and MaRee C. Buehler Endowed Professor 435.797.2320 Business 514
Feigenbaum, James Associate Professor 435.797.2316 Business 620
Findley, T. Scott Associate Professor 435.797.2371 Business 616
Fjeldsted, Paul Senior Lecturer 435.797.2172 Business 602
Gilbert, John Professor 435.797.2314 Business 604
Gorry, Aspen Assistant Professor 435.797.2397 Business 610
Gorry, Devon Assistant Professor 435.797.9098 Business 606
Harris, Lenaye Adjunct Professor   BUS 702
Hornsby, Rick Lecturer, and Graduate Program Director 435.797.5786 Business 607
Israelsen, Dwight Director – China Cooperative Academic Programs and Professor 435.797.2298 Business 608
Li, Jin Undergraduate Advisor – China Cooperative Academic Programs 435.797.3019 Business 110
Peterson, Shannon Clinical Associate Professor of Economics & Director of Huntsman Scholars Program 435.797.3966 Business 309
Romrell, Doug Lecturer
Routledge, Teri Assistant to the Department Head and Travel Specialist 435.797.2310 Business 615
Shughart II, William F. J. Fish Smith Professor in Public Choice 435.797.1571 Business 510
Simmons, Randy T Professor 435.797.1310 Business 516
Smith, Jason Assistant Director - China Cooperative Academic Programs and Assistant Professor 435.797.2363 Business 614
Sorenson, Donette Coordinator of Programs 435.797.2989 Business 110
Stephens, Alan Associate Professor 435.797.2367 Business 508
Whitby, Ryan Assistant Professor 435.797.9495 Business 618
Winkel , Mark S. Undergraduate Advisor – China Cooperative Academic Programs 435.797.2272 Business 110
Yonk, Ryan M Research Assistant Professor 435.797.1310 Business 512