Huntsman Alumni Magazine

Fall 2011

New Faces: Professor known for his economic analysis of public policy decisions comes to USU

William F. Shughart, II, an economist from the University of Mississippi, who is a syndicated columnist, respected editor and researcher, is now a professor at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.

He is a micro-economist with a strong interest in public policy and the application of economic theories to decision making in non-market settings. Dr. Shughart, who is particularly well known for his research related to antitrust legislation, has been named the first J. Fish Smith Professor in Public Choice.

And he is the editor of Public Choice, a publication that looks at how economic theories may be used to influence or analyze public policy decision making. Public Choice, founded in 1966, is listed among the top 35 economic journals by RePEc (Research Papers in Economics), and ranks even higher among political science journals. The publication, which will now be based at USU, has featured research on numerous public policy issues, including the economic impact of school vouchers and the causes and consequences of transnational terrorism.

Dean Douglas D. Anderson said that the addition of Dr. Shughart to the faculty is good news for the students and it focuses national attention on the progress underway at the Huntsman School.

“It is unprecedented in the history of economics education at USU for the university to be the home of such a distinguished journal,” Dean Anderson said.

Dr. Shughart said he was impressed in 2009 when he came to visit USU. “I was struck immediately by the intellectual energy evident throughout the Huntsman School,” he said. “The students, faculty, and staff there are first-rate, and Dean Anderson has set goals for excellence in teaching, scholarly research, and service to the state and nation that match my own.”

Dr. Shughart is listed among the top five percent of authors by IDEAS, the largest bibliographic database dedicated to economics. He has published more than 200 scholarly articles, book chapters, and reviews.

Dr. Shughart authored Antitrust Policy and Interest-Group Politics, a book that showed how antitrust public policy sometimes is influenced by special interest groups that are often the competitors of the companies being challenged. He also wrote The Organization of Industry.

He has published two widely quoted scholarly articles: “Adam Smith in the Customs House” and “Batter-up: The Impact of the Designated Hitter Rule on Hit Batsmen.” After Adam Smith had written The Wealth of Nations, he was appointed by King George III in 1798 to be on a commission tasked with stopping smugglers.

“Adam Smith was one of the greatest defenders of free trade, but when he became a customs commissioner, he acted like a law enforcer, and was very active in trying to stop smugglers and collect fees,” Dr. Shughart said.

The second paper looked at the impact of the designated hitter rule on the number of batters who get hit by a pitch during the game. He discovered in the American League, where pitchers may have a designated hitter stand in for them, those pitchers were more likely to hit batters than those in the National League.

Dr. Shughart earned his doctorate in economics from Texas A&M University in 1978.

Professor known for his economic analysis of public policy decisions comes to USU.