David Powell

Photo of David Powell
Economist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; B.A. in applied mathematics, Harvard University


David Powell is an economist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His areas of expertise include public finance, health economics, and econometrics.

Powell's research has examined the impact of income taxes on wages, occupational choice, and labor income. He also introduced a new framework for estimation of quantile treatment effects. In recent work, Powell has introduced a model of optimal health insurance. He is currently studying the impact of health insurance on medical care consumption. Powell earned his Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Research Focus

Pardee RAND Graduate School Courses

Selected Publications

Rosalie Pacula, David Powell, Paul Heaton, Eric Sevigny, "Assessing the Effects of Medical Marijuana Laws on Marijuana Use: The Devil is in the Details," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 34(1):7-31, 2015

David Powell and Joachim Wagner, "The Exporter Productivity Premium along the Productivity Distribution: Evidence from Quantile Regression with Nonadditive Firm Fixed Effects," Review of World Economics, 150(4), 2014

David Powell, "Compensating Differentials and Income Taxes: Are the Wages of Dangerous Jobs More Responsive to Tax Changes than the Wages of Safe Jobs?" Journal of Human Resources, 47(4), 2012

David Powell and Hui Shan, "Income Taxes, Compensating Differentials, and Occupational Choice: How Taxes Distort the Wage-Amenity Decision," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 4(1), 2012