David Powell

Photo of David Powell
Senior Economist; Core Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Off Site Office


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


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

Powell's research examines shifts in the opioid crisis, the effects of tax policy on labor supply and health care decisions, and the role of health insurance benefit design.  He has also developed methods to estimate quantile treatment effects and extended the use of synthetic control methods. 

Powell earned his Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Research Focus

Selected Publications

David Powell and Seth Seabury, "Medical Care Spending and Labor Market Outcomes," American Economic Review, 108(10), 2018

Abby Alpert, David Powell, and Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, "Supply-Side Drug Policy in the Presence of Substitutes: Evidence from the Introduction of Abuse-Deterrent Opioids," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 10(4), 2018

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, "Does Labor Supply Respond to Transitory Income? Evidence from the Economic Stimulus Payments of 2008," Journal of Labor Economics (forthcoming)

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

David Powell, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, and Mireille Jacobson, "Do Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Addictions and Deaths Related to Pain Killers?" Journal of Health Economics, 58, 2018

David Powell, "The Distortionary Effects of the Tax Subsidy," American Journal of Health Economics (forthcoming)

Rosalie Liccardo 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), 2015