David Powell

Photo of David Powell
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 an economist at the RAND Corporation and a member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School faculty. 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 quantile estimator which provides quantile treatment effect estimates in the presence of covariates.  He is currently working on an inference method which permits correlations across clusters as well as an extension of the synthetic control method.

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

Research Focus

Selected Publications

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, 0, 0 (forthcoming)

David Powell and Seth Seabury, "Medical Care Spending and Labor Market Outcomes," American Economic Review, 0, 0 (forthcoming)

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

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

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

David Powell and Rosalie Liccardo Pacula "Prescription Opiates and Opioid Abuse: Regulatory Efforts to Limit Diversion from Medical Markets to Black Markets in the United States," in , Dual Markets: Comparative Approaches for Regulation, E. Savona and M.A.R. Kleiman, 2017

Fabian Duarte, Srikanth Kadiyala, Samuel H. Masters and David Powell, "The Effect of the 2009 Influenza Pandemic on Absence from Work," Health Economics, 26(12), 2017