Office of the University Economist

The Office of the University Economist was created by Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow in 2005.

The office has two primary functions:

  • To administer the Productivity and Prosperity Project (P3)
  • To respond to the strategic and tactical needs of the Office of the President and the university as a whole related to economic development and the university’s role as an economic driver.

Reports associated with the second function focus on public finance, Arizona universities, and Arizona demographics.

Taxes and public-sector expenditures are economic development factors that contribute to the competitiveness of a region. In addition, with Arizona’s public universities partially supported by the State of Arizona, the fiscal resources and health of state government is of importance to the universities.

An understanding of Arizona demographics is important to planning at ASU and to economic development in Arizona.

Other reports produced by the Office of the University Economist are specific to ASU or Arizona’s public university system.

Recent examples of the Office of the University Economist’s work include:

Tax Reductions in Arizona: Effects on Economic Growth and Government Revenue, October 2016
Provides a conceptual summary of supply-side economic theory and the Laffer Curve. Reviews the tax burden in Arizona and nearly 25 years of tax reductions passed by the Arizona Legislature.  Examines the effects of these tax reductions on economic performance and public revenue.

The Impact of Arizona State University Graduates Employed in Arizona in 2015, October 2016
Estimates the number of ASU graduates working in Arizona, as well as their average wage, aggregate wages, and state tax payments for each year from 2012 through 2015.

The Financing of Public Higher Education in Arizona, October 2016
Revenues for higher education in Arizona are examined by source.  Comparisons to other states and the nation are included, along with a historical perspective.

Arizona’s Income Taxes: A Comparison With Other States and a Policy Discussion of Potential Tax Reforms, July 2016
This report examines Arizona’s individual and corporate income taxes, making comparisons to other states.  Conceptual issues are discussed, including the economic criteria for evaluating taxes.  The link between income taxes and economic growth is explored.  States without an individual income tax are compared on a number of measures to states levying a flat income tax and to states using graduated tax rates.

The Financing of Public Elementary and Secondary Education in Arizona, July 2016
Revenues for, and expenditures of, K-12 education in Arizona are examined over time and compared to other states through fiscal year 2014.

Migration To and From Arizona, May 2016
Summarizes migration data from three sources: the Internal Revenue Service, the American Community Survey, and the University of Wisconsin.


Additional insights and research findings are available from the Office of the University Economist website.