Jay Corrigan joined Kenyon's Department of Economics in 2002 after completing his Ph.D. at Iowa State University. His research focuses on the value people place on new products. Corrigan has estimated the premium American shoppers are willing to pay for "Fair Trade Certified" products, the value Filipino consumers place on genetically modified "golden rice," and the impact graphic warning labels have on smokers' demand for cigarettes. Corrigan's research on the value of Facebook was named in the Washington Post as one of the ten best works on political economy of 2018.  

Corrigan is a winner of Kenyon's Trustee Teaching Excellence Award, and the Princeton Review named him one of America's best college professors.

Areas of Expertise

Experimental and behavioral economics, agricultural economics, environmental and resource economics.


2002 — Doctor of Philosophy from Iowa State University

1997 — Bachelor of Arts from Grinnell College

Courses Recently Taught

This course studies issues of economic choice, economic efficiency and social welfare. The course presents theories of consumer and producer behavior and shows how these theories can be used to predict the consequences of individual, business and government actions. Topics covered include opportunity cost, the gains from trade, supply and demand analysis, taxes, externalities, price controls, consumer choice, production and cost, product pricing and market structure. This course is required for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every fall semester.

This course studies national economic performance. Building upon the microeconomic theories of consumer and producer behavior developed in ECON 101, the course introduces models that focus on the questions of unemployment, inflation and growth. Topics covered include measurement of national income and inflation, macroeconomic models, saving and investment, money and banking, fiscal and monetary policy, and international trade and finance. This course is required for the major. Prerequisite: ECON 101. Offered every spring semester.

Game theory is a framework for thinking more clearly and carefully about strategic interactions in business, politics, international relations and even biology. Though it began as a niche field of mathematics, game theory has become so important to economics that it’s now covered in every introductory textbook, and it’s a central part of every graduate student’s first-year coursework. That’s because a better understanding of game theory allows you to explain the otherwise inexplicable. Why, for example, do corporate executives risk prison time by conspiring to raise prices? Why is it hard to buy a good used car? Why is a college degree so important in the job market even when the degree isn’t related to the job? Game theory can also answer questions well beyond the traditional boundaries of economics. For example, why do people confess to crimes they didn’t commit? Why, during World War I, did peace break out spontaneously at points all along the Western Front? Why are male gorillas so much larger than females, while male and female chimps are the same size? In addition to answering these questions, we demonstrate many game theory concepts using in-class games with real cash incentives. This counts toward an elective for the major. Prerequisite: ECON 101 and 102. Generally offered every year.

Economists outnumber other social scientists in Washington, and they receive more media attention than all other social scientists combined. What has this meant for public policy? Most economists believe competitive markets are efficient when made up of fully informed, rational actors. That’s led economists working in public policy to favor programs that make markets more competitive or improve access to information. But what if people aren’t rational? What if our behavior is consistently at odds with the predictions of economic theory? What if we consistently make choices that aren’t in our long-run self-interest? In this course, we draw on research from economics and psychology to construct models of human behavior that account for this kind of “irrationality.” We go on to study public policies that incorporate these behavioral economic insights. The ultimate objective is for students to use what they have learned about behavioral economics to develop their own alternative approach to a public policy challenge at the local, state, national or international level. This counts toward the seminar requirement for the major. Prerequisite: ECON 101 and 102. Generally offered every other year.

This seminar examines the use of laboratory and field experiments to study economic and social science behavior. We consider issues relating to the design of experiments, including the use of laboratory versus field methods, financial incentives, control conditions and statistical analysis. We study several types of economic experiments, including auctions, bargaining, dictator and ultimatum games, games in environmental economics, public goods allocation and voting games. This counts toward the seminar requirement for the major. Prerequisite: ECON 101 and 102. Generally offered every year.