LAWRENCE — David Slusky is an instinctive sleuth ready to share the tricks of his trade to help students explore the economic issues around them. Slusky, De-Min and Chin-Sha Wu Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Kansas College of Arts and Sciences, will deliver the annual Shutz Lecture at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 12. People can register to attend the Zoom Webinar here. His presentation is titled “Adventures with a Natural Experiment Hunter: Teaching Economics Research”.
The lecture will be recorded for those unable to attend the virtual event and posted on the faculty development website.
Slusky is also associate chair and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Economics and associate professor of population health (by courtesy) at KU Medical Center. He is also an associate researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a researcher at the IZA – Institute of Labor Economics in Bonn, Germany, an associate editor at the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management and has special status with the United States Census. .
He recently received the Byron T. Shutz Award for Excellence in Teaching. Her research interests include reproductive health care, fertility, birth and child outcomes, health and disability insurance, and substitution between different types of health care.
Beyond KU, Slusky has also served as a health policy advisor for Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign, testified before the Kansas Senate, and presented to the Governor’s Council on Tax Reform.
The Applied Microeconomist joined KU in 2015 and teaches courses in health economics, public policy, microeconomic theory, and labor economics at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Slusky has won numerous prizes and awards, including presenting the KU Humanities Program Seaver Lecture 2020, Ekstein Prize for Best Paper 2017-2018 in Eastern Economic Journal, Towbes Award for Outstanding Teaching ( as a doctoral student at Princeton) and the DeForest Pioneers Prize for Distinguished Creative Achievement in Physics, and the Branford College Fellows’ Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement (both as an undergraduate at Yale).
“I’m a natural experiment hunter, looking to find ways to use arbitrary variation to answer crucial causal questions,” Slusky said. “For example, has Uber’s availability reduced ambulance use? Has the expansion saved lives? Has the reopening of elementary schools increased COVID-19 rates? “Does contact tracing prevent deaths from COVID-19? Understanding the research behind answering these questions is important not just for researchers like me, but for everyone.”
Slusky hopes attendees of Wednesday’s virtual lecture will come away with the knowledge everyone should have about economics research and how he teaches the consumption of research to students at all levels.
“I developed an approach to teaching undergraduate and graduate students how to analyze this type of academic literature and become better consumers of research,” Slusky said. “In my talk, I’ll walk the audience through those articles that answer those particular questions and teach them the skills they need to understand the articles they’ll come up with on their own in the future.”
“I hope that all participants will be excited to consume research in the future and have the ability to do so.”
As associate chair and director of undergraduate studies in the economics department, Slusky streamlined the economics department’s majors and minors, implemented its accelerated master’s program, created two new certificates, expanded its honors thesis and increased the number of courses in the department that could satisfy the requirements of the KU Core program. He also added economics as a potential concentration to the School of Engineering’s bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary computer science, creating one of the most rigorous economics and computer science programs in the nation.
Prior to coming to KU, Slusky earned an MA and Ph.D. in Economics from Princeton and a BA in Physics (Honours) and International Studies (Honours), magna cum laude, from Yale University, where he also been elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
The Byron T. Shutz Award was established in 1978 and recognizes distinguished teaching by a KU faculty member. Each year, the award alternates between honoring outstanding teaching in any discipline and teaching in the fields of economics and business. The award’s namesake, Byron T. Shutz, received a Distinguished Service Citation in 1963, KU’s highest honor.