Brian Wheaton’s research encompasses political economy, cultural economics, and macroeconomics. He analyzes empirical data in order to answer policy-relevant, real-world political and economic questions. His work on political economy and cultural economics focuses on the important role culture plays in shaping material economic and political outcomes. His work on macroeconomics examines how various forms of government intervention and regulation shape the macroeconomy.
Wheaton’s most recent work focuses on the effects of laws on beliefs held by the public. His findings, discovered using a dynamic difference-in-differences identification strategy, indicate that virtually every major US social policy law—both liberal and conservative—of the past half-century has induced significant backlash. He finds that individuals move in the opposite direction of the law in an attempt to preserve the values that are important to them and are threatened by the law.
Some of Wheaton’s other projects explore the effects of school corporal punishment on long-run cultural and economic outcomes, the role of motivated reasoning in political polarization and how it can be minimized, the macroeconomic effects of the Eastern European flat-tax reforms, and the implications of the minimum wage for monetary policy efficacy.
Brian received his AA from College of Marin, his BA from University of California–Berkeley, and his MA and PhD from Harvard University.