Jessica Wolpaw Reyes is Professor of Economics at Amherst College. Her research focuses on public health and social impacts of environmental pollution, malpractice and physician behavior, factors influencing judicial decision-making, and other topics in applied microeconomics. Prof. Reyes is particularly interested in areas of health and inequality. She is currently studying the effects of environmental toxicants on social behavior, as well as embarking on new projects in law and economics. Prof. Reyes received her Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, focusing her studies in the areas of labor economics, public finance, and health economics.
Economics provides its own way of viewing the world. I endeavor to teach economics in a manner that helps students appreciate both its theoretical elegance and its practical relevance. The fundamental theorems of welfare economics say that markets can produce efficient and equitable outcomes, but that they will not always do so. Markets can fail, and even well-functioning markets can produce inequitable outcomes. Public economics addresses the role of government in improving the efficiency and equity of the production and allocation of resources in society. My teaching in this area places particular emphasis on pressing environmental policy issues. In addition, health economics is a wonderful arena in which to apply the microeconomic theory of behavior and make use of applied econometrics. In the interest of preparing students to apply economic thinking to practical issues (whatever their future path), I teach health economics with a substantial focus on public policy and possibilities for reform. Lastly, I greatly enjoy teaching a social policy seminar and the economics department senior honors seminar, both of which aim to foster students’ ability to think like economists and engage in independent research.
Ph.D., Harvard University, 2002
Diploma in Mathematical Statistics, Cambridge University, 1995
B.A., Amherst College, 1994