Economics, like most disciplines, has become highly specialized, so it is not surprising that many economists focus their research on a narrow range of topics or issues. Not so for one of our Ph.D. alumni, Donald Vandegrift (IDEAS).

Don completed his doctorate in 1993 under the tutelage of Prof. Richard Langlois. Apparently Dick’s interest in a wide range of topics in the field of industrial organization rubbed off on Don, who currently serves as Chair of the Department of Economics in the School of Business at The College of New Jersey.

Over the years, Don has published papers on performance excuse under contracts (European Journal of Law and Economics, 1997), asset specificity (Eastern Economic Journal, 1998), energy use (Journal of Energy and Development, 1999), product warranty (Contemporary Economic Policy, 2001), risky strategies in “tournament competition” (Labour Economics, 2003), obesity rates (Health & Place, 2004), gender differences in competitive strategies (Journal of Socio-Economics, 2005), prescription drug spending (Southern Economic Journal, 2006), incentive effects in experimental settings (Experimental Economics, 2007), and hedge fund performance (Journal of Derivatives and Hedge Funds, 2009).

Don’s forthcoming work continues to reflect his exceptional versatility. A paper on hedge fund performance will soon appear in the Journal of Derivatives and Hedge Funds; his experimental analysis of differences in competitive behavior between men and women is slated for publication by the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization; a study of sabotage in tournaments has been accepted by the Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics; and the Annals of Regional Science will publish a paper on linkages between open space, house prices, and the local property tax base.

It is great to see our former students enjoying their work and sharing it with others. Don spoke at our on-campus 2008 Economics Reunion and Forum, and we are hoping that he will be back in Storrs next spring, when we repeat this successful event. Don and other former grad students presented research papers, participated in job-experience panels, met our current students and newer faculty, and reconnected with old friends and fellow alums. We will be posting plans for the next event, but it is clear that even in his current administrative role as Department Chair, Don has continued his lively line(s) of research and will have little problem coming up with a new paper for the 2010 reunion.