Todd Richard Yarbrough, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Economics

Todd Richard Yarbrough

Todd Richard Yarbrough, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Economics

Office: Academic Building 208

Phone: (616) 632-1570



>Download Dr. Yarbrough's Vita (pdf)


Educational Background:

Ph.D., University of Tennessee
M.A., University of Tennessee
B.S.B.A., University of Tennessee

About Dr. Yarbrough
I grew up in the hills of East Tennessee, attending Sullivan North High School until my graduation in 2003. In the fall of 2003 I enrolled at the University of Tennessee. Majoring in Economics within the Business department, my degree focused on the quantitative and statistical application of economic theory to business decisions. After graduating with a Bachelor's of Science in Business Administration in 2007, I began a doctoral program in economics at UT in the Fall of that year. I completed course work for my Ph.D. in 2010, earning a Master's Degree in economics along the way. I finished (finally!) my dissertation and defended it during the Summer of 2013, completing my doctorate in economics. As a new faculty member at Aquinas College in 2013, I bring over 6 years of teaching experience (undergraduate and graduate) and a robust research agenda. In my spare time I enjoy reading, hiking, homebrewing, and cheering on my beloved Volunteers.
Courses Taught at Aquinas
Teaching Interests
I specialize in teaching Environmental Economics and Public Finance to both undergraduate and graduate students. I am especially interested in facilitating a greater understanding of the political economy of federal and state government decision making in order to foster a more informed electorate. Additionally, I have a passion for introducing students to economics through the teaching of principles courses in macro and micro-economics. Students will leave any of my classrooms with a greater understanding of how the economic world turns, and how they can use the knowledge gained in my classes to add considerable value to their degree.
Research Interests
As an applied micro-economist, I use applied econometric techniques to analyze various issues in public finance, such as balanced budget rules, rainy day funds, and tax and expenditure limits. With an emphasis on state and local governance decisions, my research uncovers the political economy of budgetary decisions, including tax and expenditure policies in the context of fiscal and political institutions. Through my research I also introduce issues of environmental economics, such as pollution abatement, public support for environmental regulation, and the valuation of renewable and non-renewable resources. It is my hope that my research will inform government policy, public choice, and the emerging field of sustainable business.
Current Research

Dissertation: Essays on State Fiscal Institutions
Advisor: Mathew Murray
Essay 1. “The Political Economy of Balanced Budget Rules: Evidence from U.S. State Environmental Expenditures”
Essay 2. “Rainy Day Funds and the Fiscal Mix: Evidence From U.S. States”
Essay 3. “Where is the Rain? Effect of Fiscal and Political Institutions on U.S. State Rainy Day Fund Balance”


“Municipal Zoning and Environmental Outcomes” (working paper)


“Pollution Abatement and Elections: Is There a Political Business Cycle in Firm Abatement?” (working paper)


“Trade at the State Level: Is There a Race to the Bottom for Foreign Direct Investment?” (working paper)

Marginal Revolution (Economics Blog)
Freakonomics (Economics Blog)
St. Louis Federal Reserve Statistics (FRED)
University of Tennessee Dept. of Economics (My Alma Mater)