Professor A. Abigail Payne joined the Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research as Director and Ronald Henderson Professor in August 2016. Prior to her arrival she was a professor of economics at McMaster University (Canada) where she was the inaugural director of MacDATA, McMaster’s Big Data Institute and the director of the Public Economics Data Analysis Laboratory (“PEDAL”). Previous to her appointment at McMaster she was an assistant professor at the University of Illinois and the Institute for Government and Public Affairs (Illinois), and the University of Toronto. She also practiced law for a private law firm in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Payne works on empirical public economics issues. Her research encompasses questions around student performance and the effects of policy on educational outcomes and understanding donor and charity behavior. Her current research includes projects to understand the motivations of donors, the role of fundraising in private giving, how policies and demographic changes affect charity operations, and the effect of charitable operations on community outcomes. Dr. Payne’s current research in the area of the economics of education includes understanding the decision to attend post-secondary education (PSE), understanding gender gaps in educational performance, and the determinants of successful transitions from high school to university.
Dr. Payne received her Ph.D. from Princeton University. She holds a J.D. from Cornell University and a B.A. from Denison University. She has published in the American Economic Review, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Law and Economics, and many other journals. She is currently a co-editor of the academic journal Economic Inquiry, serves on the Ifo Institute’s (Munich) Scientific Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors of the Association for Education Finance and Policy (USA), the Australian Statistics Advisory Council for the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and a number of other advisory roles for the Australian Commonwealth Government, the Victorian Government, and international organizations. She has been an International Fellow with the Centre for Market and Public Organisation at the University of Bristol (UK), is a member of the CESifo Research Network (Germany). She has previously served as president of the Canadian Women’s Economists Network and as a member on the board of directors of the Canadian Economics Association, the Association for Educational Finance and Policy, and the Fort York Food Bank (Toronto charity). Her collaborations include researchers located in Canada, the United States, and Great Britain. Previously Dr. Payne was a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Public Economics and she received a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship for her research on higher education issues.