Robert J. Thornton, Ph.D. holds the Charles William MacFarlane Professorship


Xavier University, H.A.B.
University of Illinois, M.A., Ph.D.

Research Interests

Labor Economics
Forensic Economics

Robert Thornton has served as Director of the M.S. Program in Economics and is an Associate Director of the Martindale Center for the Study of Private Enterprise. His research interests lie in the areas of labor economics (particularly unionism in the public sector, occupational licensing, and labor market discrimination) and forensic economics. He teaches courses in labor economics and statistics. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Illinois after having served as a research assistant at the Brookings Institution. He began his academic career at Lehigh in 1970, and has been a Visiting Research Professor at the University of Sussex (UK) and University College Dublin (Ireland). He also serves as a private consultant in litigation involving personal injury, wrongful death, and discrimination.


Recent Publications

  • "Licensure or License: Reconsidering Occupational Regulation" (with E. Timmons and D. DeAntonio), Labor Law Journal, Spring 2017.
  • "Have Pay-Equity Laws in Canada Helped Women? A Synthetic Control Approach" (with J. McDonald), American Review of Canadian Studies, December 2016.
  • "Estimating Gender Wage Gaps: A Data Update" (with J. McDonald) Journal of Economic Education (2016).
  • "Comparable Worth/Work of Equal Value" (with J. McDonald), Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies (2016).
  • "Ethical Issues in Forensic Economics," (with J. Ward), invited chapter for G. DeMartino and D. McCloskey, eds., Handbook on Professional Economic Ethics: Views from the Economics Profession, Oxford University Press, (2016).
  • "The Effect of Household Technology on Weight and Health Outcomes among Chinese Adults: Evidence from China's 'Home Appliances Going to the Countryside' Policy," (with C. Chen and S. Chou), Journal of Human Capital (2015).
  • "To Be or Not to Be: An Optimum Currency Area for South Asia?," (with K. Regmi and A. Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy), Journal of Policy Modeling (2015).
  • "The Gender Gap in Starting Salaries for New College Graduates," (with J. McDonald), Research in Labor Economics (2015).
  • "Coercive Cooperation? Ontario's Pay Equity Act of 1988 and the Gender Pay Gap," (with J. McDonald), Contemporary Economic Policy (2015).
  • "The De-Licensing of Occupations in the United States," (with E. Timmons), Monthly Labor Review (2015).
  • Fundamentals of Labor Economics (with T. Hyclak and G. Johnes) 2nd edition, Cengage, 2013.
  • "Licensing One of the World's Oldest Professions: Massage," (with E. Timmons), Journal of Law and Economics (May 2013).
  • "NAFE and the Ethics Question," (with M. Brookshire), Journal of Forensic Economics (April 2013).
  • "Estimating Gender Wage Gaps," (with J. McDonald), Journal of Economic Education, (October-December 2011).
  • "The Licensing of Barbers in the U.S." (with E. Timmons), British Journal of Industrial Relations (December 2010).
  • Variations in Economic Analysis: Essays in Honor of Eli Schwartz (ed., with J. Aronson and H. Parmet), Springer Books, 2010.
  • "The Determinants of Excess Worker Turnover in Luxembourg" (with E. Strobl), International Journal of Manpower, July 2009.
  • "What's Your College Degree Worth?" Journal of Economic Education, Spring 2009.
  • Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Calculations: Trans-Atlantic Dialogue (ed. with J. Ward), Emerald Books, 2009.
  • "The Effects of Licensing on the Wages of Radiologic Technologists" (with E. Timmons), Journal of Labor Research, December 2008.
  • "Do Male and Female College Graduates Receive Unequal Pay?" (with J. McDonald), Journal of Human Resources, Winter 2007.
  • "Monopsony and Teacher's Salaries in Georgia" (with S. Medcalfe), Journal of Labor Research, Fall 2006.
  • Lexicon of Intentionally Ambiguous Recommendations, (2nd edition), Barnes and Noble Books, 2005.
  • Developments in Litigation Economics, ed. (with P. Gaughan), Elsevier, 2005.
  • "Unions in the Local Government Sector," in E. Schwartz and J.R. Aronson, Management Policies in Local Government Finance, International City/County Management Association, 2004.
  • "Assessing Damages in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation: the Case of Pennsylvania" (with J. Rodgers), Journal of Forensic Economics, 2004.
  • "Joan Robinson, B.L. Hallward, and Monopsony," Journal of Economic Perspectives, Spring 2004.
  • "Erring on the Margin of Error" (with J. Thornton), Southern Economic Journal, July 2004.
  • "Do Large Employers Pay More?" (with E. Strobl), Journal of Economic Development, June 2004.
  • "Gender Pay Differentials and Equality Legislation in the Republic of Ireland," (with M. Cassidy and E. Strobl), Canadian Public Policy, 2002.
  • "Comparable Worth in Academe: Professors at Ontario Universities," (with J. McDonald), Canadian Public Policy, September 2001.