New to CPRC - Dan O'Flaherty

This is a series to introduce CPRC members to a broader community.

October 25, 2021
Dan O'Flaherty

Discipline/Training Background: Economics

Department: Economics, Columbia University 

Started at Columbia: Long, long ago (1987).  But still after the Chicxulub event

What research are you working on currently? 

Mainly homelessness, crime, and race.  Major project now is study of police homicides in US, joint with Rajiv Sethi and Jose Montiel Olea. 

What motivated you to research in your specialized subject matter?  

Usually because it was something I thought I should teach and I couldn’t find much worth teaching. 

What are the policies or areas of policies to which your work is relevant?

Police reform, homelessness policies, panhandling policies, housing subsidies, rent-payment insurance,

Main collaborators at Columbia? Elsewhere? 

Rajiv Sethi, Jose Montiel Olea, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Rosanna Scutella, Yi-Ping Tseng, Gwen Dordick, Peter Messeri,  Sarena Goodman, Olga Gorbachev

Don't be shy; what accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

  • After a few years, Making Room changed around the policy discussions of homelessness, and now there are many economists studying homelessness
  • I’ve taught a lot of students and some of them I’ve helped.
  • With very poor information and very little time, I had to decide when to shut down the 1974 Newark summer youth employment program, which had been seriously over-enrolled.  I got it very close.  A big error in either direction would have been disastrous.
  • The mayor of Newark in 1990 spent an hour on cable TV talking about what a bad person I am. 

If people want to learn more about your research, where should they start? 

On homelessness: “Homelessness research: A guide for economists (and friends),” 2019, Journal of Housing Economics 44: 1-25; and Making Room: The Economics of Homelessness; Harvard University Press 1996.

On crime: Shadows of Doubt: Crime, Stereotypes, and the Pursuit of Justice. With Rajiv Sethi.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2019; and “Urban crime,” 2015, with Rajiv Sethi, pp. 1519-1621 in Gilles Duranton, J. Vernon Henderson, and William Strange, eds., Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, volume 5B. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

On race: The Economics of Race in the US, Harvard University Press 2015. 

Fun fact about you:

35 years ago I was ranked #35 in North America at 100 miles.  1 year ago I was not ranked #1.