Kevin M. Williams studies the economics of higher education and tries to understand how changing demographics impact student attainment.

Williams, assistant professor of economics, comes to Oxy from the University of Utah, where he was an assistant professor of finance. Williams has a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and earned a Ph.D. in economics from UC Davis in 2016.

When did you take an interest in economics?
Williams: First year of undergrad. I arrived undeclared, but knew about a month in to my first semester that I was going to be an economics major.

What attracted you to Occidental?
Williams: I always wanted to be back in California in a liberal arts setting. As an Oakland native, I feel at home among Dodgers fans who dislike the San Francisco Giants as much as I do.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?
Williams: If I say “the students” then they’ll think I’m a pushover. So I’ll say “coming up with insanely difficult test questions.”

How does it feel to join Oxy’s largest academic department? What are you teaching this fall?
Williams: My previous department had over 30 faculty so, despite the size within Oxy, this feels cohesive and welcoming. I’m teaching Game Theory this fall and will be teaching Applied Econometrics in the spring.

What are your current research interests?
Williams: I study the economics of higher education and try to understand how changing demographics impact student attainment.

Outside of work, what do you like to spend your time doing?
Williams: I’m an avid board game player and hope to start playing tennis again now that I'm back in California.