Joe Mitchell-Nelson
Joe Mitchell-Nelson

Joe Mitchell-Nelson

PhD candidate in economics

University of Oregon


I’m a Ph.D. candidate in economics at the University of Oregon, on the job market 2021. Check out this new* stated preference method I’m developing.


  • Stated preference research methods
  • Social preferences
  • Development economics
  • Visualizing data
  • Early 2000s emo


  • PhD in Economics, 2021 (expected)

    University of Oregon

  • MS in Economics, 2017

    University of Oregon

  • BS in Economics, 2016

    Portland State University

  • BS in Philosophy, 2012

    Portland State University


Cultural insiders and foreign aid: How the cultural background of World Bank project managers affects project success (working paper)

Abstract: A wealth of research has determined that project- and country-level characteristics matter for the success of foreign aid projects. This research explores how the cultural background of project leaders affects these outcomes. I use a new measure of cultural proximity between countries, based on the genetic distance measure compiled by Spolaore and Wacziarg (2018) and data from the World Bank, to quantify how much cultural overlap likely exists between project leaders and the countries where these projects take place. To address possible endogeneity arising from assignment of managers to projects, I instrument for cultural proximity with the average cultural proximity of other available project leaders. Where institutions are strong, culturally similar project managers outperform those who are more culturally distant, but this relationship is not present in countries with poor institutions.

Willingness to bear the costs of pandemic restrictions (with Trudy Ann Cameron, in progress)
We develop and field a stated preference survey about pandemic restrictions to a representative sample of Oregonians. Our results (coming soon!) will allow us to identify the tradeoffs Oregonians are willing to make between, on the one hand, the economic burden and inconvenience of pandemic restrictions and, on the other, the avoided illnesses and deaths those restrictions are likely to achieve. Rich demographic data from non-respondents allow us to correct for non-response bias.

Differential attention to attributes in stated preference research: evidence from Mouselab (with Trudy Ann Cameron, in progress)
In typical stated preference surveys, respondents are required to make cognitively taxing choices among a set of alternatives. We build a model of attention allocation that assumes subjects gain utility from accurately representing their preferences in incentive compatible surveys but that subject attention is finite and costly. We validate our model using data from mouse-tracking software, collected while subjects work through a stated preference survey about health outcomes.

Temperature and propensity to report crimes: Evidence from Denver and Los Angeles (in progress)
A body of robust interdisciplinary research finds that aggression and violence increase on hot days. One prominent stream of this literature leverages the relationship between the number of reported crimes among a population and plausibly exogenous variation in temperature. An identifying assumption underlying this body of research is that crime reporting rates do not vary systematically with temperature. I present evidence that this assumption is unjustified and that consequently the relationship between heat and crime is likely to be overstated. Using survival analysis of incident-level crime data from Denver and Los Angeles and daily weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), I find that crimes are reported more quickly during periods of hot weather. I also present a model demonstrating that, given mild assumptions, delays in crime reporting are associated with lower reporting rates. Based on data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), I present evidence that heat affects the formation of moral judgments, suggesting a possible mechanism.

Note: I am working with the Census Bureau to gain access to a Federal Statistical Research Data Center, which will provide much better evidence that crime reporting rates vary with temperature. Ideally, I will be able to match ground monitoring data from NOAA with crimes reported in the National Crime Victimization Survey, the only nationwide dataset that includes observations of unreported crimes.


(Instructor of record)

EC 201: Principles of Microeconomics

Course evaluations released in September

EC 201: Principles of Microeconomics

EC 201: Principles of Microeconomics

EC 311: Intermediate Microeconomics

EC 311: Intermediate Microeconomics

Other skills






Data viz

Always improving


  • 1415 Kincaid St., Eugene, OR 97403
  • By appointment via zoom