University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



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Robin Fretwell Wilson is the Director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs and the Mildred Van Voorhis Jones Chair in Law at the University of Illinois College of Law, where she served as the Associate Dean for Public Engagement. At IGPA, Professor Wilson also leads IGPA's Substance Use Disorder Working Group.

A scholar in family law, bioethics and law and religion, Professor Wilson has worked extensively on behalf of state and federal law reform efforts in each realm. 

Across two decades, she has worked to secure laws protecting the autonomy of patients to decide when they will be used to teach intimate exams to medical students, laws now in place in 15 states—nine of which have been enacted since 2019. 

Professor Wilson is known for bridging differences in the culture war. In 2015, she spent a month in residence with the Utah legislature, helping Utah state lawmakers to pass anti-discrimination legislation that balances religious liberty and LGBT rights. In 2019, Professor Wilson assisted the governor of Utah to craft regulations banning gay conversion therapy. In 2019, she also aided U.S. Representative Chris Stewart with portions of the “Fairness for All” he introduced in Congress. A member of the American Law Institute, the Vice President of the International Society of Family Law, and a Fulbright Specialist, Professor Wilson has served as a consultant to the United Arab Emirates’ Judicial Department as they sought to create a parallel court system for the adjudication by expatriates of family law matters using the laws of their home country or of their faith traditions.

Professor Wilson is the author of 13 books, including her most recent book, Religious Freedom, LGBT Rights, and the Prospects for Common Ground, with Yale University Professor William Eskridge, Jr., which is now in paperback at Cambridge University Press. Her other books include: The Contested Place of Religion in Family Law (Cambridge University Press, 2018, ed.), Reconceiving the Family: Critical Reflections on the American Law Institute’s Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution (Cambridge University Press, 2006, ed.); The Handbook of Children, Culture & Violence (Sage Publications, 2006, with Nancy Dowd and Dorothy Singer, eds.); Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty: Emerging Conflicts (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008, with Douglas Laycock and Anthony Picarello, eds.); Health Law and Bioethics: Cases in Context (Aspen, 2008, with Joan Krause, Sandra Johnson, and Richard Saver, eds.); Domestic Relations: Cases and Materials, 8th edition (Foundation Press, 2017, with Walter Wadlington and Raymond C. O’Brien); and Understanding Family Law, 4th edition (LexisNexis, 2013, with John DeWitt Gregory and Peter N. Swisher).  Her articles have appeared in the Boston College Law ReviewCornell Law ReviewEmory Law JournalIllinois Law ReviewNorth Carolina Law ReviewSan Diego Law ReviewU.C. Davis Law Review, and Washington and Lee Law Review, as well as in numerous peer-reviewed journals.

In 2010 and again in 2016, Professor Wilson was ranked among the Top Ten Family Law Scholars in the United States for scholarly impact. She ranks among the Top 10% of Authors in all time downloads on the Social Science Research Network. Professor Wilson’s scholarship has been cited by the Fifth, Seventh and Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Minnesota Court of Appeals, lower federal courts, and the Supreme Courts of Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, and Washington. 

Professor Wilson’s work has been featured in the New York TimesWall Street JournalNational Public Radio’s All Things ConsideredWashington PostLos Angeles TimesThe Atlantic MonthlyU.S. News and World ReportABA JournalChronicle of Higher EducationChicago TribuneCNN Headline NewsGood Morning AmericaABC NewsCBS NewsPhiladelphia InquirerEssence MagazineThe American ProspectPeople MagazineThe American ConservativeThe Australian, and Al Jazeera, among others. She has presented her research across the world, including the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, as well as in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile, China, Israel, Qatar, the Netherlands, Italy, England, Wales, Poland, Spain, Serbia, Japan, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Turkey, and France.

Building on her work in the culture war, Professor Wilson founded and directs Tolerance Means Dialogues, a gift-supported effort to generate dialogue around deeply contested questions in civil society. She is joined in that effort by prominent gay rights leaders and sitting legislators. She also founded the Fairness for All Initiative, which seeks to provide tangible support and advice to thought-leaders, stakeholders, policymakers, and state and local legislators who seek balanced approaches that respect both LGBT rights and religious freedom. 

Professor Wilson founded and co-directs the College of Law’s Family Law and Policy Program and co-directs its Epstein Health Law and Policy Program. Professor Wilson is a founding member of the Genomic Security and Privacy Theme of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and she holds appointments at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine and the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign. 

Professor Wilson has thrice been honored for her work on innovative laws that respect all persons. In 2007, she received the Citizen’s Legislative Award for her work on changing Virginia’s informed consent law. In 2018, Professor Wilson received the Thomas L. Kane Religious Freedom Award from the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, which is presented annually to an individual who exemplifies the spirit of religious liberty for all and who has contributed in significant ways to the defense of religious freedom in the public square. 

In 2018, Professor Wilson was honored as one of the 150 for 150: Celebrating the Accomplishments of Women at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for its sesquicentennial celebration. 

 



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Jon Davis served as interim director of IGPA from August 2017 until January 2020. Prior to joining the institute, Davis served as head of the nationally acclaimed Department of Accountancy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 2012-2017 and continues to hold the Robert C. Evans Endowed Chair in Business as a professor of accountancy. He is a CPA and he worked at Deloitte, Haskins and Sells in tax before pursuing his Ph.D. Degree at University of Arizona. In addition to his time on the Illinois faculty, he has been a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Colorado-Boulder. Professor Davis' teaching is primarily in the tax area. His research has addressed topics in auditing and tax, including compliance in regulatory environments, fraud, tax policy, and judgment and decision making in public accounting. His research employs methods and theories from psychology, sociology, evolutionary biology and economics.

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Jeffrey Brown is the Josef and Margot Lakonishok Endowed Professor in Business and Dean of the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also serves as a professor of finance and was the founding director of the Center for Business and Public Policy. He is the Director of the Retirement Research Center at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in Cambridge, MA.  He is a Trustee and chair of the Audit Committee for TIAA, where he also serves on the Risk and Compliance Committee and the Investment Committee. He also serves as a member of the Governing Board of the Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) and as Vice Chair of the Board of Managers of UI Singapore Research LLC. 

Brown has published extensively on public and private insurance markets, including articles in The American Economic Review, The Journal of Political Economy, The Journal of Finance, The Journal of Financial Economics, and numerous other journals and books.  He is the recipient of the Lumina Award for Outstanding Research in Insurance and E-Commerce, the Paul A. Samuelson Award for Outstanding Scholarly Writing on Lifelong Financial Security, the ARIA Early Career Scholarly Achievement Award, and the RIIA Achievement in Applied Retirement Research Award. He was also named a University Scholar by the University of Illinois in 2011. Brown has edited four books, the most recent of which explores how the Great Recession affected higher education. He is a co-founder and former co-editor of the Journal of Pension Economics and Finance and an associate editor of the Journal of Risk and Insurance. He has served as a consultant to numerous federal government agencies as well as many of the leading U.S. financial services firms. Prior to graduate school, he was a Brand Manager at the Procter & Gamble Company



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Robert Resek served as University Vice President for Academic Affairs from 1988 to 1995 where he was chief budget officer, and senior academic officer for the University. Resek focused his research as a professor on technical progress, investment behavior, the demand for money, risk analysis and regional economics. This research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the US State Department, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Board of Higher Education. In 1977 he became director of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research of the University where he published a quarterly Illinois Economic Review, an annual economic outlook and a statistical abstract of Illinois. As an advisor to Governor Jim Thompson, he organized a conference and book, The Midwest Economy: Issues and Policy. During his tenure, the bureau significantly expanded its role in analyzing the state economy including the development of significant forecasting capability for the state economy and state revenue.   He was active in the Association of University Business and Economic Research where he served as director, vice president, and president.

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Julian Reif is a member of the Subtance Use and Disorders Working Group at IGPA. His primary area of interest is health care economics, with a current research focus on the value of health and the effectiveness of social insurance programs. One of Professor Reif's recent papers argues that the societal value of medical technology is significantly larger than has previously been recognized, especially with respect to medical treatments for severe diseases. The paper also shows that medical treatments act as a form of insurance. Consequently, medical innovation policy can have a large impact on reducing health risks. Another recent paper finds that Medicare Part D, a prescription drug program for the elderly established by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, successfully reduced mortality following its implementation. He also studies energy and environmental policy, such as the gasoline tax, air pollution, and carbon emissions. His recent work in that area includes estimating the effect of air pollution on mortality, medical utilization, and healthcare costs. He finds that the reduction in air pollution over the past twenty years reduced elderly mortality, generating significant social benefits.



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Elizabeth T. Powers is a member of the IGPA working group on Education and Learning. She has conducted research on the incentive effects of public insurance programs, the effects of child health on maternal labor supply, employment effects of the minimum wage, and the caregiver labor market. Ongoing research projects are in the areas of children’s cognitive development, U.S.-Mexican migration, child support policy, work disability and the Disability Insurance program, and long-term care facilities. Professor Powers is the author of numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and received fellowships and awards for her scholarship from the University of Pennsylvania, Vassar College, the Brookings Institution, and the University of Illinois. She has been a principal investigator on numerous grants.



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James Kuklinski’s primary interests include the nature and quality of citizen decision-making, the relationship between public opinion and legislative policymaking, and the use of experiments in social scientific research.


In The News



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Geoffrey J.D. Hewings is a member of the Working Group on the Fiscal Health of Illinois. His major research efforts are directed toward modeling of urban, regional and interregional economic systems. Much of this work is based on a set of econometric-input-output models that have been developed for several metropolitan areas and states in the United States as well as several regions in Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and Japan. Hewings is the founder of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.



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J. Fred Giertz's major research interests are in the areas of public finance and regional economic development. He specializes in state and local taxation and expenditure analysis and in regional economic development issues. He has consulted with a number of state agencies and writes frequently on the Illinois budget and general economic issues in publications such as State Tax Notes and the Central Illinois Business Magazine. Giertz compiles the U of I Flash Index, a monthly indicator of the Illinois economy. Several recent articles have appeared in the National Tax Journal.

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Brian Gaines' research deals with all aspects of elections, electoral rules, and public opinion. Some of his recent work has dealt with campaign-finance fraud, pros and cons of convenience voting, inference from survey experiments, and assessing bias in electoral maps, and has appeared in such outlets as the American Statistician, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Analysis, and State Politics and Policy Quarterly.  He has published op eds in many newspapers in Illinois, the San Jose Mercury News, and the Wall Street Journal. He follows politics in the United States, Canada, the UK, Germany, and, to a lesser extent, Europe and Australia. Two of his major projects at present are a multi-nation survey about parties and partisanship and a study of public opinion about fairness in taxes.