IGPA Director

Director; Group Chair: Working Group on Substance Use Disorders

Robin Fretwell Wilson was appointed director of IGPA in February 2020 after seven years in the College of Law where she is the Mildred Van Voorhis Jones Chair in Law and served as associate dean for public engagement. Robin also is the leader of the Working Group on Substance Use Disorders. Her research interests include biomedical ethics, law and religion, children and violence and law and science.

Senior Scholar

Gutgsell Professor of Finance

Don Fullerton is a member of the Fiscal Health of Illinois working group. He researches energy and environmental policy issues, including household garbage and recycling behavior, air and water quality regulation, and climate change policy.  He studies the economic effects of these regulations including their cost effectiveness, the distribution of their burdens, and the interactions between environmental policy and other tax policy.


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.


Rachel Gordon chairs IGPA’s Working Group on Education and Learning. Her research broadly aims to measure and model the contexts of children and families’ lives, often using longitudinal data sets. She has examined numerous contextual and social factors that affect children and families. Some of her work examines the use of child care and preschool quality measures for high-stakes policy purposes, the health outcomes of child care and maternal employment, and the implications of teenagers’ looks for their social and academic achievement.

Professor, Department of Sociology

Maria Krysan is a professor in the Department of Sociology at Chicago and is an expert on survey methods, focusing her research on racial residential segregation and attitudes toward race. She has compiled results of several national surveys that track Americans' attitudes toward race from as early as the 1940s into IGPA's Trends in Racial Attitudes website.

James J. Stukel Presidential Professor

David F. Merriman is the leader of IGPA's Working Group on the Fiscal Health of Illinois. His major area of study is state and local public finance. Merriman directs The Fiscal Futures Project, which created and maintains of a comprehensive and consistently defined measure of the Illinois state budget.  He has published extensively about the effect of tax increment finance policy on local economic growth and the determinants of tobacco tax avoidance. He has also studied Walmart’s impact on urban economic development. His most recent research concerns state and local business taxation.

W. Russell Arrington Professor of State Politics

Christopher Z. Mooney is IGPA's W. Russell Arrington Professor of State Politics and is appointed to the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He served as director of IGPA from 2013 through mid-2017. He studies comparative U.S. state politics, with special focus on state legislatures and is a noted experts on term limits legislation. In September 2017, he was elected to a two-year term as president of the State Politics and Policy Section of the American Political Science Association.

Associate Professor

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.

Assistant Professor

Julian Reif is an assistant professor in the Department of Finance at the College of Business in Urbana-Champaign and has been part of the IGPA faculty since 2012. He researches health care economics and spends time on environmental policy and the effect of taxation on environmental and climate policy. He is co-leader of IGPA's Climate Change policy initiative, and also holds a position as a research economist at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Working Group Member

Dean, College of Business and William G. Karnes Professor of Finance

Jeffrey Brown is a member of IGPA's working group on the Fiscal Health of Illinois. He also is dean of the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a nationally known expert on retirement policy. He serves as associate director of the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Retirement Research Center. Brown's research focuses on public and private insurance markets, pensions and retirement savings plans. He once served as a senior economist on the White House Council of Economic Advisers.