R. Richard Geddes


R. Richard Geddes

Professor and Director of the Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy
251 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Phone: 607-255-8391 Fax: 607-255-4071
Email: rrg24@cornell.edu
View Cornell University Contact Info
Curriculum Vitae
Biographical Statement:

Rick Geddes is Associate Professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University and a core faculty member of the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA). He is a founding director of the Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy, or CPIP and a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Geddes is also a Research Fellow with the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University. His research focuses on policies toward the funding and financing of major infrastructure projects in the transportation and water sectors.

Geddes has held many visiting and advisory positions. He was a Visiting Faculty Fellow at Yale Law School during the 1995-1996 academic year, and the Edward Teller National Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution during the 1999-2000 academic year. He served as a senior economist at the Council of Economic Advisors during the 2004-2005 academic year, and was a presidentially appointed commissioner on the National Surface Transportation Policy & Revenue Study Commission.  Geddes was a Fulbright Senior Scholar visiting in Australia in 2009-2010 to study transportation public-private partnerships, and has advised numerous Fortune 500 companies, including United Parcel Service and CSX. He has testified over a dozen times before House and Senate committees.

Geddes’ publications have appeared in numerous academic journals, including the American Economic Review, Journal of Regulatory Economics, Journal of Legal Studies, Journal of Law & Economics, and Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, among others.  He teaches courses at Cornell on infrastructure policy, corporate governance, microeconomics, and the regulation of industry. Geddes holds MA and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the University of Chicago, and a BS in economics and finance from Towson State University.

Teaching and Advising Statement:

My teaching philosophy is designed to meet the needs of Cornell students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. It includes the following three components: (i) careful preparation of and background reading on all material presented in class; (ii) making the material relevant by including current events, real-world examples, guest speakers, and interactions with industry practitioners; and (iii) facilitation of personal interactions with students and a focus on individualized attention. I am also available to help advise students on both class and career matters, which they greatly appreciate.  

Current Professional Activities:

My current professional activities focus on researching public policies toward the funding and financing of physical infrastructure, with an emphasis on the transportation, water and energy sectors. This includes innovative financing approaches such as public-private partnerships. Specific research topics include state-level public-private partnership enabling laws, new types of public-private partnerships designed to increase investment in infrastructure, life-cycle asset maintenance of infrastructure, and the state-level drivers of investment in transportation infrastructure.

Program Committee Member, 19th Annual Conference of the International Society for New Institutional Economics (ISNIE), Harvard Law School, Harvard University (June 2015)

Current Research Activities:

Geddes’ research focuses on policies addressing the regulation of large infrastructure systems, including energy, water, and transportation systems. A main research forces is on private investment in the design, construction, financing, operation and renovation and construction of U.S. infrastructure through public-private partnerships, or PPPs. Specific concerns include life-cycle maintenance of infrastructure assets, the impact of state-level PPP enabling laws, and the effect of operation-and-maintenance road concessions on traffic safety. Geddes is also studying policies that have effectively attracted infrastructure investment in other countries. Additional interests include postal and delivery economics, and policies affecting governance in large, publicly traded corporations.

Current Public Engagement Activities:

My current public engagement efforts are undertaken mainly through my position as Director of the Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy (CPIP). CPIP public engagement activities include hosting events related to infrastructure policy, such as a panel discussion on the new, wider Panama Canal and a symposium on public-private partnerships, both in New York City. They also include offering continuing education related to innovative infrastructure finance. 


PhD, University of Chicago (Economics) 1991, Dissertation: “Managerial Tenure and Monitoring in Publicly and Privately Owned Electric Utilities”
MA, University of Chicago (Economics) 1987
BS, Towson State University (Economics and Finance) 1984, Magna cum Laude

Courses Taught:

PAM 2000: Intermediate Microeconomics
PAM 3170 and PAM 5170: Market Regulation & Public Policy
PAM 3340 and PAM 5334: Corporations, Shareholders & Policy
PAM 4640 and PAM 5340: Regulation & Infrastructure Policy
PAM 4330: Topics in Corporations and Policy
PAM 3400: Economics of Consumer Policy

Related Websites:




Administrative Responsibilities:

Director, Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy (CPIP), 2012 to the present
PAM Representative to the Cornell Faculty Senate, 2011 to 2014
Human Ecology Nominations Committee, 2014
Program Committee, 18th Annual Conference of the International Society for New Institutional Economics (ISNIE), Boston 2015
Cornell College of Human Ecology Nominations Committee, 2013-2014
PAM representative to the Faculty Senate, 2012 to the present

Selected Publications:

“Social Welfare Analysis for Alternative Investment Public-Private Partnership Approaches.” Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, (in press) joint with O. M. Rouhani and O. Gao.

"Public-Private Partnerships and Contract Choice in India’s Water and Wastewater Sectors" Public Works Management & Policy Vol. 21, No. 1 (2015): 71-96, joint with Sri Vedachalam and Susan Riha.

“Risk Mitigation and Sharing in Motorway PPPs: A Comparative Policy Analysis of Alternative Approaches,” Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, Vol. 17Issue 5 (2015), joint with joint with Daniel Albalate, Paula Bel and Germà Bel.

“Policy Lessons for Regulating Public-Private Partnership Tolling Schemes in Urban Environments.” Transport Policy, Vol. 41 (July 2015): 68–79 joint with Omid M. Rouhani and H. Oliver Gao.

“The Determinants of Contractual Choice for Private Involvement in Infrastructure Projects,” Public Money & Management, Vol. 35, No. 1 (January 2014), joint with Daniel Albalate and Germà Bel.

 “Why do U.S. States Adopt Public-Private Partnership Enabling Legislation?” Journal of Urban Economics, Vol. 78 (2013): 30-41, joint with Benjamin L. Wagner

“Recovery Risk and Labor Costs in Public-Private Partnerships: Contractual Choice in the US Water Industry,” Local Government Studies Vol. 39, No. 3 (2013): 332-351, joint with Germà Bel and Daniel Albalate.

  “Passage of the Married Women’s Property Acts and Earnings Acts in the United States: 1850 to 1920,” Research in Economic History; Vol. 29 (2013): 145–189, with Sharon Tennyson.

“Human Capital Accumulation and the Expansion of Women’s Property Rights,” November 2012, Journal of Law & Economics, with Sharon Tennyson and Dean Lueck

“Pricing by State-Owned Enterprises: The Case of Postal Services” Managerial and Decision Economics Vol. 29: 575-591 (2008).

 "Policy Watch: Reform of the U.S. Postal Service," Journal of Economic Perspectives 19:3 (Summer 2005) 217-232.

“Municipalizing American Waterworks, 1897-1915,” Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization 19:2 (Fall 2003) 373-400, with Werner Troesken.

“The Gains from Self-Ownership and the Expansion of Women’s Rights,” American Economic Review 92:4 (September 2002) 1079-92, with Dean Lueck.

“CEO Tenure, Board Composition, and Regulation,” Journal of Regulatory Economics 21:2 (2002) 217-235, with H. D. Vinod.

"Public Utilities," in Encyclopedia of Law and Economics, Vol. III: The Regulation of Contracts, Geerit De Geest and Boudewijn Bouckaert, eds., London: Edward Elgar (2000) 1162-1205.

“The Economic Effects of Postal Reorganization, Journal of Regulatory Economics 13 (1998) 139-156.

"Ownership, Regulation, and Managerial Monitoring in the Electric Utility Industry," Journal of Law and Economics 40:1 (April 1997) 261-288.

"CEO Age and Outside Directors: A Hazard Analysis," Review of Industrial Organization 12 (December 1997) 767-780, with H.D. Vinod.

"Emerging Issues in the Regulation of Electric Utilities," Resources and Energy 14 (1992) 3-35, with Peter H. Griffes et al.

"The Electric Utility Industry: New Challenges and Old Questions," Resources and Energy 12 (1990) 1-15, with Peter H. Griffes.

Selected Keywords:
Infrastructure funding and financing, Public-private partnerships, Corporate governance, Public utility regulation, Postal and delivery economics, Antitrust law and economics

The information on this bio page is taken from the CHE Annual Report.