R. Richard


Professor and Director of the Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy
251 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Ithaca, New York
Policy Analysis and Management
Cornell Institute for Public Affairs


Rick Geddes is Professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University and Director of the Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy. His research studies policies focused on the delivery of infrastructure projects in the transportation, water, and energy sectors. That includes funding, financing, public-private partnerships, and technology adoption.

Geddes is also a core faculty member of the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA)  and a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He is a Research Fellow with the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University.

Geddes has held several visiting and advisory positions. He was 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 commissioner on the National Surface Transportation Policy & Revenue Study Commission. Geddes was also a Fulbright Senior Scholar during the  2009-2010 academic year to study transportation public-private partnerships in Australia, and a Visiting Faculty Fellow at Yale Law School during the 1995-1996 academic year. He has advised numerous Fortune 500 companies, including United Parcel Service and CSX. He has testified numerous times before House and Senate committees.

Geddes’ publications have appeared in numerous academic journals, including in Nature, the American Economic Review, Journal of Regulatory Economics, Journal of Legal Studies, Journal of Law & Economics, Transportation Research Part E, and Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, among others.  

Geddes has won numerous teaching and advising awards, including three Merrill Presidential Scholars Awards for Outstanding Educator, and a SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. 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.

Geddes’ research examines policies addressing the funding, financing, and regulation of large infrastructure systems. He focuses on the energy, water, and transportation sectors.

Key research topics include private investment in the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of U.S. infrastructure through public-private partnerships, or PPPs. That also includes improving 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.

Additional interests include postal and delivery economics, and policies affecting governance in large, publicly traded corporations.

“Using Technology to Eliminate Traffic Congestion,” Nature, commentary section (in press) joint with Peter Cramton and Axel Ockenfels.

“Climate-Adaptive Planning for the Long-Term Resilience of Transportation Fuel Supply Chain,” Transportation Research Part E, (in press), joint with A. Beheshtian and K. P. Donaghy and O.H. Gao.

“The Favorability of U.S. PPP Enabling Legislation and Private Investment in Transportation Infrastructure,” Utilities Policy, Vol. 48, (October 2017): 157-165, joint with Eoin Reeves.

“The Determinants of Tendering Periods for PPP Procurement in the UK: An Empirical Analysis,” Applied Economics Vol. 49, No. 11 (2016): 1071-1082, joint with E. Reeves, D. Palcic, and D. Flannery.

“How Much Vertical Integration? Contractual Choice and Public-Private Partnerships in the United States,” Review of Industrial Organization (2016) joint with Daniel Albalate and Germà Bel.

“Social Welfare Analysis for Alternative Investment Public-Private Partnership Approaches.” Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Vol. 88 (2016): 86-103, joint with Omid M. Rouhani and H. Oliver 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.

“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.

“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.

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


My research focuses primarily on public policies to improve the funding, financing, operation, maintanance of both civil and social infrastructure. I also study technology adoption in infrastructure. I focus on the transportation, water and energy sectors. Topics include innovative financing approaches such as public-private partnerships (PPPs), as well as emerging funding approaches such as road-usage charges. 

Specific research topics include street-lighting PPPs, state-level public-private partnership enabling laws, project bundling and PPPs, and new types of public-private partnerships. That includes policies to encourage investment in infrastructure, life-cycle asset maintenance of infrastructure, and the state-level drivers of investment in transportation infrastructure.

My current public engagement efforts are undertaken through my position as Director of the Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy, or CPIP. CPIP public engagement activities include hosting events related to current infrastructure policy topics, facilitating interactions between the 40-member CPIP Advisory Board and Cornell students, and hosting CPIP executives-in-residence on campus.

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. It also includes  advising students on both class and career matters, and to putting them in touch with industry professionals.


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

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

Director, Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy (CPIP), 2012 to the present
Core Faculty Member, Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, January 2012 to present
PAM Representative to the Cornell Faculty Senate, 2011 to 2014
Human Ecology Nominations Committee, 2014
Cornell College of Human Ecology Nominations Committee, 2013-2014