John Merrifield, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Economics


  • Ph.D. University of Wyoming
  • M.A. University of Illinois
  • B.S. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo


Personal Faculty Website

Dr. Merrifield was a University of Texas at San Antonio faculty member for 32 years.  He retired from teaching and faculty meetings to devote additional time to critical research issues, and to have more time with his wife and ‘high-maintenance’ teenage adopted boys.

He’s the Editor of the School System Reform Journal, and past editor of the Journal of School Choice. He has just published School System Reform: Why and How is a Price-less Tale, plus Can the Debt Growth be Stopped, The School Choice Wars, School Choices, Parental Choice as an Education Reform Catalyst: Global Lessons, Basic Economic Tools, 55 peer-reviewed journal articles and several chapters in edited books in his primary teaching and research fields of education economics, public finance, urban and regional economics and environmental and natural resource economics. Two books are in the works.

Dr. Merrifield received a BS in Natural Resource Management from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1977, a MA in Economic Geography from the University of Illinois in 1979 and a PhD in Economics from the University of Wyoming in 1984. Dr. Merrifield is a first generation German immigrant; born a Hamburger, and raised a Frankfurter (tall – John 6’6″). He came with his mother, (now) Dr. Doris Merrifield-Leffingwell, to the United States in 1960 at the age of five. He resides in downtown San Antonio, Texas with his wife Gayla, and their adopted human children, Christopher and Joshua (14 and 13), and their four-legged children, canines Ted, Lindsay and DeLorean.


Selected Publications

  • “A Dynamic Scoring Simulation Analysis of How TEL Design Choices Impact Government Expansion,” Journal of Economic and Financial Studies, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2016, pp. 60-68.
  • “Swedish and Swiss Fiscal Rule Outcomes Contain Key Lessons for the U.S.,” The Independent Review, Vol. 21, No. 2, Fall 2016, pp. 251-274.
  • “Can the Debt Growth be Stopped? Rules-Based Policy Options for Addressing the Federal Fiscal Crisis,” (with Barry Poulson), Lexington, MA: Lexington Press, 2016.
  • “Aquifer Storage Wellfield Assessment and Design Through Benefit-Cost-Sensibility Analysis,” Water Resources and Economics, Vol. 9, January 2015, pp. 80-93.
  • “A Private Universal Voucher Program’s Effects on Traditional Public Schools,” (with N. Gray and K. Adzima), Journal of Economics and Finance, Vol. 39, Issue 1, 2015, pp. 1-26.
  • “Aquifer Storage and Recovery Project Optimization Through User-Friendly Benefit-Cost Analysis,” Water Resources and Economics, 2014.
  • “State Fiscal Policies for Budget Stabilization and Economics Growth: A Dynamic Scoring Analysis,” with Poulson, Cato Journal, Vol. 34, No. 1, 2014, pp. 47-82.
  • “School Choice and Development: Evidence from the Edgewood Experiment,” with Gray, Cato Journal, Vol. 33, No. 1, 2013, pp. 127-142.
  • “Fiscal Notes for School Choice Programs: Issues, Past Practice and Moving Forward,” with Ford, Journal of School Choice, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2013, pp. 37-60.
  • “The Property Value Effects of Universal Tuition Vouchers,” with Adzima, Nesbit and Gunasekara, Journal of Housing Research, Vol. 20, No. 2, 2011, pp. 225-238.
  • “An Education Freedom Index,” Journal of School Choice, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2011, pp. 319-349.
  • “The Potential for System-Friendly K-12 Reform,” Cato Journal, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2009, pp. 373-387.
  • “The School Choice Evidence and its Significance,” Journal of School Choice, Vol. 2, No. 3, 2008, pp. 223-259.
  • “Groundwater Resources: The Transition from Capture to Allocation,” Policy Studies Review, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2000, pp. 105-124.
  • “State Government Expenditure Determinants and Tax Revenue Determinants Revisited,” Public Choice, Vol. 102, 2000, pp. 25-50.
  • “Monopsony Power in the Market for Teachers,” Journal of Labor Research, Vol. 20, No. 3, 199, pp. 377-391.
  • “A Market Approach to Conserving Biodiversity,” Ecological Economics, Vol. 16, 1996, pp. 217-226.