Robert P. Inman

Robert P. Inman
  • Richard King Mellon Professor of Finance
  • Professor of Business Economics & Public Policy
  • Professor of Real Estate

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    2257 Steinberg-Dietrich Hall
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: political economy, public finance, urban fiscal policy

Overview

Education

PhD, Harvard University, 1971; MEd, Harvard University, 1967; AB, Harvard University, 1964

Recent Consulting

Tax policy, City of Philadelphia, 1988-98; Municipal finance, Chemical Bank, 1989-90; Citicorp, 1980; Regulation of public enterprise, UPS, 1986-87; Federal tax policy, U.S. Treasury, 1985; Pension Policy, California, 1994; National Academy of Sciences panel Member, “Demographic and Economic Imparts of Immigration,” 1995-97; Fiscal policy, republic of South Africa, 1994-2000; World Bank, 1994-present; National Academy of Sciences panel member, “Estimating Eligibility and Participation for the WIC Program,” 2001-2003; Member, Mayor’s Council of Economic Advisors, Philadelphia, 2002-present

Career and Recent Professional Awards; Teaching Awards

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellow, 1976; Fellow, Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, 1992-93; Fulbright Florence Chair of Economics, European University Institute, Florence, Italy; Undergraduate Division Excellence in Teaching Award, 1992, 1994, 1998; Graduate Division Excellence in Teaching Award, 1997, 2000; The Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, 2000 (University of Pennsylvania); Helen Kardon Moss Anvil Award, 1978, 2001

Academic Positions Held

Wharton: 1980-present (Vice Dean and Director, Doctoral Programs, 2005-2009; named Richard King Mellon Professor of Finance, 2003). University of Pennsylvania: 1971-present. Visiting appointments: Chulalongkorn University, Thailand; Harvard University; Stanford University; University of California, Berkeley; University of London; Australian National University; European University Institute, Florence, Italy

Other Positions

Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research, 1981-present; Visiting Senior Research Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, 1980, 1982-1987, 1991-92, 1994, 1997, 2002

Professional Leadership 2005-2009

Associate Editor, Regional Science and Urban Economics, 1987-present; Executive Committee, International Seminar in Public Economics, 1990- present; Associate Editor, Public Finance Quarterly, 1980-present

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Research

  • Robert P. Inman and Daniel L. Rubinfield (Working), Understanding the Democratic Transition in South Africa.

  • Robert P. Inman (Working), Federalism's Values and the Value of Federalism.

  • Steven Craig, Andrew Haughwout, Robert P. Inman, Thomas Luce (2004), Local Revenue Hills: Evidence from Four U.S. Cities, The Review of Economics and Statistics, 86(2): 570-585.

  • Robert P. Inman, Transfers and Bailouts: Enforcing Local Fiscal Discipline with Lessons from U.S. Federalism (2003)

  • Robert P. Inman (2002), Should Suburbs Help Their Central Cities?, Brookings-Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs, 2002.

  • Andrew Haughwout and Robert P. Inman (2001), Fiscal Policies in Open Cities With Firms and Households, Regional Science and Urban Economcis, Vol. 31 (Issues 2-3), pp. 147-180. 10.1016/S0166-0462(00)00059-4

    Abstract: This paper provides an equilibrium numerical model of an open city economy with mobile firms and resident workers. Given household preferences and firm technologies and an exogenous configuration of city tax rates and national grants and fiscal mandates, the model calculates equilibrium values for aggregate city economic activity, factor prices, and finally, local tax bases, revenues, and public goods provision. The model is calibrated to the Philadelphia economy for Fiscal Year 1998. We then explore the economic and fiscal consequences of raising city tax rates and the city’s ability to finance rising local welfare payments. We find the city to be incapable of bearing significant increases in local responsibility for welfare transfers.

  • Robert P. Inman (1999), Changing the Price of Pork: The Impact of Local Cost Sharing on Legislators' Demands for Distributive Public Goods, Journal of Public Economics, (February 1999). 10.1016/S0047-2727(98)00071-1

    Abstract: The provision of public services through national legislatures gives legislators the chance to fund locally beneficial public projects using a shared national tax base. Nationally financed and provided local (congestible) public goods will be purchased at a subsidized price below marginal cost and may be inefficiently too large as a consequence. An important assumption behind this inefficiency is that national legislators in fact demand more of the locally beneficial project as the local price for projects declines. This paper provides the first direct test of this important assumption using legislators' project choices following the passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 (WRDA'86). We find legislators' chosen water project sizes do fall as the local cost share rises, with a price elasticity of demand ranging from ?0.81 for flood control and shoreline protection projects to ?2.55 for large navigation projects. The requirement of WRDA'86 that local taxpayers contribute a greater share to the funding of local water projects reduced overall proposed project spending in our sample by 35% and the federal outlay for proposed project spending by 48%.

  • Robert P. Inman (1997), Rethinking Federalism, Journal of Economic Perspectives, (Fall 1997).

Teaching

Past Courses

  • BEPP230 - URBAN FISCAL POLICY

    The purpose of this course is to examine the financing of governments in the urban economy. Topics to be covered include the causes and consequences of the urban fiscal crisis, the design of optimal tax and spending policies for local governments, funding of public infrastructures and the workings of the municipal bond market, privatization of government services, and public financial systems for emerging economies. Applications include analyses of recent fiscal crises, local services and taxes as important determinants of real estate prices, the infrastructure crisis, financing and the provision of public education, and fiscal constitutions for new democracies using South Africa as an example.

  • BEPP773 - URBAN FISCAL POLICY

    The purpose of this course is to examine the financing of governments in the urban economy. Topics to be covered include the causes and consequences of the urban fiscal crisis, the design of optimal tax and spending policies for local governments, funding of public infrastructures and the workings of the municipal bond market, privatization of government services, and public financial systems for emerging economies. Applications include analyses of recent fiscal crises, local services and taxes as important determinants of real estate prices, the infrastructure crisis, financing and the provision of public education, and fiscal constitutions for new democracies using South Africa as an example.

  • FNCE230 - URBAN FISCAL POLICY

    The purpose of this course is to examine the financing of governments in the urban economy. Topics to be covered include the causes and consequences of the urban fiscal crisis, the design of optimal tax and spending policies for local governments, funding of public infrastructures and the workings of the municipal bond market, privatization of government services, and public financial systems for emerging economies. Applications include analyses of recent fiscal crises, local services and taxes as important determinants of real estate prices, the infrastructure crisis, financing and the provision of public education, and fiscal constitutions for new democracies using South Africa as an example.

  • FNCE730 - URBAN FISCAL POLICY

    The purpose of this course is to examine the financing of governments in the urban economy. Topics to be covered include the causes and consequences of the urban fiscal crisis, the design of optimal tax and spending policies for local governments, funding of public infrastructures and the workings of the municipal bond market, privatization of government services, and public financial systems for emerging economies. Applications include analyses of recent fiscal crises, local services and taxes as important determinants of real estate prices, the infrastructure crisis, financing and the provision of public education, and fiscal constitutions for new democracies using South Africa as an example.

  • FNCE899 - INDEPENDENT STUDY

    Independent Study Projects require extensive independent work and a considerable amount of writing. ISP in Finance are intended to give students the opportunity to study a particular topic in Finance in greater depth than is covered in the curriculum. The application for ISP's should outline a plan of study that requires at least as much work as a typical course in the Finance Department that meets twice a week. At a minimum, we need a description of the methodology you intend to employ, a bibliography and description of the data that you will use as well as a list of interim deliverables and dates to ensure that you complete the project within the semester. Applications for FNCE 899 ISP's will not be accepted after the THIRD WEEK OF THE SEMESTER. You must submit your Finance ISP request using the Finance Department's ISP form located at https://fnce.wharton.upenn.edu under the Course ISP section

  • REAL230 - URBAN FISCAL POLICY

    The purpose of this course is to examine the financing of governments in the urban economy. Topics to be covered include the causes and consequences of the urban fiscal crisis, the design of optimal tax and spending policies for local governments, funding of public infrastructures and the workings of the municipal bond market, privatization of government services, and public financial systems for emerging economies. Applications include analyses of recent financial crises, local services and taxes as important determinants of real estate prices, the infrastructure crises, financing and the provision of public education, and fiscal constitutions for new democracies using South Africa as an example.

  • REAL730 - URBAN FISCAL POLICY

    The purpose of this course is to examine the financing of governments in the urban economy. Topics to be covered include the causes and consequences of the urban fiscal crisis, the design of optimal tax and spending policies for local governments, funding of public infrastructures and the workings of the municipal bond market, privatization of government services, and public financial systems for emerging economies. Applications include analyses of recent fiscal crises, local services and taxes as important determinants of real estate prices, the infrastructure crises, financing and the provision of public education, and fiscal constitutions for new democracies using South Africa as an example.

  • REAL899 - INDEPENDENT STUDY

    All independent studies must be arranged and approved by a Real Estate Department faculty member.

  • WH 299 - HONORS THESIS

    This seminar takes place over two semesters and provides students with the skills to perform their own research under the guidance of a Wharton faculty member. At the conclusion of the fall semester, students will produce a thesis proposal including literature review, significance of the research, methodology, and exploratory data if relevant. Throughout the fall semester faculty guests from a range of disciplines will present on their research in class, highlighting aspects that are relevant to the work students are engaging in at that point. During the second semester, students will collect and analyze data and write up the results in close collaboration with their faculty mentor. At the end of the spring semester, each student will present their research in a video presentation. Throughout the course, students will work individually, in small groups, and under the mentorship of a Wharton faculty member. The goal is to becomes capable independent researchers who incorporate feedback and critical (self-) analysis to take their research to the next level.

In the News

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Activity

Latest Research

Robert P. Inman and Daniel L. Rubinfield (Working), Understanding the Democratic Transition in South Africa.
All Research

In the News

Bigger Than Potholes: Why Fixing America’s Infrastructure Should Be a Priority

Infrastructure projects are expensive, divisive and downright complicated -- but they're also critical to the health of the U.S. economy, says Wharton’s Robert Inman.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 2018/06/22
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