Christopher Cotton holds the Jarislowsky-Deutsch Chair in Economic & Financial Policy in the Department of Economics. Prof. Cotton focuses on applying rigorous research methods from economics to gain insights into pressing public policy questions. He is a leading international expert on lobbying, political influence and campaign finance reform, and has also worked extensively on the evaluation of education policies and international development projects. His research publishes in top scientific journals such as the American Economic Review, Journal of Public Economics, and Management Science, and has included seminal papers on several topics including lobbying, education, and public good provision.
Much of Prof. Cotton’s research and service encourages the incorporation of better evidence into policy decisions. He serves as the Director of the John Deutsch Institute for the Study of Economic Policy, a research institute that focuses on supporting and promoting policy-relevant research at Queen’s. He is also one of the lead developers behind the new CPIA program at Queen’s, which teaches professionals at NGOs, governments, and international development agencies how to effectively incorporate evidence and evaluation into the design and financing of their projects. Prof. Cotton regularly provides advice to governments and NGOs about the potential impact of different policies and the best methods for evaluating projects. He has been involved with the design and evaluation of several major international development projects and is currently overseeing the evaluation of a large Girls Education Challenge project in Zimbabwe funded by the Department for International Development UK. He is the recent recipient of a SSHRC grant to study how donors choose between multiple charitable projects.
Prof. Cotton is also an enthusiastic teacher and adviser. He advises many Ph.D. and M.A. students, and won the department’s award for undergraduate teaching.