Edgar O. Olsen

Professor and Chairman, Economics Department, University of Virginia

Ed Olsen is a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Virginia, where he has served as chairman of the economics department and more recently has been heavily involved in the creation and development of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.  He received his doctorate from Rice University and has been a postdoctoral fellow at Indiana University, an economist at the Rand Corporation, a project associate in the Institute for Research on Poverty and a visiting professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Wisconsin, and a visiting scholar at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Ed’s teaching and research has focused on public policy issues, especially concerning the welfare system.  Within this broad area, his research specialty is low-income housing policy.  He has published papers on housing markets and policies in professional journals such as the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Public Economics, Regional Science and Urban Economics, and Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, and he wrote the chapter on empirical housing economics in the North-Holland Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics and the chapter on low-income housing programs in the National Bureau of Economic Research volume on means-tested transfers in the United States.

Ed has testified on low-income housing policy before Congressional committees five times, has been an expert witness on the topic in two major class-action lawsuits, has been a consultant to HUD during six administrations, and was a member of the 2007 National Academy of Sciences’s Committee to Evaluate the Research Plan of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  He is currently a member of the MTO Technical Review Panel.  Ed served on the Board of Editors of the American Economic Review from 1985 through 1991.  He was Vice President of the Southern Economic Association from 2003 to 2005 and served two terms on the Board of Trustees of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association.