William Kern

William Kern

Dr. William Kern

Undergraduate Advisor
Ph.D., Colorado State University, 1982

5303 Friedmann Hall

(269) 387-5554

Areas of Interest

History of Economic Thought; Comparative Economic Systems; and Sports Economics


Professor Kern teaches courses in introductory micro and macroeconomics (ECON 2010 and 2020), comparative economic systems (ECON 4840) and the history of economic thought (ECON 3050). The latter two courses are the Department's writing intensive courses. 


Professor Kern's recent research has been focused on sports economics. Recent papers have examined the impact of universities' athletic success on state appropriations to universities and on tuition rates. Professor Kern has also investigated various aspects of the economics of professional golf, in particular the impact of technological changes in golf on the returns to various golfing skills such as putting and driving accuracy and length. Other sports related research has focused on the determinants of the values of pro sports franchises and the impact of pro sports teams on local economies. The other primary area of research for Professor Kern is the history of economic thought. He has published a number of papers on the work of Frank Knight, particularly on various aspects of Knight's moral philosophy. In addition he has conducted research on several aspects of Classical Economic thinking such as their views on welfare reform, the role of population growth on economic growth and innovation, and their views on social status.  

Selected Publications

The Economics of Natural and Unnatural Disasters, W.S. Kern, editor. W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2010.

"The impact of athletic performance on tuition rates" with Don Alexander, International Journal of Sport Finance, Vol.4, No.4, 240-254. November, 2009.

"Drive for Show and Putt for Dough? An Analysis of the Earnings of PGA Tour Golfers," with Don Alexander, Journal of Sports Economics, (February 2005): 46-60.

"The Economic Determinants of Professional Sports Franchise Values", with Don Alexander. Journal of Sports Economics, Vol.5, February 2004.

"McCulloch, Scrope, and Hodgskin: Nineteenth-Century Versions of Julian Simon", Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Vol.25, September 2003.

"Classical Economic Man: Was He Interested in Keeping Up with the Joneses?" Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Vol.23, 3, 2001.

Valuing the Consumption Benefits from Sports Franchises and Facilities" with D. Alexander and J. Neill, Journal of Urban Economics, 48, 2000.

The Economics of Sports: Winners and Losers, W.S. Kern, editor, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2000.

"The Heterodox Economics of 'The Most Orthodox of Orthodox Economists': Frank H. Knight," The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, July, 1997.

"Current Welfare Reform: A Return to the Principles of 1834," Journal of Economic Issues, June 1998.

"Frank H. Knight: Archetypical Conservative Economist," Modern Age, Spring 1993.

From Socialism to Market Economy: The Transition Problem, (ed.) W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 1992.

"The End of Scarcity and the Art of Living: The Complementary Vision of Knight and Keynes", in Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, 1990, vol. 8, 1990.

"The Law of Matter and Energy Conservation in the History of Economic Thought," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Spring 1990.

"Frank Knight's Skeptical View of Economic Education", Journal of Economic Education, No. 2, Spring, 1990.  


Department of Economics
5307 Friedmann Hall
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008 USA
(269) 387-5535 | (269) 387-5637 Fax