Professor Wallis received his PhD in economics from the University of Washington in 1981. After a post-doctoral fellowship at the University Chicago, he came to the University of Maryland Department of Economics in 1983. He has been a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research since 1989.

Professor Wallis is an economic historian who specializes in the public finance of American governments, constitutional development, and more generally on the institutional development of governments and economies. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in American Economic History (Economics 611 and 311), an undergraduate course on Economic History and Modern Development (Economics 412) and a graduate class on the theory of the state (Economics 613).

Recent publications include "Constitutions, Corporations, and Corruption."Journal of Economic History, March 2005, "The Concept of Systematic Corruption in American History" in Glaeser and Goldin, ed.Corruption and Reform: Lessons from America"s Economic History, University of Chicago Press, 2006, andViolence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History, with Douglass North and Barry Weingast,Cambridge University Press,2009.

Areas of Interest

  • Economic History
  • Public Finance of American Governments
  • The Institutional Development of Governments and Economies


  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    University of Washington, 1981
Course Name Course Title Semester Syllabus
ECON611 Origins and Development of Capitalism Spring 2023
ECON311 American Economic History Before the Civil War Spring 2022
ECON613 Origins and Development of Capitalism Spring 2022
ECON311 American Economic History Before the Civil War Fall 2021
ECON709 Advanced Topics in Applied and Theoretical Macroeconomics Spring 2021
ECON878 Workshop in Labor Economics Spring 2021
ECON611 Origins and Development of Capitalism Spring 2021
John Wallis
3101B Tydings Hall
Department of Economics
wallis [at]
Office Hours
Monday 3:30 PM - 4:00 PM; Wednesday 1:00 PM - 1:45 PM