Christopher Cotton
Professor and Jarislowsky-Deutsch Chair in Economic & Financial Policy

Queen’s University

I am a Professor in the Department of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (primary appointment). I am also a cross-appointed Professor in both the Queen’s School of Policy Studies and the Translational Medicine Graduate Program in the Queen’s School of Medicine. I serve as the Director of the John Deutsch Institute for the Study of Economic Policy (JDI) at Queen’s, Co-Director of the One Society Network for infectious disease research, and a co-owner and Director of Research at Limestone Analytics.

Much of my research focuses on collecting and applying better evidence across a variety of environments, including education, health, development, business strategy, and politics. I often focus on improving outcomes for marginalized groups. I use field and lab experiments, game theory, and empirical analysis in my work.

Research Updates

Recent Policy & Outreach

  • Limestone Analytics, a consulting firm, which helps clients assess the feasibility, financing and impact of their projects, programs and policies as they work towards advancing Sustainable Development Goals. Its client list includes some of the world’s leading NGOs, foundations & governments. I am a co-owner and have helped build the firm since 2017. Officially I serve as Quality Assurance Officer, Senior Research Economist, and Team Lead on several evaluation and advising projects.
  • Director, John Deutsch Institute for the Study of Economic Policy at Queen’s University, which supports policy-relevant academic research, and builds connections between researchers and policymakers.
  • Co-Director of the NSERC funded One Society Network, building connections between economists, epidemiologists and public health officials.
  • 2020-present, advised governments and policy groups on the impact of COVID-19 and public health policies. This involved helping lead the development of the STUDIO Model, which has been applied across Canada and in other countries, including having co-authored numerous policy briefs, reports, and dashboards comparing economic costs under alternative policy strategies for provincial, federal & international policymakers. This also included serving as a member of the Royal Society of Canada working group on economic recovery (2020-2021), Global Canada’s COVID Strategic Choices Group (2020-2021) and the efforts behind the “Canadian Shield” policy response proposal, and the Canadian Digital Technology Supercluster’s Looking Glass project to combine economic and epidemiological modeling (2020-2021).
  • 2007-2021 Lead evaluator for the IGATE-T Girls’ Education Challenge project in Zimbabwe funded by World Vision & the UK Govt (midline report is here)
  • Numerous media appearances in print, radio and television regarding the economic impact of COVID-19

Teaching & Advising

  • Ph.D. student on the job market: my student Ardyn Nordstrom runs major development evaluations and uses machine learning, text mining, and remote sensing methods to develop better outcome measures. She accepted a tenure track position in the School of Policy Studies at Carleton University.
  • Professional Program: co-developer and professor for the Certified Professional Impact Analyst program at Queen’s, which teaches professionals from government and the social sector how to make use of evidence in the planning, financing, and evaluation of programs and policies
  • MPA & PMPA Program: Led the redesign of the core economics courses for the MPA & PMPA programs in the Queen’s School of Policy Studies. Focus is on the practical use of economics tools to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of policies and programs. Currently co-instructor for these courses.
  • Cross-appointments: In addition to my home in the Department of Economics, I am on the faculty with the Queen’s School of Policy Studies and the Queen’s School of Medicine’s Translational Medicine Graduate Program as a cross-appointment Professor.
  • Postdocs: I’m currently supervising three post-docs at Queen’s. Md Moshi Ul Alam works on labor, public and development. Frederic Tremblay works on macro and development. Nabil Afodjo works on network effects and education.
  • USAID Courses: Led team to develop a new course for USAID education staff on the financing of education systems and programs, including public financial management, private sector engagement, and innovative finance. 2019-2021