Don Bruce

As the new director of the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, Bruce strives to put pertinent economic research in the hands of decision makers.

Boyd Center for Business & Economic Research, Economics - Faculty

When Don Bruce joined the Haslam College of Business in 1999, he brought a commitment to explore topics that affect the lives of those around him. With a joint appointment in the Department of Economics and the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, Bruce provides public policy research on topics ranging from taxation to healthcare.

“As a new faculty member, I wanted to have policy-relevant research,” Bruce says. “The Boyd Center provides not only an opportunity, but also a responsibility, to provide research on relevant issues.”

This year, Bruce continues his commitment as he moves into the center’s top leadership role. In July, he transitioned from associate director to director for the Boyd Center, taking over for Boyd Distinguished Professor Emeritus Bill Fox, who now serves as special advisor to Chancellor Donde Plowman.

“It’s an honor to continue to build on Bill’s work and legacy in the center,” says Bruce, who was named the Randy and Jenny Boyd Distinguished Professor.

During his time at the center, Bruce has held the Douglas and Brenda Horne Professorship in Business and served as UT’s faculty athletics representative to the SEC and NCAA. He recently was elected national president of the 1A Faculty Athletics Representatives and was appointed to the NCAA Division 1 Council. He also serves on the editorial board of the National Tax Journal and is an associate editor for Public Finance Review.

Bruce’s research has focused on topics such as federal, state and local tax policy; entrepreneurship and self-employment; welfare policy; housing; and the economics of e-commerce. His work has been used by several Tennessee government agencies, including the Office of the Governor, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Transportation and the Higher Education Commission. His work through the center has helped shape policies that provide needed resources for many residents in Tennessee.

“These aren’t abstract policies,” Bruce says. “These are core pieces that matter to us and our neighbors. It is a privilege to serve the state in this way.”

The center’s faculty and staff are working together to accomplish big goals, planning what the center will look like in 10 years and beyond. This includes continuing the Boyd Center’s path as a preeminent university-based public policy research center with expertise and scholarship in taxation, education, healthcare and applied macroeconomics.

“My hope is that we continue to generate return on the investment in the Boyd Center and provide value to the people of Tennessee,” Bruce says.

At the heart of this plan is the commitment to serve.

“It’s about making sure that policymakers have the very best information in their hands when they make decisions about our daily lives,” Bruce says. “I believe deeply in taking cutting-edge academic research to the halls of congress, to the capital, to the governor – wherever we can be helpful.”