Mary A. Burke

photo of mary burke
Senior Economist
Research Department
T: 617-973-3066
F: 617-973-3957
Mary.Burke@bos.frb.org
 
Primary fields of research:
Social norms and social interactions, health economics, applied microeconomics

Mary Burke joined the research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston as an economist in September, 2005. Prior to joining the Bank she served as an assistant professor of economics at Florida State University and as a visiting professor of economics at Grinnell College.

Burke’s research concerns the impact of social influences on individual choices and market outcomes. She has published papers explaining the emergence of social norms in contracting, the influence of prominent surgeons in the diffusion of coronary stents, and the role of social norms in the rise of obesity in the United States. Among other research projects, she is currently working on papers that aim, respectively, to explain disparities in obesity by race and gender, and to measure the influence of peers versus teachers on academic achievement. Her research has been published in several scholarly journals, including American Economic Review, Journal of Monetary Economics, and Economic Inquiry. Burke holds a B.A. in mathematics from Brown University, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in economics from Johns Hopkins University.

  • Education
  • Work Experience
  • Publications

Education

Ph.D., Economics, The Johns Hopkins University, 1998

M.A., Economics, The Johns Hopkins University, 1994

B.A., Mathematics, magna cum laude, Brown University, 1988

Work Experience

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Senior Economist, 2007-
Economist, 2005-2006
Florida State University
Assistant Professor of Economics, 1998-2005
Grinnell College
Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics, 2002-2003
Johns Hopkins University
Research Assistant, 1996-1997
Instructor, 1993-1994
Teaching Assistant, 1992-1994
National Cathedral School
Mathematics Instructor, 1988-1991

Publications

Refereed journal articles

"Social Dynamics of Obesity," with Frank Heiland, Economic Inquiry, 45(3), July 2007: 571-591.

"The Diffusion of a Medical Innovation: Is Success in the Stars?" with Gary Fournier and Kislaya Prasad. Southern Economic Journal, 73(3) January 2007: 588-603.

"The Emergence of Local Norms in Networks," with Gary Fournier and Kislaya Prasad. Complexity, 11(5) May/June 2006: 65-83.

“An Evolutionary Model of Debt,” with Kislaya Prasad. Journal of Monetary Economics 497) October 2002: 1407-1438.

“Competition and Custom in Economic Contracts: A Case Study of Illinois Agriculture,” with H. Peyton Young. American Economic Review 91(3) June 2001: 559-573.

Books and book chapters

“Social Multipliers,” (forthcoming 2007) in S. Durlauf and L. Blume, eds. The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Second Edition. London: Palgrave-Macmillan, Ltd.

“The Strength of Social Interactions and Obesity Among Women,” with Frank Heiland, in F. Billari, T. Fent, A. Prskawetz, and J. Scheffran, eds., Agent-Based Computational Modelling. Heidelberg: Physica Verlag (2006).

Working papers and other unpublished papers

"Do Foreclosures Affect Boston Public School Student Academic Performance?", with Katherine Bradbury and Robert K. Triest. FRB Boston Public Policy Brief Series, brief no. 13-5 (2013).

"The Effect of Foreclosure on Boston Public School Student Academic Performance", with Katherine Bradbury and Robert K. Triest. FRB Boston Working Papers Series, paper no. 13-12 (2013).

"Economic Literacy and Inflation Expectations: Evidence from a Laboratory Experiment," with Michael Manz. FRB Boston Public Policy Discussion Paper Series, paper no. 11-8 (2011).

"Classroom Peer Effects and Student Achievement," with Tim R. Sass. FRB Boston Public Policy Discussion Papers Series, paper no. 11-5, (2011).

"Explaining Gender-Specific Racial Differences in Obesity Using Biased Self-Reports of Food Intake," with Frank W. Heiland. FRB Boston Working Paper Series, paper no. 11-2, 2011.

"Geographic Variations in a Model of Physician Treatment Choice with Social Interactions," with Gary M. Fournier and Kislaya Prasad. Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Working Papers Series, paper no. 09-5, 2009.

"Has Overweight Become the New Normal? Evidence of a Generational Shift in Body Weight Norms," with Frank Heiland and Carl Nadler. Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Working Papers Series, paper no. 09-3, 2009.

"Classroom Peer Effects and Student Achievement," with Tim R. Sass. Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Working Papers Series, paper no. 08-5, 2008.

"Race, Obesity, and the Puzzle of Gender Specificity," with Frank Heiland. Florida State University working paper.

Social Dynamics of Obesity,” with Frank Heiland, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Public Policy Discussion Papers Series, paper no. 06-5 (2006).

Physician Social Networks and Geographical Variation in Medical Care,” with Gary Fournier and Kislaya Prasad. The Brookings Institution Center for Social and Economic Dynamics working paper #33.

Contracts with Social Multipliers,” with Kislaya Prasad. Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Working Papers Series, paper no. 05-17, 2005.

"Racial Disparities in Obesity Among Women: Biology, Social Norms, and the Puzzle of Gender Specificity, with Frank Heiland. Florida State University working paper.

“Classroom Peer Effects and Student Achievement ” with Tim Sass. working paper, Florida State University.

On the Distributional Effects of Contractual Norms: The Case of Cropshare Contracts.” Revise and resubmit at Journal of Institutional Economics. Available on request from the author.

Ph.D., Economics, The Johns Hopkins University, 1998

M.A., Economics, The Johns Hopkins University, 1994

B.A., Mathematics, magna cum laude, Brown University, 1988