Riley Acton

Assistant Professor



Academic Background

  • Ph.D., Economics, Michigan State University, 2020
  • M.A., Economics, Michigan State University, 2016
  • B.S., Economics and Mathematics, Ursinus College, 2015

Academic & Professional Experience

  • Assistant Professor, Miami University, 2020-present
  • Research Affiliate, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), 2021-present
  • Research Affiliate, College Crisis Initiative, 2020-present

Recent Publications

  • "Is a Name Change a Game Change? The Impact of College-to-University Conversions." Economics of Education Review, 88, 2022.
  • "The Influence of Peer Institutions on Colleges' Decisions: Evidence from Fall 2020 Reopening Plans" (with Emily Cook and Allison Luedtke). Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 195, 2022.
  • "Do Health Insurance Mandates Spillover to Education? Evidence from Michigan's Autism Insurance Mandate" (with Scott Imberman & Michael Lovenheim). Journal of Health Economics, 80, 2021.
  • "Community College Program Choices in the Wake of Local Job Losses." Journal of Labor Economics, 39(4), 2021.
  • "Effects of Reduced Community College Tuition on College Choices and Degree Completion." Education Finance and Policy, 16(3), 2021.

Honors & Awards

  • Honorable Mention, AEFP Jean Flannigan Outstanding Dissertation Award, 2021
  • University Distinguished Fellowship, Michigan State University, 2015-2020
  • Department of Economics Excellence-In-Teaching Award, Michigan State University, 2018
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Ursinus College, 2014


Riley Acton received her Ph.D. in economics from Michigan State University in 2020 and is currently an Assistant Professor of Economics in the Farmer School of Business at Miami University. She is an applied microeconomist who specializes in labor economics and the economics of education. Her current work examines the causes and consequences of decisions made by higher education institutions, the effect of local labor market shocks on K-12 and college students, and the impact of school finance policies on educational outcomes. Dr. Acton enjoys teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in microeconomics, advising Miami's Women in Economics club, and fostering a diverse pipeline of economics students.


  • SPRING 2023
  • ECO 315 A MW 1:15-2:35, FSB 0026
  • ECO 415/515 A MW 2:50-4:10, FSB 0026
Riley Acton

Contact Information

Office Hours

  • MW 11:00-12:30


* Accessible version of PDF available upon request.