Rick Geddes

Richard Geddes

Professor, Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy and Professor of Economics
Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy
2212 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Founding Director, Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy (CPIP); Non-Resident Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute (AEI)


Rick Geddes is Professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University and Director of the Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy. His research studies policies focused on the delivery of infrastructure projects in the transportation, water, and energy sectors. That includes funding, financing, public-private partnerships, and technology adoption.

Geddes is also a core faculty member of the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA)  and a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He is a Research Fellow with the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University.

Geddes has held several visiting and advisory positions. He was the Edward Teller National Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution during the 1999-2000 academic year. He served as a senior economist at the Council of Economic Advisors during the 2004-2005 academic year, and was a commissioner on the National Surface Transportation Policy & Revenue Study Commission. Geddes was also a Fulbright Senior Scholar during the  2009-2010 academic year to study transportation public-private partnerships in Australia, and a Visiting Faculty Fellow at Yale Law School during the 1995-1996 academic year. He has advised numerous Fortune 500 companies, including United Parcel Service and CSX. He has testified numerous times before House and Senate committees.

Geddes’ publications have appeared in numerous academic journals, including in Nature, the American Economic Review, Journal of Regulatory Economics, Journal of Legal Studies, Journal of Law & Economics, Transportation Research Part E, and Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, among others.  

Geddes has won numerous teaching and advising awards, including three Merrill Presidential Scholars Awards for Outstanding Educator, and a SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. He teaches courses at Cornell on infrastructure policy, corporate governance, microeconomics, and the regulation of industry. Geddes holds MA and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the University of Chicago, and a BS in economics and finance from Towson State University.

Research Interests

Geddes’ research examines policies addressing the funding, financing, and regulation of large infrastructure systems. He focuses on the energy, water, and transportation sectors.

Key research topics include private investment in the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of U.S. infrastructure through public-private partnerships, or PPPs. That also includes improving life-cycle maintenance of infrastructure assets, the impact of state-level PPP enabling laws, and the effect of operation-and-maintenance road concessions on traffic safety.

Additional interests include postal and delivery economics, and policies affecting governance in large, publicly traded corporations.

Teaching Interests

My teaching philosophy is designed to meet the needs of Cornell students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. It includes the following three components: (i) careful preparation of and background reading on all material presented in class; (ii) making the material relevant by including current events, real-world examples, guest speakers, and interactions with industry practitioners; and (iii) facilitation of personal interactions with students and a focus on individualized attention. It also includes  advising students on both class and career matters, and to putting them in touch with industry professionals

Selected Publications

  • “Using Technology to Eliminate Traffic Congestion,” Nature, commentary section (in press) joint with Peter Cramton and Axel Ockenfels.
  • “Climate-Adaptive Planning for the Long-Term Resilience of Transportation Fuel Supply Chain,” Transportation Research Part E, (in press), joint with A. Beheshtian and K. P. Donaghy and O.H. Gao.
  • “The Favorability of U.S. PPP Enabling Legislation and Private Investment in Transportation Infrastructure,” Utilities PolicyVol. 48, (October 2017): 157-165, joint with Eoin Reeves.
  • “The Determinants of Tendering Periods for PPP Procurement in the UK: An Empirical Analysis,” Applied Economics Vol. 49, No. 11 (2016): 1071-1082, joint with E. Reeves, D. Palcic, and D. Flannery.
  • “How Much Vertical Integration? Contractual Choice and Public-Private Partnerships in the United States,” Review of Industrial Organization (2016) joint with Daniel Albalate and Germà Bel.
  • “Social Welfare Analysis for Alternative Investment Public-Private Partnership Approaches.” Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Vol. 88 (2016): 86-103, joint with Omid M. Rouhani and H. Oliver Gao.
  • "Public-Private Partnerships and Contract Choice in India’s Water and Wastewater Sectors" Public Works Management & Policy Vol. 21, No. 1 (2015): 71-96, joint with Sri Vedachalam and Susan Riha.
  • “Policy Lessons for Regulating Public-Private Partnership Tolling Schemes in Urban Environments.” Transport Policy, Vol. 41 (July 2015): 68–79 joint with Omid M. Rouhani and H. Oliver Gao.
  • “Why do U.S. States Adopt Public-Private Partnership Enabling Legislation?” Journal of Urban Economics, Vol. 78 (2013): 30-41, joint with Benjamin L. Wagner.
  • “The Gains from Self-Ownership and the Expansion of Women’s Rights,” American Economic Review 92:4 (September 2002) 1079-92, with Dean Lueck.


Ph.D., University of Chicago (Economics) 1991, Dissertation: “Managerial Tenure and Monitoring in Publicly and Privately Owned Electric Utilities”
M.A., University of Chicago (Economics) 1987
B.S., Towson State University (Economics and Finance) 1984, Magna Cum Laude