Faculty Directory

Robert Walker

Robert Walker

One definition of management is the "judicious use of means to accomplish an end".  In this information age, the judicious use of information is among the most important skills available to managers without regard to what they manage.  Though in prior times the cost of acquiring information was significant, we are entering (or perhaps are in) an age in which the separation of relevant and irrelevant information is among the hardest and most important tasks facing managers.   Statistics, as summaries of large amounts of information, provide a crucial tool for informing quality managerial decisions.

Education

  • Ph.D. University of Rochester
  • M.A. University of Rochester
  • B.A. University of Texas at Austin

Biography

Robert W. Walker, Ph. D. is Associate Professor of Quantitative Methods in the Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University. Though his Ph.D. is in political science, Professor Walker has taught statistics and research methods to both undergraduate and graduate students at Dartmouth College, Texas A&M University, Washington University in Saint Louis, and Rice University prior to his arrival at Atkinson in addition to courses in political economy.  He was a regular instructor in the National Science Foundation's Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models summer program at Washington University in Saint Louis and has regularly taught courses in the analysis of longitudinal data at the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis in the United Kingdom.  

His joint work received the Warren Miller Prize for the best published paper in 2009 in Political Analysis, the journal of the Society for Political Methodology and the most cited journal in Political Science during the most recent evaluation period.  His published work spans international political economy, political methodology, and the political economy of state and municipal bond markets.

Message

Statistics - a branch of mathematics dealing with the collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation of masses of numerical data - is a crucial tool for modern managers.  If used correctly, statistics are efficient methods for uncovering patterns and informing decision making.  At the same time, if used incorrectly, statistics can lead us wildly astray.

At Atkinson, the tools of statistics are an important part of an overall training program not as an end, in and of themselves, but as a means to assist managers in making informed decisions that enhance their organizations and facilitate the outcomes that the managers seek to achieve.  Statistics are certainly not a silver bullet as they can both inform and deceive.  The objective of statistics education at Atkinson is to provide future managers with the foundations to separate useful and harmful statistical information and to appreciate the fine details that distinguish the useful from the harmful across a broad variety of management contexts.

Research and Teaching Interests

Statistical computing and simulation methods, political economy, public finance, quantitative program evaluation

Selected Publications

Skip Krueger, Robert W. Walker, and Ethan Bernick. 2011. “The Intergovernmental Context of Alternative Service Delivery Choices” Publius: The Journal of Federalism: 41(4): 709–33.

Skip Krueger and Robert W. Walker. 2010. “Management Practices and State Bond Ratings” Public Budgeting and Finance 30(4): 47–70.

Skip Krueger, Christopher V. Hawkins, and Robert W. Walker. 2010. “The Cost of Boosterism: Economic Development, Growth Management, and Municipal Bond Ratings” Municipal Finance Journal 31(2):51-75.

Itai Sened, Marshall Thompson, Robert Walker, and Ron Watson. 2010. “The Middle Class: A New Conceptual Framework and a Brief Application to the Caucasus.” The Caucasus & Globalization Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies 4(1-2): 106–17 (in English and Russian).

Valeria Sinclair-Chapman, RobertW.Walker, and Daniel Q. Gillion. 2009. “Unpacking Civic Participation: Analyzing Trends in Black [and White] Participation over Time.” Electoral Studies, 28(4): 550-561.

Robert W. Walker and Skip Krueger. 2009. “Now You See It, Now You Don’t: The Mysterious Case of the Vanishing Split Bond Ratings in the U. S. States” Public Budgeting and Finance 29(1): 84–101.

Robert W. Walker and Skip Krueger. 2008. “Divided Government, Political Turnover, and State Bond Ratings.” Public Finance Review 36(3): 259–86.

Muhammet A. Bas, Curtis S. Signorino, and Robert W. Walker. 2008. “Statistical Backwards Induction: A Simple Method for Estimating Recursive Strategic Models.” Political Analysis 16(1): 21–40.

Received the 2009 Warren Miller Prize for best article in Political Analysis: ISI Impact Factor: 4.780

Matthew J. Lebo, Robert W. Walker, and Harold D. Clarke. 2000. “You Must Remember This: Dealing with Long Memory in Political Analyses.” Electoral Studies 19(1):31-48.