Associate Professor of Economics
Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst
B.A., Amherst College
Prof. Williams' main emphasis is the interaction of economics and public policy. His teaching prepares students for real-world issues in which there is a need for both economic insight and ability to think critically about socioeconomic contexts and impacts. His professional writing is designed to advance theory related to his courses; and to expand the awareness of academicians and public policy professionals about pertinent theory, connections between public policy choices and impacts, and possible policy alternatives.
Williams' primary areas of research include urban and regional economic development, labor market access, and the impact of education/training. He complements his teaching through active engagement in economic research as a Senior Research Associate of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy (Northeastern University). His previous research experience has included positions with the William Monroe Trotter Institute, Abt Associates, the Regional Institute for Employment Policy, and the U.S. Department of Labor. His writings have been directed to a wide variety of audiences, from academicians to policy-makers to the general public.
During his Spring 2011 sabbatical, Prof. Williams was lead economist in a study of the economic impact of rural renewable energy projects (in Maine, Vermont, Tennessee, North Dakota, Iowa, Washington state, and Oregon) for the US Department of Agriculture.
Prof. Williams teaches Urban Economics, Macroeconomics, the Economics of Education, the Economics of Race and Racism, and Labor Economics---all courses that deal with aspects of economics and public policy. His courses examine the interaction of economic dynamics with institutional and social factors, and the construction of economic theories pertaining to various issues.
In addition to counting toward the Economics Major, two of Prof. Williams' courses can be taken as requirements for interdisciplinary majors/minors----Urban Economics can be taken for an Urban Studies minor, while the Economics of Race and Racism can be utilized for a major or a minor in African, African American, Diaspora Studies.
In his spare time, Williams enjoys music and watching sports. He is a lifelong pianist, whose childhood training included studies at South Carolina State University and Peabody Institute of Music (Baltimore). As an adult he served for two years as accompanist for New England Conservatory' s Community Services Program voice class.
The Urban Experience: Economics, Society and Public Policy, an urban economics and public policy textbook, co-authored by Prof. Williams (with Barry Bluestone and Mary Huff Stevenson), was published in 2008 by Oxford University Press.
A chapter written by Prof. Williams, entitled "Moving Beyond Vagueness: Social Capital, Social Networks, and Economic Outcomes", is in Race, Neighborhoods, and the Misuse of Social Capital, published in 2007 by Palgrave Macmillan Publishers
Among Prof. Williams' past research publications are:
Williams, Russell, "Economic Anchors and Vendor Contracting: New Barriers (and Potential New Opportunities) for Small Minority Business in the New Economy", a study prepared at the Center for Urban and Regional Policy, Northeastern University, Boston MA.
Jennings, James, Regina Rodriguez-Mitchell, Russell Williams and Juan Evereteze, "Economic Development and Inner Cities in Massachusetts: Recommendations for Expanding the Capacity of Small Businesses and Microenterprises", prepared at the William Monroe Trotter Institute for the Executive Office of Economic Affairs of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Watanabe, Paul with James Jennings, Edwin Melendez, Michael Liu, Gemima Remy, Christina Gomez and Russell Williams, "Changing Demographics, Challenges, and New Opportunities for Boston", prepared by the Institute for Asian-American Studies, the Mauricio Gaston Institute, and the William Monroe Trotter Institute. This special study was commissioned by the Boston Foundation as part of the Ford Foundation's Changing Communities, Diverse Needs Initiative.
Sample, Emily, Joseph Frees, Russell Williams, et. al., "Benefit-Cost Analysis of the Work Equity Project", prepared at Abt Associates, Incorporated, Cambridge, Massachusetts for the United States Department of Labor.
Prager, Audrey, Russell Williams, Peter Finn, Judith Goldberg, Marcia Cohen and Colette Wallace, "Education to Work Councils: Four Case Studies", prepared at Abt Associates, Incorporated, Cambridge, Massachusetts, for the United States Department of Education, National Institute of Education.