Faculty Profile: Jeffrey Dayton-Johnson – Development Economics and All That Jazz
With a talent for herding cats and a passion for policy, development economics, Latin America, and jazz—as well as fond childhood memories of Dennis the Menace Park in Monterey—Jeffrey Dayton-Johnson is the perfect fit for the Monterey Institute, where he is the current chair of the International Policy Studies program. Jeff, who joined MIIS in 2011, is a development economist with a wealth of policy experience to share with his students from 11 years of working on a wide range of issues related to development, economics, and public policy as the head of the Americas Desk of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Jeff has taken the introductory policy analysis class and transformed it into a year-long immersive learning opportunity, offering students the option of taking a class with a focus on Peru in the fall, going on a research trip to the country in January, and then participating in a follow-up seminar to work with the data collected on the trip in the spring.
Linking faculty research, alumni activities, and students’ desire for practical learning experiences, Jeff designed the course as a true MIIS community collaboration. It started with Professors Robert McCleery and Philip Murphy, who have been working on research on the links between poverty and isolation, and grew through connections with the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development, a non-profit founded by MIIS alumni that is working on community development projects in the isolated Sacred Valley of Peru. Students will collect data linked to poverty and isolation with the assistance of the Andean Alliance, all the while gaining valuable real-world policy experience.
“It will be really interesting to see what comes out of this,” Jeff says, adding that there are many options that he is looking forward to exploring. He is happy to be back in his native California, teaching at a place where he can “walk around campus and hear so many languages being spoken, so many causes being championed, so many ideas being debated, so many projects being launched!”