Cary Deck

Cold and Exciting Days Ahead

Warmth. That is the number one thing Cary Deck will soon miss. Specifically, he will miss the warmth of his colleagues and the research environment at the University of Arkansas more so than the temperature.

Cary Deck, Professor of Economics, Sam M. Walton College of Business
Cary Deck, professor of economics at the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

Deck, a professor of economics and director of the Behavioral Business Research Laboratory at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, has been invited to spend a year at the University of Alaska Anchorage as the Rasmuson Chair of Economics beginning in the summer of 2015.

Soon after he gets settled in Anchorage, Deck may need to trade in his short-sleeved shirt for a parka. But one thing that he won’t have to change is his lab coat and his passion for behavioral research.

“It’s a great opportunity to interact with people at another lab and look for best practices that can be brought back to the Behavioral Business Research Laboratory,” Deck said.

During his year as the Rasmuson Chair of Economics, Deck will be involved in research at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Experimental Economics Lab. While much of his regular research will continue in Anchorage, he expects to become involved with work focusing on resource issues since Alaska is a state that values its natural resources as much as Arkansas. “They have a great group of scholars up there working to understand incentives in fisheries, the petroleum industry, and other common pool resource situations.”

At the Walton College, Deck’s work includes research on:

  • How evolving technology changes pricing dynamics in retail markets.
  • How people make risk decisions and what influences those choices.
  • How the structure of contests (such as patent races or promotion tournaments) impacts strategic behavior.

“I’m really looking forward to being part of the research group there and exploring new ideas,” Deck said. While he is excited to see what other researchers are doing, he is also happy to get to highlight the work being done at Walton College. This interaction is not limited to people already in Alaska. As the visiting chair, Deck will have the opportunity to invite other scholars from around the country to visit Anchorage.

There are a lot of similarities between the labs the University of Alaska and the University of Arkansas. Both encourage research collaboration and have emphasize engaging students in research. In short, “this opportunity should have benefits for faculty and students at both colleges,” Deck said.

As the 6th Rasmuson Chair of Economics, Deck will have big shoes to fill. In 2003, renowned economics professor Vernon Smith was named as the first visiting Rasmuson Chair at the University of Alaska. Smith, a 2002 Nobel Laureate in Economics, was Deck’s mentor and academic adviser while Deck earned his doctorate at the University of Arizona in 2001. Known as the founding father of experimental economics, Smith now serves as professor of economics and law at Chapman University in California, where Deck is a research professor. Deck will replace current Rasmuson Chair Jason Shogren, a former member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Shogren is an economics professor from the University of Wyoming and served as adviser to former President Clinton.

Deck is married to Kathy Deck, the well-known Arkansas and regional economist, who will continue to serve as the director of Walton’s Center for Business and Economic Research. When asked how she felt about him spending a year in Alaska, he replied “Kathy recognizes that this is a great opportunity for me personally and professionally. We have not figured out exactly how it will all work, but we will.” Their 12-year-old son Josh, will spend at least part of the year on this adventure in Alaska. “He’s going to miss his friends, but he is excited about getting to experience new things and make new friends.”