Professor Wallis received his PhD in economics from the University of Washington in 1981. After a post-doctoral fellowship at the University Chicago, he came to the University of Maryland Department of Economics in 1983. He has been a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research since 1989.
Professor Wallis is an economic historian who specializes in the public finance of American governments, constitutional development, and more generally on the institutional development of governments and economies. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in American Economic History (Economics 611 and 311), an undergraduate course on Economic History and Modern Development (Economics 412) and a graduate class on the theory of the state (Economics 613).
Recent publications include "Constitutions, Corporations, and Corruption."Journal of Economic History, March 2005, "The Concept of Systematic Corruption in American History" in Glaeser and Goldin, ed.Corruption and Reform: Lessons from America"s Economic History, University of Chicago Press, 2006, andViolence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History, with Douglass North and Barry Weingast,Cambridge University Press,2009.