Dean Stansel is an Associate Professor of Economics at Florida Gulf Coast University and the primary author of the Fraser Institute’s annual Economic Freedom of North America report, which ranks the states and the Canadian provinces.

Prior to entering academia, Stansel worked for seven years at the Cato Institute, where he authored (or coauthored) more than 60 publications on fiscal policy issues, including op-eds in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Investor’s Business Daily, and the Chicago Tribune.  He also appeared on television and radio and testified before Congress and several state legislatures.

His academic research has focused on the impact of competition between local governments on fiscal and economic outcomes, the relationship between the size of government and economic growth, state fiscal crises, and a variety of other issues in the areas of public economics and urban economics. Stansel’s academic publications have appeared in numerous journals, including the Journal of Urban Economics, Public Finance Review, Cato Journal, Review of Austrian Economics, and the Journal of Housing Research. It has been cited in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and the Association of Private Enterprise Education awarded him second place in the 2010 Policy Communicators Contest for his paper entitled “Why Are Some Cities Growing While Others Are Shrinking?” 

In 2011, Stansel was selected by the Economic Freedom Project to help publicize the findings of the various economic freedom reports and the virtues of economic freedom in general through a variety of media interviews (nearly 100 in 2013). In 2013, he published the first ever local index of economic freedom (www.economicfreedom.org/ 2013/07/18/economic-freedom-in-your-area/) and was chosen to be the primary author of the annual Economic Freedom of North America report. His first report was published in December 2013 (available at www.freetheworld.com/efna.html).

He and his wife, Robin (who he met while both were working at the Cato Institute), live in Fort Myers, Florida. They have two young children who they homeschool. Stansel earned a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Wake Forest University in 1991 and a Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University in 2002.