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Neil Alper

Headshot of Neil Alper

Emeritus Faculty

Neil Alper has been at Northeastern University since 1979.  His teaching and research interests are in applied microeconomics. Prior to Northeastern, he held a joint position in the Department of Economics and the Center for Business and Economics Research at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He has published articles, books, chapters and reports, and presented papers primarily in cultural economics, focusing on the economics of artists. Additionally, he has publications in the economics of crime and labor economics. His research has involved primary data collection as well as use of large-scale surveys such as the Decennial Census and the American Community Survey.  The Tennessee Department of Employment Security, the U.S. Department of Labor, the New England Foundation for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts have funded his research. He is a member of the Association for Cultural Economics International and served as its executive secretary-treasurer.


  • Participant, AEA-JCEE-Lilly Teacher Training Workshop, 1993.
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Northeastern University, nominee, 1991, 2011, 2012.
  • Teaching Fellow, Department of Economics, University of Pittsburgh, 1974-75.
  • Graduate Fellow, Multidisciplinary Research Program of the Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, National Institute of Education, 1972-74.
  • Teaching Assistant, Department of Economics, University of Pittsburgh, 1971-72.
  • Dean’s List, S.U.N.Y. at Stony Brook, 1969-71.
  • New York State Regent’s Scholarship, 1967-71.
  • “Artists’ Careers and Their Labor Markets,” with G. Wassall, in Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture, edited by V. Ginsburgh and D. Throsby, Elsevier/North-Holland, (2006).
  • More Than Once In A Blue Moon: Multiple Jobholding by American Artists, with G. Wassall, National Endowment for the Arts/Seven Locks Press, Santa Ana,California (2000).
  • “Recession to Renaissance: A Comparison of Rhode Island Artists, 1981 and 1997,” with A. Galligan, The Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society, Vol. 29, No. 3, 1999.
  • “The Career Matrix: The Pipeline for Artists in the United States,” with A. Galligan, in The Public Life of the Arts in America, J. Cherbo and M. Wyszomirski, editors, Rutgers University Press (2000).
  • “Characteristics of Performing Artists: A Baseline Profile of Sectoral Crossovers,” with A. Galligan, The Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society, Vol. 28, No. 2, 1998.
  • “Artists’ Labor Market Experiences: A Preliminary Analysis Using Longitudinal Data,” with G. Wassall, in Economics of Artists and Arts Policy: A Selection of Papers, M. Heikkinen and T. Koshinen, editors, Helsinki: The Arts Council of Finland (1998).
  • “The Career Matrix: The Pipeline for Artists in the United States,” with A. Galligan, in The Arts and the Public Purpose, A Briefing Book of Commissioned Essays, J. Cherbo, editor, Columbia University: The American Assembly, May
  • Artists in the Work Force: Employment and Earnings, 1970-1990, with G. Wassall, et al, National Endowment for the Arts/Seven Locks Press, Santa Ana, California (1996).
  • “Toward a Unified Theory of the Determinants of the Earnings of Artists,” with G. Wassall, in Cultural Economics, edited by R. Towse and A. Khakee, Berlin-Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, 1992 (reprinted in Cultural Economics: The Arts, the Heritage and the Media Industries II, edited by R. Towse, Cheltenham, U.K.: Edward Elgar, 1997).
  • “Determinants of University Costs: Regional Effects,” with B. Bolnick, Regional Science Review, 1990 (Vol. 17).
  • “When Is an Artist an Artist?: An Analysis of Factors Related to Claiming Membership in This Profession,” with G. Wassall, The Journal of Arts Management and Law, Winter 1990.
  • Economics of Crime: Theory and Practice, with D. Hellman, Pearson Custom Publishing, Boston, MA (1988, 2nd edition 1990, 3rd edition 1993, 4th edition 1997, 5th edition 2000, 6th edition 2006).
  • Economics of Crime: A Reader, with D. Hellman, Simon & Schuster, Needham, MA (1988, 1990, 1997).
  • “At What Price Vanity?: An Econometric Model of the Demand for Personalized License Plates,” with R. Archibald and E. Jensen, National Tax Journal, March 1987, pp. 103-109.
  • “Occupational Characteristics of Artists: A Statistical Analysis,” with G. Wassall, Journal of Cultural Economics, June 1985.
  • “Determinants of Artists Earnings,” with G. Wassall, The Economics of Cultural Industries, edited by W. Hendon, et al, Akron: Association of Cultural Economics, 1984.
  • Art Work: The Artist in the New England Labor Market, with G. Wassall and R. Davison, New England Foundation for the Arts, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1983).
  • “Moonlighting Husbands or Working Wives: An Economic Analysis,” with M. Morlock, Journal of Family Issues, Vol. 3, No. 2, June 1982, pp. 181-198.
  •  “Regional Econometric Forecasting: Linkages to Labor Supply,” The Review of Regional Studies, Vol. 8, No. 2, Fall 1978, pp. 1-14.
  • “Population and the Labor Market Outlook: 1979-1980,” Survey of Business, Center for Business and Economic Research, the University of Tennessee, Winter 1979, pp. 36-38.
  • An Economic Report to the Governor of the State of Tennessee, with W. Goolsby, et al., Nashville: Tennessee State Planning Office, February 1979.
  • Manpower Skill Production and Requirements in the Tennessee Valley Region, with M. Currence, D. Hake, J. M. McLaughlin, D. Pursell, and B. Rungeling, Knoxville, Tennessee: Center for Business and Economic Research, February 1977.


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    Ph.D., Economics,
    University of Pittsburgh

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