Karen Smith Conway

John A. Hogan Distinguished Professor of Economics
Paul College 370G
Karen Smith
About Karen Smith Conway

Karen grew up in central Illinois and graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a major in Economics and a minor in Business.  She came to UNH in 1987 after receiving her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Her research centers on how government policies affect household decisions such as where to live, how to spend their time, or how much to invest in their children.  Her research also extends to examining why certain state policies – especially preferential tax treatment of the elderly – have developed as they have and their implications for the states’ fiscal health.  Her favorite professional experience to date has been her stint as a visiting faculty at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.  Among her favorite personal experiences are two cross-country trips with her husband – one in a minivan with their 3 kids and the other on their bicycles.

Fields of Specialization

Health, Labor and Public Economics


Ph.D., Economics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1987
B.A., Economics, Eastern Illinois University


Recent Publications

“The Effects of Contraceptive and Young Adult Dependent Mandates on Young Women,” (with Jennifer Trudeau), Contemporary Economic Policy, 36(1), January 2018, pp. 73-92.

“Cigarette Taxes, Smoking – and Exercise?” (with David P. Niles), Health Economics, 26(8), August 2017, pp. 1019-36.

“Protecting the Vulnerable or Ripe for Reform? State Income Tax Breaks for the Elderly – Then & Now,” (with Ben Brewer and Jonathan C. Rork), Public Finance Review, 45(4), July 2017, pp. 564-94.

“How Has Elderly Migration Changed in the 21st Century? What the Data Can – and Cannot – Tell Us,” (with Jonathan C. Rork), Demography, 53(4), August 2016, pp. 1011-25.

“Soaking up the Sun: The Complicated Role of Sunshine in the Production of Infant Health,” (with Andrea Kutinova Menclova and Jennifer Trudeau), American Journal of Health Economics, 2(1), Winter 2016, pp. 1-40.

“The Consequences of State Tax Preferential Treatment of the Elderly,” (with Jonathan C. Rork), Chapter 6 in Slemrod J and Avi-Novah R (eds), Taxation and Migration, Kluwer, 2015, pp. 151-86.

“The Labor Supply Effects of Taxing Social Security Benefits,” (with Timothy Page), Public Finance Review, 43(3) May 2015, pp. 291-323.
(Received the Public Finance Review Outstanding Paper Award in 2015.)

Honors & Awards
  • University of New Hampshire, Class of 1938 Professorship, 2011-2014
    University-wide non-renewable 3-year chair given to recognize excellence in teaching
  • University of New Hampshire Faculty Scholars Award, 2010
  • University of New Hampshire Faculty Scholars Award, 2004
  • University of New Hampshire Outstanding Associate Professor Award, 2003
  • Whittemore School of Business and Economics Award for Teaching Excellence, 2000
  • University of New Hampshire Award for Excellence in Research, 1994