Steve DeLoach: Macro-economist, research catalyst and mentor

The professor of economics was awarded the 2014 Distinguished Scholar Award for his work and drive to collaborate and share research.

In the 18 years Steve DeLoach has been at Elon, he has had 20 papers published in peer-reviewed journals, earning the professor of economics in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business recognition in his field for his work.

However, his colleagues consider the macro-economist “distinguished” in his field because of how hard he works to collaborate and promote research.

“He is not what I would call ‘a scholar behind closed doors,’ but one who shares his knowledge and expertise with students and colleagues alike,” a colleague at Elon says.

In addition to peer-reviewed journals, DeLoach has published a book chapter and presented multiple times at top international economics conferences. His work has been cited more than 300 times. In 2009 he received the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business Dean’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship, and in 2010 he was the Hollingsworth Visiting Scholar at Furman University.

“Steve’s record of scholarship is enviable,” a colleague at another university says. “In addition to being a solid researcher in his own right, he is a research catalyst, encouraging and enabling colleagues and students to pursue joint research projects with him.”

DeLoach has mentored more than 50 undergraduate projects that resulted in presentations at national and regional conferences.

“Steve’s energy has not only touched me, but I can assure you the students as well,” a colleague at Elon says. “… If there is one person you could look at and say ‘his research spills over into his teaching and his association with his students and colleagues,’ Steve would be that professor. To him, working with students is his first and foremost commitment to lifelong teaching and learning and in that vein one cannot be so into it if one was not a dedicated researcher and continuous learner and thinker.”

While DeLoach’s approach to research has changed over the years, his work has remained focused on questions pertinent to international growth and development, as well as the scholarship of teaching and learning.

“Over the years, my research has evolved and matured,” DeLoach says. “The work I am doing now is arguably the best of my career both in terms of quality and quantity. Moreover, my research agenda remains robust.”

Throughout his career, DeLoach has continually broadened his research. In 1999 he collaborated with a colleague on ways to incorporate online, asynchronous discussions into intermediate macro-economic classes to help develop students’ critical thinking skills. In 2001 he worked with a colleague and studied the effects of government policy on international trade flows.

It was during that time he started taking risks with his research. “I started learning how to ask bigger, more interesting and more policy-oriented questions,” DeLoach says. “This, coupled with my increasingly deep understanding of critical thinking and how to best facilitate online and in-class discussions, made a tremendous impact on my teaching and mentoring.”

In 2005 DeLoach learned how use household and individual response data to identify causal relationships. He eventually wrote a paper with Tina Das, professor of economics, for the Journal of Socio-Economics that received a lot of media attention because it showed that men who spend more time grooming are paid more than men who don’t, and women who do the same actually earn lower wages than their counterparts.

“There is also evidence that my scholarship has made an impact beyond academics, garnering the attention of the general public as well as the business community,” DeLoach says. “The 2011 paper with Tina Das on grooming and wages has undoubtedly earned the most attention over the years.”

DeLoach’s colleagues praise him for his ability to examine topics from different perspectives.

“He truly thinks outside the box, and, therefore, is able to bring empathy to research in a truly interdisciplinary manner,” a colleague says.

DeLoach received doctoral and master’s degrees in economics from Michigan State University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska.

DeLoach is the 15th recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award, which recognizes a faculty member whose research has earned peer commendation and respect, and who has made significant contributions to his or her field of study.

Coming up next week: a profile on Alexa Darby, winner of this year’s Periclean Award for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility.