Jessica Hennessey

Jessica Hennessey

Professor of Economics; Interim Department Chair

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Jessica Hennessey (PhD, University of Maryland) joined the Furman economics faculty in 2009. Her research interests are broadly in the areas of public finance and economic history. A specific area of interest is fiscal federalism which considers how functions and responsibilities are allocated across different levels of government. Her recent research has looked into fiscal federalism issues in American history, specifically the changing nature of the relationship between states and local governments in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Dr. Hennessey’s teaching includes Introduction to Economics, Empirical Methods in Economics, Public Economics, Economics of Market Regulation, and a seminar course in American Economic History. She has also been involved in the Edinburgh study away program where she teaches a Scottish Economic History and Thought course.

As an undergraduate at Carleton College, Dr. Hennessey was an economics major, studied abroad at King’s College Cambridge, and had an eye-opening internship at an economic consulting firm in DC. That experience led to working in the same industry after college in Boston and Chicago. When her career path led her back to academia, it was important for her to return to work at a liberal arts college. She wanted to work with students in an environment that encouraged exploration and involved mentoring, since that was important to her development in college. Dr. Hennessey’s work in this area was recognized in 2012 when she was the recipient of the Alester G. Furman, Jr. and Janie Earle Furman Award for Meritorious Advising. In 2021, her commitment to teaching was recognized by receiving the Alester G. Furman, Jr. and Janie Earle Furman Award for Meritorious Teaching. Outside of Furman, Dr. Hennessey enjoys reading, practicing drawing and painting, and planning the next travel adventure.


  • Ph.D., University of Maryland
  • B.A., Carleton College


  • 2020-21 Alester G. Furman, Jr. and Janie Earle Furman Award for Meritorious Teaching
  • 2011-12 Alester G. Furman, Jr., and Janie Earle Furman Award for Meritorious Advising


  • "Class Matters: Analyzing Mutual Fund Class Structure and Expenses," with Jonathan Handy and Tom Smythe. The Journal of Wealth Management, 23(3), 2020, 85-97.
  • “The Adoption of Constitutional Home Rule: A Test of Endogenous Policy Decentralization.” Eastern Economic Journal, 42(3), 2016, 441-463.
  • “Loss of control: legislature changes and the state–local relationship.” Constitutional Political Economy, 25(4), 2014, 407-433.
  • “Motivating a Productive Discussion of Normative Issues Through Debates.” Journal of Economic Education, 45(3), 2014, 225-239.
  • “Incentivizing laboratory federalism: can everyone participate?,” with Thomas Flood and Caroline Bowman. Public and Municipal Finance, 2(1), 2013, 56-70.

Book Chapters

  • “The Impact of Decentralization on Municipalities: Evidence from the Municipal Home Rule Movement” in Public Choice Analyses of American Economic History: Volume 3, edited by Joshua C. Hall and Marcus Witcher. New York: Springer, 2019.
  • “Corporations and Organizations in the United States after 1840,” with John J. Wallis. Corporations and the American Democracy, edited by Naomi R. Lamoreaux and William J. Novak, Harvard University Press, 2017, pp. 74-105.

Book Reviews

  • Book Review in Journal of Economic History, 75(3), 2015 of Ajay Mehotra, Making the Modern American Fiscal State: Law, Politics, and the Rise of Progressive Taxation, 1877-1929, 939-941.