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David Smith, PhD

Professor of Economics | Senior Associate Provost in IT and Online Learning and International Program Facilities
Graziadio Business School


Dr. Smith serves as professor of economics at the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School. He has had the privilege of working at Pepperdine for over 20 years. Over these years, Dr. Smith has taught over 1,000 graduate and undergraduate students. In addition to his work as a teacher, he has served in numerous leadership posts at Pepperdine. His roles include, department chair, senior associate dean, and most recently, serving as the 8th Dean of the Graziadio Business School.

Prior to obtaining his doctorate in economics, Dr. Smith worked for seven years as a manager in the insurance industry. His economic expertise includes the areas of compensation analysis, data loss, and analysis of specific labor markets. He has consulted for several industries and regularly serves as an expert witness in cases involving economic loss.  With extensive experience in both academia and business, he aims to translate the complexity of economics into the language of business with succinct clarity.

Dr. Smith is active in service to Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the international accrediting body for business schools. He serves as a peer reviewer and mentor. In the past, he has served as chair of the steering committee for the Associate Dean's Affinity Group.

As a labor economist with an applied focus, Dr. Smith has published numerous articles. These articles have appeared in both academic and practitioner journals. His research on credit unions has been used in arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court as well as in state legislative hearings. Dr. Smith has also served as an expert commentator on economic issues for various news media. Some of them include CNN, the London Times, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, USA Today, the New York Times, and the Investor's Business Daily. He received his bachelor's degree from Wheaton College in Illinois, and his master's and doctoral degrees in economics from Michigan State University.


  • PhD in Economics, Michigan State University, Lansing, MI
  • MA, Michigan State University, Lansing, MI

  • BA in Economics, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL



“The burden of property taxes on home appreciation: A relationship study between property taxes and home values in the U.S.” with Valadez, Ray, Journal of Finance and Accountancy, 2019, Vol 25, pp. 1-16.

Fostering Digital Clout in Credit Unions, with Samuel Seaman and Yury Adamov, pp. 1-27, Filene Research Institute, Madwison, WI, 2018.

“A topological explanation of local interactions: an example from labor economics,” with S. Seaman. Cabo San Lucas: NBES Proceedings, 2016.

Commercial Lending During the Crisis:  Credit Unions vs. Banks, pp. 1-21, Filene Research Institute, Madison, Wisconsin, 2012. 

“Senior Home Ownership Shifts in the United States: Will they have an economic impact?” with Valadez, Ray International Journal of Global Business Development, 2(1), (2009)168-178.


  • John Nicks Memorial Service Award, awarded by the faculty of the Graziadio School of Pepperdine University, 2003 and 2016.
  • Outstanding Staff Member, George Award, Graziadio School of Business, 2014.
  • Most Innovative Paper Award, National Business and Economics Society, 2012.


Areas of Expertise

  • Labor economics
  • Labor Unions
  • Workplace Discrimination
  • Unemployment
  • Gender economics