Welcome to my website! I'm Michael Ryan O'Grady. I'm currently a doctoral student in Public Policy and Administration. I'm also an avid cyclist, home chef, mostly 60s through 90s music fan, 2000s TV geek and world traveler. I constantly update this site so check back often!
My Research Interests
My primary research involves government-sponsored, local-level workforce and community development policies. Within this sphere, I focus mainly on government's ability to adapt to a changing economy and how government development programs (old and new) benefit those already living in changing communities. I further ground my research in the broader macro and international economic environment. Often times, I back into issues of health, education and housing. Because of this, my secondary research applies quantitative, geo-spatial and game theory techniques to explore issues of public policy where such methods are under-utilized. It is my hope that using these methods provides more timely, relevant and actionable insights for stakeholders. My policy expertise includes the fields of health and development economics, formal program evaluation methodology and applied political economy.
My Main Methodologies
I often describe myself as a reluctant quantitative researcher. Math was never my strong suit in high school nor undergrad. However, while getting my masters, I quickly realized that with my policy interests there was no way around quantitative methods--I had to go through them. Working with some great professors, I slow-fed myself the foundational levels of statistics and calculus until I mastered them. I started to make my weakness a strength. Then something miraculous happened: Reading Card and Kreuger's Nobel prize-winning 1994 minimum wage study, I fell in love with quantitative methods (specifically the econometric approach) and the stories (analyses) I could tell with them. Since then, I've broadened my tool kit to include techniques from biostatistics, machine learning and Bayesian statistics in my analyses of public policy. While mixed-methods research is often a buzz phrase, working with great partners when feasible, I combine my quantitative and GIS techniques with qualitative methodologies (e.g., case study analysis, structured interviewing). I find this produces a very holistic analysis that allows for much more effective story telling.