The Catholic University of America
Business and Economics Faculty

Ernest Zampelli – Professor of Economics


Ernest M. Zampelli joined the faculty of the School of Business and Economics at CUA as an Assistant Professor in 1985. He was tenured in 1988 and promoted to Ordinary Professor in 2002. His areas of research interest include public sector microeconomics, energy and environmental economics, and the economics of philanthropic behavior.

Dr. Zampelli has published his research in some of the leading academic journals in economics and business including The American Economic Review, The Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Urban Economics, Journal of Development Economics, Strategic Management Journal, and The Energy Journal. His main teaching areas are microeconomics, statistics, and econometrics.

In 1994, Dr. Zampelli was named the District of Columbia Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Carnegie Foundation. From 1991 to 1994, he served as the Chair of the CUA’s Academic Senate. Dr. Zampelli also served as the Chair of the Department of Business and Economics from 1994 to 2000. He is a Senior Fellow at CUA’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies as well as a member of CUA’s Center for Energy and Environmental Stewardship.

In addition to his role as departmental faculty member, Dr. Zampelli is also a member of the faculty of the University Honors Program, teaching the social science honors course Economic Reasoning and Social Issues. Complementing his academic position at CUA, Dr. Zampelli has served as Senior Economist with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). In that capacity, he has provided economic and econometric expertise to the United States Department of Energy/Energy Information Administration since 1988. Dr. Zampelli was instrumental in developing, maintaining, and enhancing the Oil and Gas Supply Module of the National Energy Modeling System that is used forecast future U.S. oil and gas prices and supplies. He served the same role in developing a similar model for Natural Resources Canada.

In and out of the classroom, Dr. Zampelli strives to impart to his students an excitement and passion for the substance and importance of the economics discipline. He challenges his students to engage material actively and purposefully and to understand that academic excellence cannot be achieved without serious commitment and hard work. He holds students accountable both for what they do and do not do. There are no excuses, there are no shortcuts. He does not give his students grades, his students earn their grades. What he does promise to give them is the help and encouragement they require to excel.

Zampelli teaching

Research and Writing

“The Impacts of Religion, Political Ideology, and Social Capital on Religious and Secular Giving: Evidence from the 2006 Social Capital Community Survey,” Applied Economics, forthcoming, 2012. (with K. Forbes)
“An Assessment of Alternative Structural Models of Philanthropic Behavior,” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 40(6), 1148-1167, 2011.
“Does Earnings Quality Affect CEO Pay,” Finance India, 24(2), 419-432, 2010. (with R. Iyengar)
“Does Board Governance Improve the Quality of Accounting Earnings,” Accounting Research Journal, 23(1), 49-68, 2010. (with R. Iyengar and J. Land)
“Does Accounting Conservatism Pay,” Accounting and Finance, 50, 121–142, 2010. (with R. Iyengar)
“Modeling the Growth of Gas Reserves in Known Fields,” Energy Journal, 30 (Special Issue), 2009, 201-213, 2009. (with K. Forbes)
“Self-Selection, Endogeneity, and the Relationship Between CEO Duality and Firm Performance,” Strategic Management Journal, 30, 2009, 1092-1112. (with R. Iyengar)
“Auditor Independence, Executive Pay, and Firm Performance,” Accounting and Finance, 48(2), 2008, 259-278. (with R. Iyengar)
“Sensitivity of Executive Pay to Accounting Performance Measures in All-Equity Firms,” (with R. Iyengar and J. Williams), Accounting and Finance, 45(4), 2005, 577-595.
“Technology and the Exploratory Success Rate in the U.S. Onshore,” Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Summer 2002, pp. 319-334. (with K. Forbes)
“Technology and the Exploratory Success Rate in the U.S. Offshore,” The Energy Journal, January 2000, pp.109-120. (with K. Forbes)
“Religious Giving by Individuals: A Cross-Denominational Study,” The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, January 1997, pp. 17-30. (with K. Forbes)
“Modeling the Natural Gas Finding Rate: Incorporating the Effects of Technological Change, Prospect Highgrading, and Drilling Depth,” Pacific and Asian Journal of Energy, December 1996, pp. 65-74. (with K. Forbes)
"The Fungibility of U.S. Military and Non-Military Aid and the Impacts on Expenditures of Major Aid Recipients," Journal of Development Economics, 43, 1994, pp. 345-362. (with N. Khilji)
"The Effect of U.S. Assistance on Public and Private Expenditures in Pakistan: 1960-1988," The Pakistan Development Review, Winter 1991. (with N. Khilji)
"The Fungibility of U.S. Military and Non-Military Assistance to Developing Countries," World Development, Winter 1991. (with N. Khilji)
"The Effects of Economic Growth and Technological Change on the Demand for Scientists and Engineers," Industrial Relations, Spring 1991. (with K. F. Forbes)
"Is Leviathan a Mythical Beast?," American Economic Review, June 1989. (with K. F. Forbes)
"Local Characteristics and Public Production: The Case of Education," Journal of Urban Economics, 26, 1989. (with M. Dynarski and R. Schwab)
"Economic Growth, Technological Change, and Employment Requirements for Scientists and Engineers," Issues in Science and Technology, Fall 1987. (with R. Bezdek and J. Jones)
"Disentangling the Demand Function from the Production Function for Local Public Services: The Case of Public Safety, Journal of Public Economics, June 1987, pp. 245-260. (with R. M. Schwab)
"State and Local Government Tax Expenditures Relating to the Federal Government," National Tax Journal, December 1986, pp. 533-538. (with R. Bezdek)
"Resource Fungibility, The Flypaper Effect, and the Expenditure Impact of Grants-in-Aid," Review of Economics and Statistics, February 1986, pp. 33-40.
"The Determination of the Optimal Solar Investment Decision Criterion," Energy:  The International Journal, August 1979. (with M. Sedmak)

In His Words ...

Ultimately, instilling and nurturing in students the passion for learning is the most important part of being an educator. If I can help to do that with my teaching and research, then I’ve done my job.– Ernest Zampelli



Office: 309 McMahon Hall
The Catholic University of America
620 Michigan Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20064

Office hours: 12:30 – 2 p.m. Tuesdays

Phone: 202-319-6683




  • ECON 102 – Principles of Microeconomics
  • ECON 223 – Statistics for Business and Economics
  • ECON 242 – Intermediate Microeconomic Theory
  • ECON 327 – Sports Economics
  • ECON 463 – Principles of Econometrics
  • HSSS 102: Economic Reasoning and Social Issues (University Honors Program)


Ph.D. and M.A., Economics
University of Maryland at College Park

B.S., Mathematics
University of Notre Dame

Areas of Expertise

  • Energy and environmental economics
  • Economics of philanthropic behavior


> Curriculum Vitae