Jeff Dayton-Johnson

Associate Professor and Program Chair

I am passionate about mobilizing knowledge in order to have less inequality and exclusion and more collective action and social cohesion around the world.

What excites me about being a professor at MIIS is the extraordinary energy and productive diversity of the students and faculty alike. It's exciting to walk around campus and hear so many languages being spoken, so many causes being championed, so many ideas being debated, so many projects being launched!

Jeff Dayton-Johnson is a development economist who joined the Monterey Institute of International Studies in August 2011. Previously, he was the Head of the OECD Development Centre’s Latin America and Caribbean Desk, the principal activity of which is the OECD Latin American Economic Outlook.  While at the OECD, Jeff also worked on issues related to African economic development, natural disasters, policy coherence for development, international migration, fiscal policy and economic inequality. His research has covered other policy-relevant topics, including local management of natural resources, social cohesion and economic performance, the microeconomics of cooperation, and public policy of culture and the arts.

Before joining the OECD in 2004, Jeff’s experiences ranged from coaxing a sometimes-stubborn Volkswagen through rural Mexico to interview farmers in peasant irrigation societies, to delivering economics training courses to public servants in Eastern Europe; from advising Canadian federal and provincial policy-makers on matters of cultural policy, social cohesion and foreign aid, to teaching and advising several cohorts of energetic students in the Master of Development Economics program that he coordinated for many years at Dalhousie University in Canada. He has also taught courses at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (Sciences-Po) in Paris.

Jeff received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and received his undergraduate education in Latin American Studies at Berkeley and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
Jeff is a regular contributor of jazz reviews and interviews to All About Jazz (, the most widely-read jazz magazine on the web, and is the host of “Now’s the Time,” late-night music for people who love jazz and not only jazz, on public radio station KUSP, Santa Cruz, California (


Economic development, emerging economies, economics and politics of Latin American countries (including Mexico), immigration, poverty, inequality, natural disasters.

Professor Dayton-Johnson interviewed live about a financial crisis in Latin America on CNBC.

Recent Accomplishments

Together with his faculty and staff colleagues, Jeff helped craft the Development Practice & Policy program at MIIS. DPP – now underway – offers two professional masters degrees for aspiring development professionals who seek meaningful careers, whether at the grassroots level or at the headquarters of a global organization, from California’s Central Coast to any of the world’s continents (for more information, click here).

In a similarly collaborative vein, Jeff and fellow professors are perfecting an integrated classroom-plus-fieldwork approach to the teaching and learning of Policy Analysis at MIIS. In January 2014, Jeff took 25 MIIS students to the highlands of Peru to implement a research project the students themselves designed (for more on the Peru experience, click here).

Recent Publications

Latin America’s Emerging Middle Classes: Economic Perspectives (editor). Palgrave/Macmillan, forthcoming 2015.

“Legitimidad fiscal y protestas en la calle: sobre Brasil y América Latina,” Vox.Lacea July 2013, (with Christian Daude and Angel Melguizo).

The Oxford Handbook of Latin American Political Economy (editor, with Javier Santiso). Oxford University Press, 2012.

“Are the Commons a Metaphor for Our Times?” OECD Observer, 2012 (with Jesús Antón).

"Innovation from Emerging Markets: The Case of Latin America," INSEAD Working Paper 2012/76/ST, 2012,  (with L. Casanova, N.Olaya Fonstad and A. Pietikäinen).

 “The Process of Reform in Latin America,” OECD Development Centre Working Paper, 2011 (with Juliana Londoño Vélez and Sebastián Nieto Parra).

Latin American Economic Outlook 2011: How Middle-Class is Latin America? (coordinator and lead author), OECD, 2010.


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