Earl Grinols

Distinguished Professor of Economics - Economics

Contact Information

Campus Phone:  (254) 710-1903
Fax:  (254) 710-6142
Mailing Address:  One Bear Place #98003
Waco, TX  76798
Office Location:  Foster Business and Innovation 320.13

Office Hours

FALL 2019
Monday & Wednesday 2:15 PM - 3:15 PM
or by appointment

Educational Background

  • PHD - Economics, Mass Institute Technology
  • BA - Mathematics, University Of Minnesota
  • BS - Economics, University Of Minnesota


Earl L. Grinols (1951-), American economist, political scientist, and author, currently works as Distinguished Professor of Economics at Baylor University. He is known for his contributions to the economics of gambling, Gambling in America: Costs and Benefit, and health care, Health Care for Us All: Getting More for Our Investment. His current research is on efficient intervention policies.

Grinols has been cited by media and news outlets including the Economist, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, USA Today and others. He has reviewed for numerous journals, presses, and publications, and testified before Congress and many statehouses from Maine to Hawaii.


Grinols was born in Bemidji, Minnesota. His father and grandfather were president and vice president of the Grinols Implement and Fuel Company, a 70-75 employee enterprise. He was raised in St. Paul. Grinols attended the University of Michigan for undergraduate study where he was a James B. Angell scholar. He received two summa cum laude degrees from the University of Minnesota in mathematics and economics. He earned his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977.

Grinols has taught at or held positions with Cornell University, the University of Chicago, the University of Washington, MIT, the University of Illinois, and the Department of the Treasury in addition to Baylor University. He was Senior Economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisors in the presidency of Ronald Reagan.

During his tenures at Cornell and Illinois, Grinols chaired each university’s faculty benefits committee. He also served in the university senate and other positions of responsibility. He was a founding member and first president of Illini Christian Faculty and Staff and has served two terms as president of The Association of Christian Economists.

His current teaching is mathematics, public finance, and microeconomics at Baylor University.

In 1994 testimony to Congress, Grinols was one of the first academicians to recommend the formation of a national commission on gambling. The National Gambling Impact Study Commission was formed two years later in 1996, and issued its report, among other recommendations calling for a moratorium on the expansion of gambling in the United States in 1999.

In 2004 Grinols' third book, Gambling in America: Costs and Benefits, was published by Cambridge University Press. His work "Casinos, Crime, and Community Costs" studied all 3,165 counties in the United States for a twenty year period to establish statistical links between casinos and FBI Index I crime.

In February of 2007, Grinols became somewhat of a celebrity in the Speech and Debate universe. The Public Forum Debate topic for that month was "Resolved: The costs of legalized casino gambling in the Unites States outweigh the benefits." Because of having a high score on Google's PageRank algorithm, Grinols' research was a favorite amongst debaters. Despite having anti-casino conclusions, Grinols' research was used on both sides of the debate, a testament to his credibility some have surmised.


Grinols' scholarly researches and writings span topics in International Trade, Macroeconomics, Public Finance, Finance, Gambling, and Healthcare. He has published four books in addition to many articles in professional journals. Notable publications include:

1) The paper, "An Extension of the Kemp-Wan Theorem on the Formation of Customs Unions," resolved an unanswered open question by deriving a compensation formula guaranteeing welfare gains to any nation joining a customs union. Grinols’ compensations are always feasible. Furthermore, he showed that there exist situations in which they are the only feasible compensations.

2) A paper entitled, "Increasing Returns and the Gains from Trade," settled another open question by identifying conditions under which countries will gain from trade even in the presence of industries that exhibit increasing returns to scale.

3) A longstanding economic question was whether government should discount less highly for risk than a private firm or enterprise with some authors arguing for “one-sided rules” where social rates are always lower or equal to private discount rates. Grinols’ “Public Investment and Social Risk-Sharing,” showed that “the difference between the social value of a public project and its market value is determined by the social insurance value that the project has from improving risk-sharing relative to the market. Depending on the project and degree of market imperfection, this term can be positive, negative, or zero, explaining the different possibilities for the social evaluation of risk (p. 303).” In the setting of the mean-variance model the analysis produces an intuitively appealing formula that is explained with reference to the space of risk spanned by marketed securities.

4) His book, "Gambling in America: Costs and Benefits," demonstrates the cost and benefit evaluation of introducing a new industry (not just gambling) into the economy.

5) His empirical paper, "Casinos, Crime, and Community Costs," attracted great attention and was the first to use data from every United States county over a 20-year period to evaluate the impact of introducing casinos on crime rates.

6) His book on health care, Health Care for Us All, appeared in 2009. It encourages pro-competitive legislative action such as posting of prices, a most favored customer clause, targeted intervention, and mechanisms to provide intentional control over national expenditures not generally contained in other proposals.

Other contributions answer questions about rules of origin consistent with guaranteed gains from trade in free trade area formation, results that explain the valuation of assets for risk when they provide improvements in the set of risk sharing assets, investigations into replacing patents with more modern and efficient structures, trade policy applications, entitlement reform and health care.


Applied or Integration/Application Scholarship

"A Lesson on How Health Insurance Really Works," (September 2009) (coauthors: Jim Henderson).

Presentations and Proceedings

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