Faculty Portrait

Contact Information

Name: Robert W. Wassmer, Ph.D.

Title: PPA Vice Chairperson and Professor

Office Location: Tahoe Hall, Room 3037; Downtown Center, Room 226

Email: rwassme@csus.edu

Office Phone: 916.278.4556

Mailing Address: 6000 J Street, MS 6081, Sacramento, CA 95819

Office Hours: By appointment

About Rob Wassmer

Rob Wassmer has served as a professor in the Department of Public Policy and Administration at California State University, Sacramento (Sac State), for 27 years.  He led this department as its chairperson for 13 of these years.  Between 2009 and 2021, Wassmer also directed the Sac State Masters of Science Program in Urban Land Development (MSULD).  Professor Wassmer is also a founder and core faculty in the College of Education's Doctorate in Education Leadership Program (EdD).  Rob teaches master's and doctoral level courses in public policy related to microeconomics, urban economics, state and local public finance, education, benefit/cost analysis, and statistical regression analysis.  He has supervised nearly 200 master's degree culminating projects at Sac State.

Professor Wassmer earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan (1983), a Master of Arts in Economics from Binghamton University in New York (1985), and a Ph.D. in Economics from Michigan State University (1989).  Before moving to Sacramento in 1995, Professor Wassmer held the position of assistant professor in economics and research associate with the College of Urban, Labor, and Metropolitan Affairs at Wayne State University in Detroit.  In 2001 he received the Sacramento State President's Award for Research and Creative Activity.  Later, in 2011, Dr. Wassmer received Sac State's top award for Outstanding Scholarly Achievement.

Wassmer's research on a broad range of public policy topics has appeared in academic journals like Economic Development Quarterly, Cityscape, Journal of Planning Education and Research, Housing Policy Debate, Economics of Education Review, Urban Studies, Public Finance Review, Public Choice, Public Budgeting and Finance, Regional Science and Urban Economics, Journal of Housing Economics, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, and the Journal of Urban Economics.  The Community College Review, Educational Policy, National Tax Journal, and the Economics of Education Review have all served as outlets for his research related to education policyWassmer has published books with the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and Blackwell.  He has chapters in books produced by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Urban Institute, and Brookings Institution.  While in 2017, Professor Wassmer provided two chapters to the textbook Applied Policy Research: Concepts and Cases.  Rob has offered his advice to groups like the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, Urban Land Institute, National Education Association, City of Los Angeles on Business Tax Reform, California Futures Network, Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Sacramento American Lung Association, Senator Darryl Steinberg, California Department of Conservation, and various California Legislative Committees.  Since 2013 he has served as an associate editor of the academic journal Economic Development Quarterly.  His current research interest revolves around the causes, consequences, and possible policy solutions to California's housing affordability crisis.   


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Michigan State University
Dissertation: Taxes, Property Tax Abatement, Expenditure, and the Composition of the Property Tax Base in a Metropolitan Area

State University of New York

Oakland University

Courses Taught

PPA 207—Quantitative Methods in Public Policy and Administration

PPA 220A—Applied Economic Analysis I

PPA 220B—Applied Economic Analysis II

PPA 251—Urban Problems, Economics, and Public Policy

PPA 500—Culminating Experience

EDD 602—Policy and Practice for Educational Leaders I

Robert W. Wassmer, Ph.D.