Job Candidates

 Take a look at the UMKC Economics job candidates in our Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program.


Dai Duong

Expected Completion
Spring, 2020
Field(s) or Research Interests
Development Economics, Political Economy, Marxian Economics
Dissertation Title
“Working as an End: The Importance of Autonomy of Labor in Shaping Human Development”

Dai Duong is a Ph.D. student in Economics and Social Science Consortium at the University
of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). He is also a lecturer of Political Economy at the Viet Nam
National University of Agriculture, Viet Nam. He has received three Master degrees: Political
Economy from the University of Economics and Business, Vietnam National
University, Hanoi; Development Studies from the International Institute of Social Studies,
Erasmus University of Rotterdam, Netherlands; and Economics from University of Missouri – KC.

Dai is interested in applying development economics, political economy, and Marxian
economics to explore and tackle urgent issues such as human development, unemployment,
the alienation of labor, inequality, commodification, and commodity fetishism. His dissertation
is focused on broadening the concept of human development and improving its measurement
by taking into account work capability, which refers to freedom in working. He aims to raise
more attention of academia and policy makers in creating legal frameworks and working
environments that support and improve working people’s work capability, which, in turn, allow
to achieve and sustain a high degree of human development for people.

In 2017, he published an article on human development and alienation in the context of
economic crisis in Viet Nam in the Capital and Class Journal. Recently, among the most
promising young researchers, he won the first prize for the research paper at the tenth
Vietnam Economist Annual Meeting Workshop 2017. The paper is titled as “Return to
education in contemporary Vietnam”. In January 2019, he presented a paper in his
dissertation on “Working as an end: the importance of work capability in shaping employees’
human development – an examination in Viet Nam”. During 2017 and 2018, Dai was the
grader in two courses “Introduction to Urban Studies” and “Cities of the World” at UMKC
Department of Architecture, Urban Planning, and Design. Since Fall 2018, he is the teaching
assistant for courses Econ 5521 Mathematical Economics and Econ 302 Microeconomic
Analysis. In Spring 2020, he is going to co-teach Econ 302 Microeconomic Analysis at

Since 2006, as a lecturer in Viet Nam, Dai has taught Marxism and Leninism Political
Economy for first-year undergraduate students. He also played an important role in writing
papers, doing surveys, and managing research projects: Difficulties in transition of livelihoods
in rural areas under industrialization; Agricultural land conversion for industrialization:
livelihood along rural-urban continuum and mechanism of social differentiation in Hung Yen
province, Viet Nam; Engendering the agricultural land use and labor migration in social
differentiation in Red River Delta region Viet Nam; and Human development in North-Eastern
region during 1999-2009, Viet Nam.

Brian Matlock

headshot of student

Expected Completion
Spring 2020
Field(s) or Research Interests
Fields: Urban/Regional Economics, Development Economics
Research Areas: Economic Development, Nonprofit Industry, Critical Management Studies, Political Economy, Economic Sociology
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Neal J. Wilson

student portrait

Expected Completion
Spring 2020
Field(s) or Research Interests
Health, Political Economy, Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Dissertation Title
“Childhood Lead Poisoning and The Built Environment in Kansas City, 2000 – 2013”
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Neal Wilson is a Research Associate with the KC Health-CORE, Research Fellow at the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity, and a Ph.D. Candidate in Economics at the University of Missouri Kansas City. Since 2014 he has been a Research Consultant for the Center for Economic Information where he applies Geographic Information Systems to better understand health disparities. Neal’s research focuses on the relationship between childhood lead poisoning and the lived environment, environmental policy as a form of social policy, as well as modeling urban environmental inequality. Prior to perusing his Ph.D. Neal co-founded the Museum of Bottled Water and spent a decade as a craft baker.