Professor Burgess came to ASU in 1969 after earning his Ph.D. in economics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has taught a wide variety of courses, ranging from principles of economics for freshmen to graduate courses in labor economics. He served as Chair of the Department of Economics from 1989 to 1994. He also served as Chair of the University's Strategic Planning and Budgeting Committee during 1993 and 1994. Prior to his academic career, he was a Cost Analyst and Cost Accountant for Ford Motor Company and a Research Economist for the City of Denver, Colorado.
Professor Burgess specializes in labor economics and the economics of unemployment insurance. In 1990, his work in unemployment insurance was honored by the National Foundation for Unemployment Compensation, which presented him with the Joseph M. Becker Distinguished Career Research Achievement Award at its annual meeting in New Orleans. His research has been funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's National Chamber Foundation, the National Commission on Unemployment Compensation, the U.S. Department of Labor, the national Advisory Council on Unemployment Compensation and more than one-third of all states. Professor Burgess has conducted numerous studies on the unemployment insurance (UI) system that focus on topics such as: claimant compliance with UI regulations; the adequacy of UI benefits; the effects of UI benefits on job search and reemployment; advance notice of layoffs; the effects of specialized job search assistance on reemployment earnings; fraud within the UI system; employer compliance with UI tax regulations; adverse incentives of the federal system of national and state regulations; computerized profiling for allocating compliance resources; and UI incentives that encourage employers to engage in early layoffs of new hires. His other research interests include the effects of performance, bargaining power and final offer arbitration on salaries in major league baseball.
The results of Professor Burgess' research are published in numerous research monographs, books and journals, including articles in the Journal of Labor Economics, the Journal of Law and Economics and Industrial and Labor Relations Review. He also has testified before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee on various reforms of the unemployment insurance system.