United States Air Force Academy

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Lieutenant Colonel Francis X. Murphy

Assistant Professor

Department of Economics & Geosciences

LTC Murphy
Contact Information

(719) 333-2057



Lieutenant Colonel Fran Murphy, PhD, is an active-duty Army Officer currently assigned to the Office of Labor and Economic Analysis (OLEA) within the Department of Economics and Geosciences at the US Air Force Academy.  OLEA provides rigorous manpower and policy analysis to inform the Air Force’s human capital portfolio.  Fran is an applied labor economist with 10+ years experience across the US Army’s manning community.  A 2002 graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, Fran also earned graduate degrees at Dartmouth (Tuck School of Business) and the University of Virginia.  His research has published at the Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, and Journal of Human Capital.  Fran previously served as a rotating faculty member (Economics) at West Point and with the First Infantry Division on multiple combat deployments to the Middle East.


PhD, University of Virginia, Education Policy (2017)

M.A., University of Virginia, Economics (2015)

M.B.A., Honors, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth (2011)

B.S., Honors, US Military Academy (USMA), English and Mechanical Engineering (2002)

Professional Experience

Branch Chief, Modeling & Requirements, Army Human Resources Command (2020-2022)

Branch Chief, Manpower Strength Analysis and Forecasting, Headquarters US Army (2018-2020)

Research Analyst, US Army Talent Management Task Force, Headquarters US Army (2017-2018)

Research Analyst & Assistant Professor of Economics, Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis and Department of Social Sciences, West Point, New York (2011-2014)

Company Commander, 1st Infantry Division, Ft. Riley, Kansas (2007-2009)

Combat Advisor to Iraqi National Police, Baghdad, Iraq (2006-2007)

Tank Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany and Tikrit, Iraq (2003-2005)

Honors & Awards

US Army Advanced Civil Schooling Scholarship (2014, 2009)

Murdy Award for Teaching Excellence – Economics, USMA Department of Social Sciences (2012)

Edward Tuck Scholar Award, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth (2011)

Graduate with Honors, US Military Academy (2002)

Bronze Star Medal (2007, 2005)

Meritorious Service Medal (2022, 2020, 2014, 2009)

Valorous Unit Award (2005)

Combat Action Badge (2005)

Army Staff Identification Badge (2018)

Research and Scholarly Interests

Labor Economics

Economics of Education

Military Manpower


“Does Increased Exposure to Peers with Adverse Characteristics Reduce Workplace Performance?  Evidence from a Natural Experiment in the US Army.”  2019.  Journal of Labor Economics, 37(2): 435-466.

“Marching across Generations? Education Benefits and Intra-Household Decision Making,” with Benjamin L. Castleman and William L. Skimmyhorn.  2019.  Journal of Human Capital, 13(3): 410-433.

“Nudges Don’t Work When the Benefits Are Ambiguous: Evidence from a High-Stakes Education Program,” with Benjamin L. Castleman, Richard W. Patterson, and William L. Skimmyhorn.  2021.  Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 40(4): 1230-1248.

“Framing the Big Data Ethics Debate for the Military,” with Karl F. Schneider and David S. Lyle.  2015.  Joint Forces Quarterly, 77: 16-23.

Contributor, Guide to Personal Financial Planning for the Armed Forces, 7th edition, by S. Jamie Gayton and Scott P. Handler.  2012.  Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books.

“Work Boots to Combat Boots: Mass Layoffs and Military Enlistment,” with Dalton Ruh and Sarah Turner.  Revisions Requested, Journal of Labor Economics

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go: Optimizing Enlisted Personnel Assignments in the United States Army Using a Multicriteria Assignment Problem,“ with Matthew D. Ferguson.  Under Review