About me

davidsmerdon_hiscropI grew up in Brisbane, Australia, and moved to the very liveable city of Melbourne for my undergraduate studies when I was 17. At the University of Melbourne, I majored in statistics, psychology and discrete mathematics before moving to Canberra. I spent three years working for the Australian Department of Treasury as a policy analyst. Here, I prepared policy documents on topics in international development and the regulation of financial markets, briefed government ministers and other attendees of the G20 meetings, and assessed proposals for Australia’s foreign aid program.

In 2011 I was awarded a John Monash scholarship and moved to Amsterdam to undertake a PhD in economics, under the joint supervision of Professor Theo Offerman and Professor Uri Gneezy. I lived in Amsterdam for five years before moving to Italy in 2016 after being awarded a Marie Curie fellowship as an Early-Stage Researcher. I was PODER fellow at the University of Bocconi in Milan, working on a project to eradicate female genital mutilation in Somalia. In September 2017, I completed the cycle by moving back to Brisbane to take up a tenure-track position in the School of Economics at the University of Queensland. I was granted tenure in 2020 and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2022.

I am also a chess Grandmaster, and have represented the Australian national team at seven chess Olympiads, published a book, authored several research articles, commentated for international events and delivered many lectures to live and online audiences. Playing chess at an elite level has allowed me to cultivate my love of problem solving into an assortment of skills, such as strategic intuition, tactical reasoning, calculation, memory and an understanding of psychological behavior.  I have a blog that is mainly focused on chess, but also contains some writings about topics in economics.