Faculty Spotlight: William S. Neilson
William (Bill) S. Neilson, J. Fred Holly Chair of Excellence, joined the UT College of Business Administration in 2006 after 18 years at Texas A&M. Neilson earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics and economics at Rice University before pursuing his graduate education in economics at the University of California at San Diego. He teaches economics in UT’s executive-level MBA programs as well as doctoral courses in game theory and mathematical economics. In the past, Neilson has taught undergraduate courses in labor and personnel economics.
Neilson is an accomplished researcher and has published almost 50 journal articles and two textbooks books in his field, the most recent being Personnel Economics, which concerns how compensation schemes can be used to motivate workers, maximize profit, and attract the right applicant pool. He still writes textbooks, but no longer sells them to big publishing houses, preferring instead to make them freely available on the Web. He recently became editor-in-chief of an academic journal, the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. In that capacity, he deals with roughly 700 new manuscripts per year.
Neilson has earned almost $1.5 million in grant funding for his research, and he has been recognized by numerous awards including the UT College of Business Administration’s Ray and Joan Myatt Outstanding Teaching, Research, and Service Award and the Sarah Alice and Tommy Bronson Outstanding Researcher Award.
Bill is an economic theorist, using mathematical tools to answer questions relevant to economics. His primary research areas include game theory, which is the study of interactions between small numbers of individuals or firms, and behavior toward risk. Currently his research is focused on features of games that lead to better performance by the players. He also works on issues in pricing, collusion, social networks, education, and law.
Neilson’s wife, Beth, is the budget director in UT’s Office of Research. They have one son, Henry, who is a junior at Rice University, majoring in materials science and engineering. The Neilsons are season ticket holders for both the UT Vols and Lady Vols basketball teams and rarely miss a game. They enjoying traveling and hiking in their free time.