David R. Barker

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David R. Barker
Barker in 2008
Born (1961-05-07) May 7, 1961 (age 62)
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
University of Chicago
TitleRegent, Board of Regents, State of Iowa
SpouseSarah Richardson

David R. Barker (born May 7, 1961) is an American author, academic, businessman, and politician, who began serving as a regent on the Board of Regents of the State of Iowa on May 1, 2019.[1] A former economist for the Federal Reserve, Barker operates a real estate and finance company[2] and is an Iowa Republican Party official.[3] His academic research has been covered in print and broadcast media including Marketplace,[4] As It Happens,[5] The Economist,[6] Time,[7][8] and The New York Times.[9] He has also written for U.S. News & World Report,[10] The Christian Science Monitor,[11] Collier's,[12] and other publications.

Early life and education[edit]

David Barker is a sixth-generation Iowan. He graduated from Iowa City West High School, then received a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago.[2] He also attended the London School of Economics during his junior year of college.

Academic career[edit]

After completing graduate school Barker worked as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, helping to develop an early warning system for failing banks and methods to detect racial discrimination in mortgage lending, as well as conducting analysis of the Basel Accord capital requirements.

After moving back to Iowa in 1994, Barker taught real estate and corporate finance at the University of Iowa as an adjunct professor.[13][14][15] In 1997 he began teaching real estate to MBAs at the University of Chicago, which he continued to do until 2007. Barker also taught urban economics to undergraduates at the University of Chicago for several years. He has also taught at CIMBA in Paderno del Grappa, Italy.[16]

Barker's academic research covers a variety of topics, including real estate markets, urban economics, terrorism insurance, health economics, business ethics, economic history, and libertarian political economy.

A 2009 paper on the effects of home ownership on children received widespread attention. It argued that previous academic work showing positive effects of home ownership on children's test scores and behavior failed in adequately controlling for factors other than home ownership and that when they are taken into account, home ownership has no economically or statistically-significant effects.[17][18]

A paper analyzing the economics of the 1867 Alaska Purchase by the US from Russia argued that the financial returns to the federal government, tax revenue minus administrative costs, have been lower than alternative investments with similar risk.[19][20]

Barker is the author of Welcome to Free America,[21][22] a book set in 2057 as a guide to immigrants coming to the former United States after the collapse of government. It describes a difficult period of transition, but eventually, private companies take over functions previously performed by governments, such as security, dispute resolution, production of money and infrastructure, and national defense. The result is a society that is different, in many ways, from today.[23] Barker stated that he does not advocate the elimination of government and that his book is only an attempt to explore where libertarian ideas might lead. According to him, the result could be considered by different people to be a utopia or a dystopia.[24][25]

Political activities[edit]

Barker was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in 2016.[26] He is also a member of the State Central Committee of the Republican Party of Iowa[3] and was appointed to the Executive Council of the Empower Rural Iowa Initiative by Governor Kim Reynolds.[27]

Business activities[edit]

Barker's companies own over 2,000 apartments in the Midwestern United States, along with office buildings, self-storage facilities, and convenience stores. Barker is also president of Barker Financial, which makes commercial loans.[28] Barker has also constructed new apartments.[29] In 2017 and 2018 Barker completed historic renovation projects in Marion, Iowa,[30] Fort Madison, Iowa,[31] and Fond du Lac, Wisconsin,[32] and a $20.4 million purchase of apartments in Little Rock, Arkansas.[33]


  1. ^ "Iowa Senate confirms 184 appointees, including three to Board of Regents". Sioux City Journal. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "58th Annual Management Conference 2010: Speaker Profile". May 28, 2010. Archived from the original on May 28, 2010. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Leadership -". iowagop.org. August 29, 2014. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  4. ^ "Alaska: Did we get what we paid for?". American Public Media. December 7, 2009. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  5. ^ "Alaska Net Loss". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on December 12, 2010.
  6. ^ "Pass the hemlock: Just imagine that countries still traded land for money". The Economist. November 19, 2011. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  7. ^ Kiviat, Barbara (September 11, 2010). "Is Homeownership Good for the Kids". Time. Archived from the original on October 16, 2011. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  8. ^ Kiviat, Barbara (September 11, 2010). "The Case Against Homeownership". Time. Archived from the original on October 16, 2011. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  9. ^ Powell, Michael (August 18, 2010). "How Alaska Became a Federal Aid Magnet". The New York Times. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  10. ^ "Five Economic Mistakes Obama is Making". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved April 21, 2014.
  11. ^ Barker, David. "Five budget realities no politician will talk about". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved April 21, 2014.
  12. ^ Barker, David. "The Everlasting Problems with Social Security". Collier's. Archived from the original on April 28, 2014. Retrieved April 21, 2014.
  13. ^ "Database: State of Iowa employee salaries". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  14. ^ Gay, Mara (November 20, 2011). "Hill of Means". The Daily. Archived from the original on September 13, 2012. Retrieved September 30, 2018 – via archive.is.
  15. ^ "Directory Search". The University of Iowa. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  16. ^ "National Multi-Housing Council" (PDF).
  17. ^ Barker, David R. (2013). "The Evidence Does Not Show That Homeownership Benefits Children" (PDF). Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research. 15 (2): 231–234.
  18. ^ Barker, David; Miller, Eric (July 2009). "Home ownership and Child Welfare". Real Estate Economics. 37 (2): 279–303. CiteSeerX doi:10.1111/j.1540-6229.2009.00243.x. S2CID 153817979.
  19. ^ "Economist: Alaska purchase hasn't paid off for US". Anchorage Daily News. September 29, 2016 [November 11, 2009]. Archived from the original on July 9, 2018. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  20. ^ Tabarrok, Alex (February 16, 2010). "Was Alaska a Good Buy?". marginalrevolution. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  21. ^ Barker, David R. (October 26, 2011). Welcome to Free America. Indiana: Free America Immigration Services Press. ISBN 978-1105027796.
  22. ^ Guerrero, Aaron (January 24, 2012). "Economist Imagines Lifting the Leviathan". Roll Call. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  23. ^ Laib, Steven D. "Welcome to Free America". Intellectual Conservative. Archived from the original on March 30, 2012. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  24. ^ "University of Iowa News Release". December 20, 2011. Archived from the original on January 9, 2012.
  25. ^ Barker, David (2011). Welcome to Free America. ISBN 978-1105027796.
  26. ^ "White House hopefuls court early-state kingmakers in Cleveland". POLITICO. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  27. ^ Shanahan, Julia. "Reynolds seeks to boost rural development". The Daily Iowan. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  28. ^ "Boom & little gloom at Iowa City economic forecast". corridorbusiness.com. May 22, 2018. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  29. ^ Schorpp, Doug. "Silvis welcomes growth in commercial, residential offerings". Quad-City Times. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  30. ^ "Large group celebrates Cobban-Hervey ribbon-cutting". Marion Times. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  31. ^ "Barker ready to cut ribbon on upper apartments > PenCityCurrent.com". PenCityCurrent.com. July 24, 2018. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  32. ^ "Wisconsin's Hotel Retlaw Will Open After Renovation This Fall". Lodging. February 23, 2018. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  33. ^ "In $20.4M deal, Little Rock apartments sell". Arkansas Online. July 29, 2018. Retrieved September 30, 2018.