Department of Public Policy
B.A., SUNY at Oswego, 1979
MCRP Harvard University, 1981
Ph.D., New York University, 1991
Teaching & Research Interests
Citizen participation techniques
Bill Simonsen is a Professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of Connecticut. Simonsen’s research and writing focuses on public sector financial management and policy and has two main themes: 1) ways to aid public management decisions about municipal bond sales, and 2) processes that improve the ways that citizen preferences can be used in public decisions. His research on municipal bonds covers such topics as interest rate calculations, use of competitive or sole-source sale types, bond structuring and sizing, understanding decision making in the bond sale process, debt policies, and emerging bond markets. His research on citizen preferences focuses on innovative, deliberative, and realistic ways that citizen input can be elicited and used in public decisions. He frequently collaborates with his colleague Mark Robbins, also at the University of Connecticut.
Simonsen’s work has been published widely in public finance, public administration and related journals. His work has appeared in journals such as Public Administration Review; American Review of Public Administration; Public Budgeting and Finance; Municipal Finance Journal; Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management; Urban Affairs Review; State and Local Government Review; Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Journal of Urban Affairs, Public Administration Quarterly, and the Social Science Journal. His book chapters include a study of the State of Oregon budgeting practices in Budgeting in the States. His book with Mark Robbins, Citizen Participation in Resource Allocation examines methods of involving citizens in public budgeting processes.
He is currently editor of Public Budgeting & Finance along with Professor Philip Joyce at the University of Maryland. Simonsen has been on the editorial boards for both the Municipal Finance Journal and Public Budgeting and Finance (prior to becoming editor) and is a manuscript reviewer for a wide variety of journals.
Simonsen was awarded the 2015 Aaron Wildavsky Award by the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management (ABFM) for lifetime scholarly achievement in budgeting and financial management. He also won the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) Leslie A. Whittington Excellence in Teaching Award in 2008.
He was the Director of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at the University of Connecticut for 13 years, from 2001 to 2014. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Connecticut, he spent eleven years at the University of Oregon where he directed both the MPA program and the undergraduate program in Planning, Public Policy and Management. Before his academic career, Simonsen held positions at Moody’s Investors Service, New York City Human Resources Administration, New York City Office of Management and Budget, and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Simonsen obtained a B.A. in Geography from the State University of New York at Oswego, a Masters in City and Regional Planning from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Public Administration from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University.
Simonsen volunteers as the Vice Chair of the Mansfield Housing Authority in Mansfield, CT.