David Swenson 

Research Scientist

Department of Economics

College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

Iowa State University



School of Urban and Regional Planning and Public Policy

The University of Iowa

Contact Information

Email                         dswenson@iastate.edu

Phone                       515.294.7458

Mobile                      515.509.1429 (preferred during COVID period)

Address                    177 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011

Quick link to my URP 6290 Class 

    Other links          

Video Library  (short instructional videos on many topics)

Studies & reports

Other stuff about me

My resume

Research and Service Summary

My work is in community economic analysis, technical assistance, outreach and projects supporting the department’s and the Ag College’s efforts in community development and in providing economics education services to the public.  Areas of research and specialization include community and regional economic studies and evaluations, economic development research and technical assistance, input-output (economic impact) studies, fiscal impact research, public finance and tax policy, community change and worker mobility issues, and public program and project evaluation.

My services are delivered to communities, citizens, public and private organizations and to local or state government via research reports, on-site training and education programming, community and staff educational curriculum development, print and broadcast media interviews, and through seminars and public speaking appearances.  I work in collaboration with and directly in support of all ISU and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences economic outreach activities, to include ISU extension services and other university centers.

 Current Research and Service Projects 

*       Biomass-related economic impact analysis

*       Nationwide training initiative sponsored by USDA regarding local foods economic impact analysis

*       Wind energy and other clean energy impacts

*       Prospects and limits to local foods development in the Midwest and in Iowa

*       Economic impact evaluation guidelines for public universities

*       Tax Increment Financing reform

*       Green jobs and implications for rural areas

*       Targeted industrial analysis and assessment for Iowa regions (EDA Funded)

*       General research and technical assistance to the Center for Industrial Research and Services

*       Leopold Center funded research on

o    Local ownership of ethanol plants

o    The economic and fiscal impacts of organic crop conversion

o    The economic impacts of fresh fruits and vegetable production in Iowa State University

*       Ongoing outreach, research, and services in support of the College of Agriculture’s and the economic department’s efforts in rural development and economics education

Teaching (click on course code below for a direct link to course web site)

 I am an adjunct lecturer and a member of the graduate faculty in the community and regional planning program at ISU and, separately, I am a lecturer in the graduate program in urban and regional planning at The University of Iowa.

 My current or recent courses are:


URP 6290               Economic Impact Assessment (Fall – The University of Iowa)


CRP 272                  Planning Analysis and Techniques I (Fall – ISU)

CRP 523                  Economic Analysis, Evaluation, and the Financing of Public Project      (Spring – ISU)

CRP 566                 Values and Decision Making (Spring – ISU)

CDEV 532X              Economic Analysis II (Great Plains IDEA)


         MA                           Urban and Regional Planning, The University of Iowa, 1985

         MA                           Political Science, University of South Dakota, 1981

         BA                            Political Science and Criminal Justice, University of South Dakota, 1979

Bachelor of Rhymes      Cheyenne-Eagle Butte kindergarten, Eagle Butte, SD.  1961


Video Library

Adjusting Data for Presentation and Analysis

Adjusting for inflation – MP4 Video

Calculating rates of change for simple projections – MP4 Video

Using Ratios and Indexes for Trend Analysis – MP4 Video

The Elements of Economic Base and Impact Analysis

Introduction to Economic Base Analysis & Community Basic Sector Multipliers – MP4 Video

Using Location Quotients to Determine an Area Multiplier – MP4 Video

Calculating Location Quotients to Measure Industrial Specialization – MP4 Video

Calculating Occupational Location Quotients – MP4 Video

Input Output Logic and Mathematics: Introduction – MP4 Video

Introduction to RIMS II Multipliers – MP4 Video

Further Applications of RIMS II Multipliers – Bill of Goods Demonstration – MP4 Video

Market or Trade Area Considerations

Trade Performance Measures – MP4 Video

Regional Trade Area Analysis: Using Reilly’s Law to Determine Trade Territories – MP4 Video

What is a Labor Shed? – MP4 Video

Basic Demographics

Introduction to the American Community Survey – MP4 Video

Introduction to Sampling and Probability – MP4 Video

Sample Size and Spatial Coverage – MP4 Video

Components of Population Change – MP4 Video

Demographics Affecting Rural Schools – MP4 Video

Analyzing Public Finance Data

Property tax capacity and effort – MP4 Video

Other Instructional / Workshops

Extension Outreach and Public Service: Determining or Public Worth and Conveying it ProperlyMP4 Video

Benefit Cost Analysis Videos

1.     Introduction to benefit cost analysis and its history: Link

2.     Introduction to BCA plus an introduction to welfare economics:  Link

3.     Welfare economics continued:  Link

4.     Discussions on consumer surplus, market failures, and remedies:  Link

5.     Elements of BCA – benefits and costs identified:  Link

6.     Elementary BCA examples and discussion:  Link

7.     Time value of money:   Link   Note:  I make a spreadsheet error – pay attention to what I say, not what I do (-;

8.     Additional discussion on valuing inputs and outputs into BCA:  Link

9.     Circular A-94 and additional discussion of BCA examples:  Link

10.BCA Case Studies: Link