John C. Downen

Deputy Director of Economic and Public Policy Research

Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute


John Downen serves as a deputy director of economic and public policy research, conducting local and regional economic studies and spatial analysis.

Mr. Downen’s recent projects include an analysis of a transfer of federal lands to the State of Utah, including analyzing the flow of federal land-based funds to the state of Utah and the state’s 29 counties as well as calculating the economic and fiscal impacts of various oil and gas, coal, and grazing scenarios. Mr. Downen completed the mapping and spatial analysis for the HUD Sustainable Communities Grant. In 2010, he created all visual mapping and produced the Salt Lake City Census 2010 Atlas. His recent Utah Economic and Business Review articles include “Neighborhood Characteristics of TRAX and FrontRunner Stations” (2014, Vol. 74, No. 1), “Mean Centers of Employment and Population on the Wasatch Front” (2012, Vol. 72, No. 3), and “The Economic Impacts of Utah’s International Exports” (2011, Vol. 71, No. 1).

Mr. Downen earned a B.A. in English with a minor in Physics from Georgetown University before earning his M.A. in Economics from Tulane University. Prior to joining the research team at the University of Utah, Mr. Downen held a wide variety of positions in California, Louisiana, and Montana, including technical editor for a large engineering firm, editorial assistant and copy editor for computer magazines, freelance editor, and research associate and publications and program coordinator for a small non-profit organization.