Meet the Advisors: Kelly Edmiston

August 17, 2017
By Ana Nixon


Kelly Edmiston, a senior economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, has spent 13 years researching and presenting complex economic information to a broad audience, mastering the process of making scholarly-type work digestible for public consumption.

 “I like to go out and speak to groups about economic and community development issues to generate conversations with the audience and directly influence policy and practice,” he said.  “I feel like I’m making a real contribution when people learn things as a result of my work and research.” 

Kelly produces research for Bank publications and academic journals, mostly related to community and economic development, public policy, public finance, consumer finance and housing. “Our community development work is thoroughly grounded in research and best practices, not in emotion or conventional wisdom,” he said. He selects research topics based on information from the community, places where he speaks, colleagues, the Bank’s Community Development Advisory Council, and gaps in existing research.  

A recent report, for example, examined the effects of natural disasters on personal finances. “Financial resiliency is broader than how much money one makes or saves. I wanted to see how resilient people are to financial shocks based on their financial vulnerability before the shock,” Kelly said. The research shows that financially vulnerable people and communities are significantly less resilient. “This paper ties to our Plan, Prepare and Prevail (P3) disaster-recovery resources. Other organizations were exploring similar concepts, but more research was needed on the topic.” 

Kelly has also written three research papers and given a number of presentations about student loan debt and delinquency, all of which have received significant attention and discussion. “These research papers and presentations have been effective in educating professionals and students about student loan issues, helping to counter a great deal of misinformation,” he said. 

While at the Kansas City Fed, Kelly occasionally has been an adjunct professor at the University of Kansas and Rockhurst University, where he has been on the advisory board for the Helzberg School of Management. 

Before joining the Kansas City Fed, Kelly was at the Andrew Young School of Public Policy Studies at Georgia State University, where he was an assistant professor of economics, a senior associate at the Fiscal Research Center and a senior associate at the International Center for Public Policy. He also spent time with the World Bank and USAID, covering several overseas missions.

Kelly lives in Overland Park, Kan., with his wife, who is a veterinarian, and four young children. He spends his free time reading, cooking, participating in church-related activities and traveling with his family. A native of Virginia, Kelly graduated high school in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He has a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate, both in economics, from the University of Tennessee.