Hankla’s research focuses on the politics of economic policy-making, including trade policy, industrial policy, and fiscal policy. Hankla also studies the impact of political decentralization on economic outcomes. Hankla often uses statistical methods to study all countries at once but is also engaged in more detailed studies of India and Europe. Hankla is often involved in consulting on issues of international development, in addition to his research, especially with the United States Agency for International Development and with the United Nations Development Program. Hankla has worked on projects relating to Vietnam, Egypt, and other countries. Hankla is also engaged in his local community in Atlanta. Hankla among other things is an elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and a PTA member at his children’s school.