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