News and Announcements
Western Economics Honors graduate Jim Gillies passed away at the age of 91 in Toronto on December 13. Dr. Gillies was the founding dean of York University's business school, now named the Schulich School of Business. He joined York in 1965 after serving as an assistant dean in the UCLA business school. A native of Teeswater, Ont., Dr. Gillies studied at Western with an interruption beginning in 1944 to serve in the RCAF. He obtained his MA from Brown and PhD in urban land economics from Indiana University. After building up York's business school he served as that university's VP of academic affairs. In 1972 he entered federal politics as a Progressive Conservative MP and later was a top advisor to Prime Minister Joe Clark. Dr. Gillies returned to York in 1980 and only ceased teaching in 2009. He was named to the Order of Canada and was awarded several honorary degrees and many other accolades over his distinguished career. (See Toronto Star, December 19, 2015.)
Citing work done by Lance Lochner, The US Secretary of Education recently proposed to redirect $15 billion from correctional facilities toward salaries of teachers in high poverty schools. See a Huffington Post article October, 2015.
Saif Hamid Shah, a fourth-year economics student, is an External Ambassador for and will attend the Warwick Economics Summit 2016 in the UK. The Summit is one of the largest student-run academic conferences in Europe. The scope of the conference includes economics as well as related spheres in the social sciences, including development, politics, psychology and international relations. In previous years speakers at the Summit have included Vítor Constâncio, Vice-President of the European Central Bank; Professor John F. Nash Jr., Nobel Laureate in Economics; and Professor Ian Goldin, former Vice-President of the World Bank.
A recent article in The Economist, "Ham-fisted handouts: China’s biggest anti-poverty programme isn’t working," October 31, 2015, draws on research from a World Bank report by Terry Sicular (with coauthors Jennifer Golan and Nithin Umpathi), that raises concerns about government anti-poverty programs.
Among a team of eight, Murray Wu, fourth-year economics student, has developed a revolutionary way to change the traditional electric plug which he believes will make things easier and safer around the home. For more information, see Western News.
Lance Lochner, with his co-authors Philippe Belley (PhD 2011) and Marc Frenette, were awarded the Harry Johnson Prize for the best article published in the Canadian Journal of Economics in 2014. Their article, "Post-Secondary Attendance by Parental Income in the U.S. and Canada: What Role for Financial Aid Policy," appeared in the May 2014 issue.
Canada's mortgage insurance risk needs a better backstop fund, according to a new report released July 8, 2015 by the C.D. Howe Institute. In "Mortgage Insurance as a Macroprudential Tool: Dealing with the Risk of a Housing Market Crash in Canada," authors Thorsten V. Koeppl and James MacGee suggest an era of steadily rising house prices and high mortgage debt warrants concern over the potential exposure of Canada's mortgage insurance system – and taxpayers. See the Financial Post and an op-ed piece July 16, 2015, "Why Canada Needs a Better Mortgage Backstop." In addition, their research was cited as a C.D. Howe Institute study in The Economist, "Late to the Party: An Economy Renowned for Sobriety Has Binged on Debt," October 17, 2015.
In recognition of being the recipient of the 2015 Thomas Guggenheim Prize, Western News is featuring a conversation with Professor Emeritus David Laidler. See Western News.
John Whalley and Grant Reuber are featured on Western's Homepage in the rotating banner entitled, Celebrating Research - Recounting 51 Firsts - pioneered at Western, under Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences. See Western News.
Honorary Degree recipient Amartya Sen, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics, addressed graduates at Western’s 305th Convocation on Monday, June 15, 2015. Dr. Sen is the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. Dr. Audra Bowlus, Chair of Western Economics, gave the citation for Sen noting that his linking of social choice theory and welfare economics has led many to call him the “conscience of the profession.” See Western News.
On the occasion of the anniversary of her appointment to Senior Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, the Financial Post reports that Carolyn Wilkins (M.A. 1988) has been given an honourable one-year report card by many of her colleagues. Since joining the Bank in 2001, Wilkins has developed an immense amount of respect through intelligence, determination and attributes described as opinionated but measured in her willingness to speak her mind to achieve the right outcome. In her current post, Wilkins oversees the Bank’s strategic planning and operations, while sharing responsibility for the conduct of monetary policy as a member of the Bank’s Governing Council.
Research by Betsy Caucutt, Lance Lochner and Yongmin Park on the reasons why children of poorer parents exhibit less developed math and reading skills by the time they begin grade school is featured in an article in The Washington Post, April 28, 2015 entitled “The real reason why poor kids perform worse in school – and in life.” Their research indicates that information and credit market failures are at the root of these differences, and that government programs aimed at providing information on the value of early childhood investments and financial programs to help families with those investments would reduce the gaps.
Western Economics is pleased to announce that John Knight was nominated by the graduate students as Graduate Professor of the Year and Chris Robinson was nominated by the undergraduate students as Undergraduate Professor of the Year. Yuxi Yao was selected as the 2014-2015 Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year. Fulei Liu was named Tutorial Leader of the Year by the first year class of undergraduate students.
Congratulations to Professor Charles Zheng who has been selected for the second time as the recipient of the Christopher J. Grimes Faculty Fellowship in Microeconomic Theory. Charles Zheng, who is a specialist in auction theory, was recruited to Western in 2010. Zheng’s fellowship appointment runs from 2015-2020.
Congratulations are extended to Professor Salvador Navarro who has been appointed as the W. Glenn Campbell Faculty Research Fellow for a five-year term, 2015-2020. Salvador joined Western Economics in 2011. His current research focusses on the identifying productivity across firms, models of skills and peer effects for human capital accumulation, the deterrence effects of capital punishment and gun policies, and racial profiling.
Congratulations are extended to Professor Tim Conley, who has been named a 2015-2017 Social Science Faculty Scholar. The award recognizes the complete scholar who has maintained an excellent record in research and teaching, and who has recently achieved prominence in one of these two domains. In 2014, Conley was awarded the William G. Davis Chair in International Trade.
Stephanie Duhaime (B.A. Economics and BESc, 2003), appointed as the charge d'affaires of Canada's diplomatic mission in Iraq in April 2013, returned home last summer after serving two years reconstructing Canada's presence in the country. Duhaime was recently profiled in Western's Alumni Gazette where she reflected on her experiences in Iraq and how her training at Western contributed to her success. For further information, see Western News.
Governor Poloz (MA ’79, PhD ’82) gave the inaugural address at the President’s Lecture Series at Western on February 24. At the beginning of his speech Poloz mentioned important lessons that he learned here at Western from Professors Emeritus Laidler and Parkin. Poloz stated that these lessons were still important today as the Bank works to find new ways to bring financial stability and growth to Canada. See Western News.
Eric Huang is a member of one of two Western teams that have advanced to the regional finals in the Hult Prize Challenge – the world’s largest student competition and start-up platform for social good. The theme for this year’s Hult Prize is Early Childhood Education: The Unmet Need of the Century. Along with his other Western teammates, Eric is scheduled to compete in Boston on March 13-14, 2015. For more information, see Western News.
The 2015 Thomas Guggenheim Prize for the History of Economic Thought has been awarded to David Laidler. A lifetime achievement award for outstanding and original research in the History of Economic Thought, the prize is awarded bi-annually and is administered by the Thomas Guggenheim Program at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Laidler will be awarded the prize at a public lecture he will deliver at a conference organized by the Thomas Guggenheim Foundation (Geneva), the IIE (University of Geneva) and Ben Gurion University (Israel) on: "Economic Research and Policy at the Federal Reserve: Past, Present and Future in International Perspective" to be held in Geneva in June, 2015. (See Western News.)
Haoming Liu (Phd, '99) is the winner of the 2015 Kuznets Prize for his paper "The quality-quantity trade-off: evidence from the relaxation of China's one-child policy" in the Journal of Population Economics. The paper was nominated as the best article published in the Journal of Population Economics in 2014. The award was presented to Liu in early January at the 2015 Allied Social Science Associations meeting.