Alumni Newsletter September 2014


Western's Golden Era Produced Today's Monetary Policy Makers

Recently Western Economics alumni have had a large presence on the Bank of Canada's governing board. These alumni include Governor Stephen Poloz (MA '79, PhD '82) (pictured above), Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins (MA '88), Deputy Governor Timothy Lane (PhD '83), and former Senior Deputy Governor Tiff Macklem (MA '84, PhD '89). All studied at Western during the reign of Professors Emeritus David Laidler and Michael Parkin, when Western Economics was number one in the country and had a powerhouse of researchers in macroeconomics, monetary economics and international economics.
Wilkins’ appointment at the Bank coming on the heels of Poloz’ appointment prompted The Globe and Mail to do a feature article on Laidler and Parkin. Describing it as a golden era, the article highlights the history of the pair's arrival at Western from Britain, the influence of their research on monetary policy in Canada and around the world, and the remarkable set of researchers and students who were attracted to Western in the 1970s and 1980s to work and study with them.

Western Economics alumni from this era are not just having an impact at the Bank and on Canada’s monetary policy, their influence is being felt around the world. Take current Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia Glenn Stevens (MA, 1985) as an example. Stevens, now in his second term as Governor, was recently given an honorary degree by Western in recognition of his exemplary work at the Reserve Bank, especially during the 2008 Financial Crisis. (See Western News) At his celebratory dinner, Stevens recounted how he came to Western, noting that it was quite by default. He had applied for a study abroad program while working at the Reserve Bank as a research economist and had wanted to study at the LSE. He was told by his superior that they had too many graduates from the LSE, and that he should study in the other London to learn from the best in monetary economics.

In honor of the Globe and Mail article, Western Economics is collecting comments and stories of this period, in particular, about Professors Laidler and Parkin. If you have a story that you would like to share or wish to send them a message, please do so by emailing

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