The Humanitas Visiting Professorship in Economic Thought seeks to examine the complex factors behind the economies and economic issues of today’s world. It is an opportunity for leading economists – both practitioners and academics – to participate with students and members of the public in exchanges about many of the issues facing the world today.

The Visiting Professorship in Economic Thought is made possible by the generous support of Donald Marron and is hosted by All Souls College, Oxford.

Roger Myerson 2013-2014

Roger Myerson is a Nobel-laureate and Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor of Economics.

In his lecture, Democratic Decentralisation and Economic Development, Roger Myerson argued that decentralisation is the key to building new and democratic states. For Myerson, decentralisation allows local leaders to take some autonomous authority and become viable political candidates with vested interests in the populace that they govern. Such an approach would effectively reduce entry barriers into national politics for newly created states, resulting a better overall democracy.

Stanley Fischer 2012-2013

Stanley Fischer is the Governor of the Bank of Israel.

Professor Stanley Fischer’s series was based around the theme Lessons of the Crisis 2007-2012. His lecture focused on the lessons learned from the Great Recession of 2007-2012, and on the economic policy controversies and open ended questions surrounding the policies implemented in dealing with it. Professor Fischer explained the Great Recession by tracing the variables of growth, exports, unemployment, fiscal policy, monetary policy, and indicators of financial stability leading up to and continuing through the crisis. He carefully explained this data to the audience, drawing out the theoretical lessons and concluding by highlighting their practical applications: namely, that strong supervision of the banking system, as well as macroprudential supervisions, are essential.

The lecture was followed by a series of workshops for graduate students led by Professor Fischer and other prominent economists. Professor Fischer gave two workshops on Central bank laws: negotiating a new law, 2005-2010 and How would it differ if it were to be negotiated all over again in 2012?. Professor John Vickers gave a workshop on the Lessons for banking reform. This was followed by a workshop given by Professor Hyun Song Shin on Lessons on Capital flows and financial stability. All three speakers closed the series with a half-hour panel discussion.

Partha Dasgupta 2011-2012

Sir Partha Dasgupta is Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Cambridge.

Sir Partha Dasgupta’s lecture, entitled Time and the Generations, presented an overview of the process by which we assess economic performance and prescribe policy remedies. He elaborated on each step along with the history of the development of methods, focusing on the issue of sustaining human well-being across the generations.

His lecture set the stage for the following workshops and seminars entitled Discounting Climate Change and The Idea of Personhood in Intergenerational Wellbeing, where Professor Dasgupta gave a much more detailed view of the analytics of assessing economic performance and prescribing remedies for a more specialised audience. He was joined by Professor Sir Robert Watson, DEFRA Chief Scientific Advisor and Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, and Professor John Broome, White’s Professor of Moral Philosophy, University of Oxford, who each gave a masterclass. Professor Watson’s masterclass focused on the implementation of Professor Dasgupta’s assessment and policy approaches in the context of the UK government climate-change policy. Professor Watson was uniquely qualified to lead this class given his work as Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Professor Broome’s masterclass explored the theme from a philosophical and moral perspective.

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