2014-15 Economics Department Newsletter, Vol. 6
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Economics Department Newsletter

October 14, 2014
In This Issue:
  • Seminars and Conferences
  • Grad School Information Session
  • Apply to be an Economics Teaching Assistant
  • Off-Campus Employment Opportunities
  • Econ in the News
  • Meet the Professor
Seminars and Conferences:

Wednesday, October 15;  4:00pm, Schapiro 141

Rodney North from Equal Exchange will be talking about worker-owned cooperatives and fair trade. Founded in 1986, Equal Exchange is one of North America’s oldest, largest, and most successful worker co-operatives and was recently featured in the PBS documentary “Shift Change”.  Today it is a $60M, diversified importer and wholesaler of Fair Trade, organic coffee, tea, chocolate, bananas, nuts and other foods.  For more information about the talk contact


Friday, October 17 and Saturday, October 18;  Griffin 3

The Center for Development Economics (CDE) will host a conference, “Historical Persistence in Comparative Development.” The conference begins with a talk exploring the roots of economic development at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, October 17, and continues with sessions throughout the next day.

The question of why some nations and regions of the world are so rich while others are so poor is immensely important to social scientists, policymakers, social reformers, and humanitarians around the globe. Motivated in part by the apparent failure of many policies in the international development arena, a new interdisciplinary school of thought in economic growth and development has emerged over the last decade. Rather than focusing on the role played by the expansion of an economy’s productive resources through the process of modernization, this new paradigm emphasizes the “deep” determinants of economic growth (geography, institutions, and culture), the influence of which are often rooted in historical phenomena from the distant past.

This year’s CDE conference will bring together academic economists who have been actively contributing to this new thinking on development. Their presentations will highlight the measurement and estimation of the influence of various historical factors on contemporary global inequality and assess the potential implications of these findings on a new generation of policies in international development.

More information is available, including the
schedule, speakers bios and abstract details.


Monday, October 20;  4:00pm, Schapiro 141

Jessica Gordon Nembhard will be talking about "Movers and Shakers in the Cooperative Movement: The Role of African-American Women."  Prof Nembhard's talk will be based on her 2014 book Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice.  She is Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development in the Department of Africana Studies at John Jay College, of the City University of New York (CUNY) in New York City.  For more information about the talk contact
Grad School Information Session:

Tuesday, October 21;  5:00pm, Schapiro 241

Professors Leight, Godlonton and Phelan will host an information session for students who are interested in pursuing graduate school in economics. 

Questions can be directed to Professor Leight (
Apply to be an Economics Teaching Assistant:

If you are interested in being a Teaching Assistant for the Economics Department in Spring 2015, please apply using the link below by noon (12pm) on Friday, October 31. We will not accept late applications.

We will need TAs in Econ 110, 120, 213, 231, 251, 252, 255, 380, 385, 393, 468, 475, 513, 514, 516, 521, and 523.  There may also be TA positions open in other economics classes.

Please apply by filling out the form located

If you have difficulty completing the application or questions about the process, please contact Professor Schmidt (
Off-Campus Employment Opportunities:

The Tobin Project - Research Assistants
The Tobin Project is seeking full-time research assistants to work on a variety of important social science issues within and across four research areas: Government & Markets, Economic Inequality, Institutions of Democracy, and National Security.  An ideal candidate is an undergraduate or graduate student in the social sciences with excellent writing skills and independent research experience.
More information is available
Econ in the News:

It was announced on Monday that Jean Tirole, a French micro-economic theorist studying firm behavior, industrial organization, and regulation, is the 2014 Nobel Laureate in Economics.  The chairman of the prize committee cited Tirole's explorations of “what sort of regulations do we want to put in place so large and mighty firms will act in society’s interest, ” according to the New York Times.

More about Professor Tirole's work can be found in these articles from
Marginal Revolution and The New York Times.
Meet the Professor:  Ralph Bradburd

Professor Bradburd has been teaching at Williams since 1976.  In recent years he has taught introductory microeconomics, intermediate microeconomics, and a tutorial on the economics of water.  He is a microeconomist interested in economic issues ranging from environmental policy to the functioning of higher educational institutions policy to effective philanthropy.  Last year he published a book, Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving, co-authored with Michael Weinstein, Vice President of the Robin Hood Foundation.  His current research focuses on displacement effects of philanthropic initiatives and how to improve the design of programs to assist low income individuals.  At present, he is serving as the Chair of Environmental Studies.


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