Summer Institute 2012
Conference gives young scholars an opportunity to share scholarship and interact with a Nobel laureate
July 9, 2012
Each year the Summer Institute for the History of Economic Thought draws distinguished scholars and students from around the world. It is an opportunity for young scholars to interact with some of the world’s leading economists.
The 13th annual Summer Institute was held at the University of Richmond’s Jepson School of Leadership Studies June 29-July 2.
“The Summer Institute serves as a workshop for a rising generation of scholars in the history of economics,” says Sandra J. Peart, dean of the Jepson School and a distinguished scholar with special expertise in the history of economic thought and political economy. “It’s a great setting for young scholars to share their ideas.”
Peart co-directs the conference with David M. Levy, a professor of economics at George Mason University.
Attendees represented 15 different countries, including Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Germany, France, Spain, England, Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland.
Nobel laureate James Buchanan, who has spoken at the Summer Institute every year since its inception 13 years ago, opened the conference with a presentation on “Institutional Sources of America's Fiscal Tragedy.” After discussing the audience’s thoughts on his talk, he concluded by saying he had a moral responsibility to believe we could make it out of the financial predicament.
Among those listening to Buchanan's lecture was 14-year-old Harrison Coombes, a student at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College who is hoping to begin his first year of college away from home next fall at MIT, the University of Chicago, Vanderbilt, Princeton or the University of Arizona.
Coombes, who was accompanied by his mother, said he heard about the Summer Institute when he met a Richmond graduate at a bed and breakfast and was asked if he had ever attended a lecture at the University. Coombes said that he had taken microeconomics last fall and macroeconomics last summer, and that he wanted to learn more about economics and had chosen a handful of lectures to attend from the Jepson School website that had sparked his interest.
After a short break, Christopher Martin, a John Marshall visiting research fellow with the Jepson School's John Marshall International Center for the Study of Statesmanship, delivered a presentation on “Equity, Besides: Adam Smith and the Utility of Poverty.”
Joking that he would have a hard time living up to Buchanan's talk, Martin spoke about Adam Smith's attack on minimum wage and how workers during that time could never become rich because their employers believed that their industriousness would noticeably decrease. “Smith changed things around and asked how a society can be flourishing and happy when the people are miserable,” Martin said.
Other presentations included:
- Laurie Bréban, University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, “Smithian Sympathy: From Cognition to Emotion”
- Gerardo Serra, London School of Economics, “From Scattered Data to Ideological Education: Economics, Statistics and State Building in Gold Coast/Ghana, 1928-1966”
- Matthieu Ballandone, University of Québec and University of Angers, “K. J. Arrow’s Economics of Science and Endogenous Growth”