Tag: Economics

Economist David Gerard Addresses Corporate Responsibility in Lawrence Colloquium, Grinnell Symposium

Lawrence University Associate Professor of Economics David Gerard will be among the invited guest speakers at a symposium Feb. 12-14 on sustainability and corporate social responsibility at Grinnell College, his undergraduate alma mater.

David Gerard

Gerard presents “The Capitalists’ Cooperative: Economics of Organization and its Implications of Corporate Social Responsibility” on the second evening of the symposium.

Prior to his symposium address, Gerard delivers the Economics Colloquium “Waiting for Godot and for Corporate Social Responsibility?” Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 11:15 a.m in Steitz Hall of Science, 102.

A scholar whose research interests focus on the areas of risk regulation and public policy, Gerard joined the Lawrence faculty in 2009 after eight years at Carnegie Mellon University, where he was the executive director of the Center for the Study & Improvement of Regulation in the department of engineering and public policy.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree in American studies and economics from Grinnell, Gerard earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Illinois.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

Former U.S. Ambassador, International Banking Expert Discusses World Economy at Lawrence University

Former U.S. Ambassador to India and U.S. Treasury official David Mulford discusses the state of the world economy Tuesday, April 13 in an address at Lawrence University.

Mulford will examine the ongoing economic and financial crisis in the major industrial countries and its lingering effect on the global economy at 1:30 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center cinema. The event is free and open to the public.

David Mulford

A 1959 graduate of Lawrence, Mulford was appointed Ambassador to India in 2004 by President Bush and served until February 2009. He joined the U.S. State Department after spending 11 years as chairman international of the London-based banking firm Credit Suisse First Boston, where he directed worldwide, large-scale privatization business and other corporate and government advisory assignments.

Since leaving his ambassador’s post, Mulford has returned to Credit Suisse in London as vice chairman of the bank’s international division.

Prior to his ambassadorial appointment, Mulford served in public service as a senior international economic policy official in the U.S. Treasury Department under Secretaries Donald Regan, James Baker and Nicholas Brady.

His financial experience also includes eight years as managing director and head of international finance at the Boston-based investment bank White, Weld & Co., Inc. In 1974, he was named senior investment advisor to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), where he oversaw the management and development of investment programs of Saudi oil revenues until 1983.

His work in both the public and private sectors has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the Legion d’Honneur presented by the president of France, the Alexander Hamilton Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Secretary of the Treasury in recognition of extraordinary service and benefit to the Treasury Department and the nation, the Order of May for Merit from the president of Argentina and The Officer’s Cross of the Medal of Merit presented by the president of Poland.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in economics from Lawrence, Mulford earned a master’s degree in political science from Boston University and a Ph.D. from Oxford University. Lawrence recognized him with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1984. A football and basketball standout as an undergraduate, Mulford also was inducted into Lawrence’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.

$23,000 Grant Boosts Lawrence University Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship

A $23,000 grant will support Lawrence University’s growing innovation and entrepreneurship program, a university-wide initiative launched in 2008 that engages students, faculty and alumni.

The two-year grant from the National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance will target the program’s flagship course “In Pursuit of Innovation.”  Cross-taught through Lawrence’s economics and physics departments, the course incorporates the use of guest experts from various fields, intertwines innovation with entrepreneurship and employs a project-driven, hands-on component designed to develop a learning community eager to pursue innovative and entrepreneurial ventures.

Since its launch, 41 students have taken the “Innovation” course.  Operating in three-person teams and in conjunction with the FabLab, a prototyping facility at Fox Valley Technical College, students have worked on projects ranging from the development of a multi-directional split-field camera and an ergonomic student desk to a hand sanitizing system for hospitals and schools and a personal identification system that allows health records to be retrieved automatically in the event of an accident.

“From its inception, our course has focused on diverse teams creating innovative products or processes, leading to functioning prototypes,” said Adam Galambos, assistant professor of economics and one of the program’s originators, along with John Brandenberger, professor emeritus of physics and Marty Finkler, professor of economics.  “This grant will enable us to take the Innovation course to a whole new level with student ‘E-teams,’ which will translate ideas into new products or services that benefit society.

“With its long-standing commitment to the liberal arts and sciences, Lawrence is the ideal setting for a program that inspires students and faculty to create innovative new ventures that combine ideas from diverse backgrounds, fields and perspectives,” Galambos added.

The “Innovation” course is designed to prepare Lawrence students to become major contributors to a globally competitive American economy through an immersion in innovation and entrepreneurship.  Students in the course develop their own innovative ideas to lay the groundwork for entrepreneurial ventures, examine how innovation and entrepreneurship invigorate businesses and industries and their roles in creating new ones, study the innovation and entrepreneurship literature and interact with active, successful innovators and entrepreneurs.

“Our students learn to connect theory with the real-world experiences described by our visiting experts and to apply this learning to their own projects,” said Brandenberger.

The impetus for Lawrence’s “In Pursuit of Innovation” course was a highly-influential national publication entitled “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” and a bipartisan piece of legislation leading to the 2007 America Competes Act, both of which warned of slippage in American competitiveness worldwide. The studies pointed toward increased emphasis on innovative and entrepreneurial effectiveness, especially in scientific, technological and engineering pursuits, as one solution to reverse the trend.

In addition to “In Pursuit of Innovation,” courses such as “Entrepreneurship and
Financial Markets ” and “Entrepreneurship in the Arts and Society” also are part of the effort to build an innovation and entrepreneurship program at Lawrence.

Based in Massachusetts, the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance supports technology innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education to create experiential learning opportunities for students and socially beneficial businesses.

Death Risk: Lawrence University Researcher Helps Develop Novel Tool To Calculate the Odds

APPLETON, WIS. — Whether by illness or accident, have you ever wondered what the odds are you could die within the next year?

David-Gerard.jpgA Lawrence University economist, working with the Center for the Study & Improvement of Regulation at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa., has helped develop a website that allows users to easily access publicly-available data and compare mortality risks based on several different categories, such as age, gender and where you live.

The site, DeathRiskRankings, not only determines the risk of dying within the next year, but it also ranks more than 60 possible causes of death, providing quick side-by-side comparisons between groups.

“Most Americans don’t have a particularly good understanding of their own mortality risks, let alone a ranking of their relevant risks,” said David Gerard, who recently joined the Lawrence University faculty as an associate professor of economics. He spent six years as the executive director of the Center for the Study & Improvement of Regulation at Carnegie Mellon.

“A rule of thumb is that your risk of dying increases exponentially, doubling about every eight years,” Gerard said. “Approximately one1 in 500 people in my cohort – 40-something white males in Wisconsin — will die in the next year. When I turn 50, the risk will be closer to 1 in 250. And for those of us that see 65, it will be about 1 in 50. The risks are higher, but I still like my chances.”

As the national debate over health care policy and reform heats up, Gerard says one of the site’s most interesting features is its ability to provide comparisons between the U.S. and Europe.

“You can really see some systematic differences between the major causes of death between us and Europeans, which begs the question what role our respective health care systems play in those differences,” said Gerard.

“As an example, for 40-year olds, a European woman has a better chance of living another 30 years than an American woman. However, American women have slightly lower risks of dying from breast cancer, but considerably higher risks of dying from heart attacks and lung cancer. This presents some interesting research questions about whether these differences stem from diagnostics and treatment or from some other causes.”

Gerard thinks the website will prove to be an effective tool in the classroom as well.

“My colleague, Paul Fischbeck, has been using this concept for years to teach his decision analysis courses,” Gerard said. “The underlying concept of the MicroMort – a one-in-a-million chance of dying – is an effective way of teaching student how to quantify risks, how regulatory policies might affect these risks, and at what cost.”

The web site is a treasure trove of interesting statistics. When it comes to dying within the year, there are dramatic differences between men and women, blacks and whites, and Americans and Europeans. Consider the following:

In the race to die first, men are the clear winners. For every age group, men have a much higher annual death risk than women. For 20-year olds, the risk is two-and-one-half to three times greater. Men are much more prone to accidents, homicides, and suicides, and the risk of dying from heart disease is always higher for men than women, peaking in the 50s when men are 2.5 times greater. However, men’s dominance is not as overwhelming with cancer deaths. Women’s cancer risks are actually higher than men’s in their 30s and 40s, but for all other ages, men are number one.

The difference between blacks and whites in the U.S. is almost as pronounced as those for men and women. For both heart disease and cancer, blacks have much higher death risk. Overall, African American in their 30s and 40s are twice as likely to die within the year as their white counterparts. There is, however, one category of death in which whites consistently exceed blacks: suicide. Whites typically have a 2-3 times greater chance of dying by suicide than blacks.

Not surprisingly, obesity-related death risks are much higher in the U.S. than in Europe. As one example, annual diabetes death risk for two 54-year females, one from Wisconsin and one from the U.K., is four times as high for the Wisconsinite than it is for the woman in England.

“There is an old saying that if you spend too much time watching for squirrels, you might just get trampled by an elephant,” says Gerard. “A lot of things can kill you. This website breaks risks into 66 different categories. But there are often dominant causes. For young people, for example, simple things like wearing a bike helmet and fastening up your seat belt can radically reduce your fatality risks.”

Noted Chinese Economist Delivers Pair of Addresses in Visit to Lawrence University

Leslie Young, the executive director of the Asia-Pacific Institute of Business and professor of finance at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, will deliver a pair of economic addresses during a visit to Lawrence University.

Young presents “The Optimal God: Religion and the Institutional Foundations of Capitalism,” Wednesday Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m. On Thursday, Feb. 2 at 4:30 p.m., Young will present “China and India in the World Economy.” Both presentations will be held in Lawrence’s Science Hall, Room 102 and are free and open to the public.

In his opening address, Young will compare and contrast the Western and Eastern models of political economy that developed from the influences of Christianity and Islam. According to Young, politics and religion overlapped in the West because the Church competed for resources. Religion, in turn, became the bridge over which law came to limit politics. Under Islam, law emerged from religion as a control on personal behavior, leaving politics as a separate entity that was able to oppress the economy with no restrictions on tyranny and expropriation.

Young’s second talk will focus on the medium and long-term effects of the growth of China and India on the world economy. In tracing the balance of payment problems between the United States and China to their demographic structures, he will explain why China’s growing impact on the global environment could ultimately harm its own economic development.

A native of Guangzhou, China, Young’s research interests focus on international trade, political economy and corporate governance. He has served as a consultant to the governments of Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago and New Zealand and has been a long-time member of the editorial board of the American Economic Review, the leading academic journal in economics.

Young, who earned his Ph.D. in mathematics from Oxford University by the age of 20, spent nine years on the faculty at the University of Texas as the V.F. Neuhaus Professor of Finance and Professor of Economics. He also has taught at the University of Canterbury in New Zeeland and held visiting professorships at the Australian National University in Canberra as well as at M.I.T. and the University of California, Berkeley.

He is the author of the book “Black Hole Tariffs and Endogenous Redistribution Theory” and co-editor of “The Hong Kong Securities Industry” and “China’s Financial Markets.”

Young’s appearance is sponsored by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation of Milwaukee and the Henry Luce Foundation Program in the Political Economy of East Asia.