Newsletter

Forthcoming 2014 Issue



In this Issue

Blueball Introductory Remarks -- by Arthur Hosios, Chair
Blueball Jeffery MacIntosh gives the Tenth Annual Berkowitz Lecture
Blueball What's Happening in the Department of Economics


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Introductory Remarks

by Arthur Hosios, Chairman of the Departmemt

After two terms, this will be my 10th and final year as chair of the Department. Despite the occasional headaches, it's been a pleasure serving the Department and the Faculty. An ongoing highlight for me has been the goodwill of the faculty, staff and students in Economics that I have enjoyed.

I am pleased to report that our undergraduate and graduate programs remain strong. Moreover, our custormer base continues to grow which, in a world with limited resources is probably a mixed blessing. The academic leaders of these programs include Dwayne Benjamin (undergraduate), Miguel Faig (graduate) and Angelo Melino and Jordi Mondria (MFE program). I know them to be dedicated, hardworking, and innovative administrators, and I think we are all fortunate that they agreed to serve the Department.

We have four new faculty members this year, Karen Berhardt-Walther (microecomics), Arthur Blouin (development economics), Jonathan Hall (urban econmics), and Serdar Ozkan (macroeconomics). Preparing new courses, finishing dissertations and getting papers out to journals is challenging, and so I'm sure that our new colleagues are looking forward to the coming holiday break.

The other wonderful addition to the Department is Ivy Lo, the acting department manager and finance officer. Our regular business manager, Marika Smolic, is enjoying a maternity leave with her new son, Leo. On a more sombre note, I would like to mourn the passing of our distinguished emeritus colleagues Mike Denny and John Munro. Both made marvelous contributions to the Department.

The next two to three months or so of the Department's life will focus substantially on the job market. On the demand side of this market we have two positions downtown, one in macroeconomics and the other in applied microeconomics. UTM also has positions in these two areas as well as one in econometrics. On the supply side of the market we have seven strong Ph.D students looking for jobs. And Burhan Kuruscu, our placement officer, and the students' supervisors have been getting them ready to show their stuff. During the past several years, the Department's placements have been excellent and we can hope that this years crop will do as well or better.

A recent review of the publication records in economics journals of Ph.D graduates ranks our Department as one of the top departments in the U.S.A. and Canada and shows that the median publication record of our former students ranks nineth among all institutions. We should be very proud of this accomplishment.

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Jeffrey MacIntosh gives the Tenth Annual Berkowitz Lecture

On March 7 our tenth annual Berkowitz Lecture was given by Jeffrey MacIntosh, Professor and Toronto Stock Exchange Chair of the Capital Markets Institute at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, who has taught a finance-based course in venture capital financing for the past fifteen years and is co-author of a text-book on securities regulation as well as author of many articles on corporate and securities law topics.

While we all enjoyed snacks arranged by Ayesha Alli, administrator of our Master of Financial Economics Program, which sponsors the the lecture, we were welcomed by Angelo Melino, co-director of the MFE program, and our speaker was introduced by the other co-director, Andreas Park, who later managed the question-period after the talk. The presence of Michael Berkowitz's wife Phyllis and his son Ian and Daughter Lori at the event was much enjoyed by all of us.

The subject of the talk was High Frequency Traders: Death or Salvation. After explaining the function of these traders, Prof. MacIntosh discussed the quality of their performance and the contribution they make to the financial system. High frequency traders use highly sophisticated algorithms to gather fundamental information about securities being traded in the market and trade against the transitory component of price changes, pushing those prices back toward fundamental values. This makes it easier for others in the market to trade, reducing their trading costs and increasing market depth. His overall conclusion was that, contrary to criticisms that have appeared in the press, these traders make an important positive contribution.

The large crowd enjoyed the excellent presentation and we look forward to next year's event.

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What's Happening in the Department of Economics

Celebration of the Life of John Munro

The life of our distinguished retired colleague John Munro, who passed away on December 23 of last year, was celebrated at the faculty club on Thursday, March 6 between 6PM and 8PM at an event organized by John's family. Many of his friends were present, including colleagues from our Department and a large group of other faculty from the University of Toronto and from other universities in Canada and abroad. Indeed, the room was full!

After we all enjoyed an impressive range of food items John's former student and colleague, Lawrin Armstrong, now Professor of Medieval Studies and Economics here at the University of Toronto, took the microphone and welcomed us to the event. After making some comments on John's life, he drew our attention to the John Munro Doctoral Fellowship in Medieval Economic History that has been established by the Munro family, noting that we can make memorial contributions On Line with the University matching all funds so donated.

Lawrin then introduced John's brother, Gordon Munro, and six additional speakers, the last of which was John's Son Rob Munro. Gordon and Rob Munro talked about John's contributions and devotion to his family, all of whom have fond memories of him. As a father, john taught life lessons by the examples he set, backed by unwavering integrety.

Colleague Dwayne Benjamin talked in detail about John's contributions to our life in the Department, noting particularly his engaging talk in the lunch room with his mode of conversation being more Gothic than Modern in style and scale but very impressive, reflecting his ability to focus in intellectual depth on almost any topic. Dwayne also noted that John was an active and prolific researcher through to the end as manifested in recent Departmental seminar presentations and working papers, being one of the world's foremost scholars in Medieval and European economic history. Even more impressive was John's dedication to teaching with a committment to engaging students with his own passion for the field of Economic History.

Scott Prudham, Professor of Geography and President of the University of Toronto Faculty Association, noted John's deep committment to the well-being of all his colleagues and the importance of his involvement in hiring and planning. Accordingly, his participation in the Faculty Association will be missed very much!

James Estes, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Toronto, outlined John's signature contributions to the European Erasmus Program volumes, particularly his notes on coinage and the breadth and persistence of his knowledge and great public spirit.

Ivana Elbl, one of John's former students and now a Professor of History at Trent University, told us that John was her mentor and described him as an amazing and wonderful teacher and colleague who accomplished an amazing transfer of knowledge to her. She was one of the group of doctoral students who organized an international workshop at the Centre for Medieval Studies to mark John's retirement, the procedings of which were published as a Festschrift under the title Money, Markets, and Trade in Late Medieval Europe: Essays in Honour of John H. A. Munro, Leiden, 2009.

Finally, Philip Slaven, a former student, colleague and personal friend of John Munro, now Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Kent, noted John's tendency to chat continuously about classical music as well as eonomics and then pulled out a violin and played, in honour of John, a Giuseppe Tarini sonata for our enjoyment.

Michael Hare Retires after 50 Years of Teaching

Michael Hare has completed 50 years of teaching at the University of Toronto. Rather than focusing on research, Mike chose to become a heavy-duty lecturer for undergraduates. During his 50 years of teaching, he taught in excess of 32,500 students in over 270 courses in the Department. He estimates that he accumulated in excess of 1,500,000 individual student lecture hours over the period. Typically, classes he taught contained more than 400 students, creating challenges in excess of those experienced in teaching a class of 25 to 50 students.

Michael has found his teaching experience very rewarding. And he is appreciative of the creating of a new award for students, The Michael J. Hare Award, at Trinity College. The award is intended for a third- or fourth-year Canadian student enrolled in either Commerce and Finance or in Economics at Trinity College who has achieved a good academic record and is in need of financial assistance.

During his retirement, Michael is writing a book on the future of capitalism. We wish him the best!

The Fall 2013 MFE Welcome Reception

Our welcoming reception for Master of Financial Economics students beginning the fall term was held between 6:30 and 9:00 PM on Thursday, September 18 in the Common Room here at Max Gluskin House. The reception was arranged and managed by the program administrator, Ayesha Alli. Angelo Melino, Co-Director of the Program, gave a short talk welcoming all current students and alumni and some of their employers who were present, and engaged in friendly interaction throughout the event with individuals in attendance. The other Co-Director of the Program, Jordi Mondria, could not be present because he was attending a conference at Oxford University.

The food was excellent and a good time was had by all! It was a wonderful event!

The Economics Department 2013 Fall Party

Our fall party was held on Tuesday September 23 from 4:30PM to 7:00PM in the Courtyard. During that time, colleague Eduardo Souza Rodregues was given the Department of Economics Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and the Department of Economics Award for Excellence in Teaching by Teaching Assistants was presented to Jessie Lamontagne, Christine Tewfik, Young Wu and Shiny Zhang.

And a BBQ dinner hosted by the Deparment was enjoyed by all.

The Economics Department 2014 Spring Party

Our spring party was held on Wednesday, April 23 between 5:00PM and 7:00PM in the Common Room at Max Gluskin House. Many faculty and students were there and we all enjoyed excellent food and conversation.

The 2014 Undergraduate Awards Ceremony

The ceremonial presentation of awards to our undergraduate students having successfully earned them took place on Tuesday November 4 between 5:00PM and 6:30PM in the Common Room at Max Gluskin House. The event, during which excellent food was provided, was arranged by our Undergraduate Administrator Robbie Innes. More than 20 students -- all of them having grade point averages in the neighborhood of 4.00 -- received awards. Chairman Arthur Hosios began the event by welcoming everyone and congratulating the group of award winners, as well as thanking Robbie Innes for her efforts. Dwayne Benjamin, our Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, then discussed the award granting process, noting the high quality of our students and pointing out that the award-wining students are the best in the country as well as in the University of Toronto. He then announced the awards and arranged for them to be given out, one by one, to the students present. Bill Wolfson and his wife Dorothy, Jack Carr and his wife Honey, Don Dewees, and Ushi Choudhry, wife of the late Nanda Choudhry, were directly involved in the presentation of the awards they had endowed.
The award winners are as follows.

The Fall 2014 MFE Welcome Reception

Our 2014 Master of Financial Economics Progran Open House was held on Wednesday November 5 between 5:00PM and 7:00PM in the Common Room at Max Gluskin House. The reception was arranged and managed by the program administrator, Ayesha Alli. Angelo Melino, Co-Director of the Program, gave a short talk welcoming all current students and alumni and some of their employers who were present, and then explained to students interested in joining the program the process by which they can arrange to be accepted. The other Co-Director of the Program, Jordi Mondria, was sick and could not be present. Food was provided for all those present. Short talks were given near the end of the event by some current MFE students who explained to potential new entrants how much they loved being in the program.

The Passing of Max Gluskin

We have received notice that Max Gluskin, in honour of whom our building is named, passed away on December 6th 2014 at over 100 years old. Max graduated from the University of Toronto in Commerce and Finance in 1936, served honourably with the Canadian Armed Forces and thereafter worked as a chartered accountant for many years before retiring to Florida to pursue his passions of golf, tennis and bridge. His son Ira Gluskin donated funds to renovate our building before we named it after his dad. Max Gluskin had a large and loving family who will miss him very much.

Our 2014 Christmas Holiday Party

On December 10th we celebrated the Holiday Season with a party in the Common Room here at Max Gluskin House. Our Chairman Arthur Hosios welcomed everyone and then, rather than giving his usual speech, conned Gordon Anderson and Don Dewees into singing Winter Wonderland. Then he himself sang the tune, to everyone's amusement, using alternative words that he had written himself. Food was served and eveyone had an enjoyable time!

Seminar Presentations

The Department has a practice of arranging presentations of papers to attending members in sessions running frequently during most weeks. These presentations involve authors from our Department as well Economics Departments in Canada and the U.S. and elsewhere.

A history of these presentations, including copies of the papers presented, is available.

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Department of Economics Welcome Page

From the Editor

Communications, suggestions, and information about alumni and other matters should be addressed to:

Prof. J. E. Floyd
Department of Economics
University of Toronto
150 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3G7

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