Ronald Findlay, Ragnar Nurkse Professor of Economics at the School of International and Public Affairs, died October 8, 2021 at his home in Austin, Texas. He was 86.
“Ron was Department chair between 1994 and 1997, ” said Miguel Urquiola, Professor and Chair of Economics. “Much beyond this, Ron was an academic in every sense of the word. He knew a tremendous amount about economic history and had an expansive view of the development of many economies and of economics.”
Professor Findlay’s major contributions were in trade and development, many of them (some) written with his colleagues at Columbia, such as Richard Clarida, now Vice-chair of the Federal Reserve, and the late Stanley Stanislaw Wellisz. He brought a distinctively broad, comparative perspective, emphasizing the role of government, including in the determination of comparative advantage. In later years, he embraced a broader historical review. In his review Book Review: of Findlay’s 2007 book, written with Kevin O’Rourke, Kevin H. (2007) Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium, Robert D. Fannion wrote: By adopting a broad view across such an expanse of both space and time, Findlay and O’Rourke are able to perceive patterns that few others have identified and bring a compelling new perspective to several historical and theoretical debates that benefit from a larger view.
“Over the years Joe and I had many conversations with him about the Burmese transition and Ron’s memories of World War II, ” remembers Anya Stiglitz. “Ron was a lunchtime pal for many years who helped me and Kelvin Lancaster rebuild the department in the ’70s,” added Professor Edmund Phelps, 2006 Nobel Laureate in Economics and Director, Center on Capitalism and Society at Columbia University.
He published extensively on these topics, and was awarded honorary doctorates from the New University of Lisbon and the Stockholm School of Economics.
“Ron will be missed,” said Professor Stiglitz in a statement.