Stiglitz among speakers at UCT's international economics conference

28 May 2002
PROFESSOR Joseph Stiglitz, last year's winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics and former chief economist at the World Bank, will head a prestigious list of international experts at a conference UCT's School of Economics will host from March 25 to 27, 2002.

The conference, under the banner Development Issues in the New Economy, will be held at the Baxter Theatre Centre and is sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS) and the Secretariat of Institutional Support for Economic Research in Africa (SISERA).

Stiglitz, widely considered as a leading authority on economics in the US, is presently Professor of Economics at the University of Columbia. He formerly chaired Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers and also served as senior vice-president at the World Bank. He received the Novel Prize for Economic Sciences for 2001 with two fellow American economists for their analyses of markets in which some participants have different information from others.

The conference will address crucial issues facing new economies, including finance and governance, political economy and economic issues related to policy ethics. "Economists once held the rosy view that rich and poor economies would eventually 'converge' as capital flowed to the riskier and more profitable investment opportunities in the developing world," said UCT's Professor Melvin Ayogu, co-convenor of the conference. "This optimistic scenario has not panned out and recent theoretical developments in development economics explain why. This naturally invites deep concern. We'd better get our policies right if natural tendencies in capital flows can no longer be counted on."

Over the three days, the distinguished academics and economic experts will identify developmental problems in new economies and seek innovative approaches to these. "I doubt that anyone attending the conference will afterwards feel the same way about Africa's future as they did coming in," said co-convenor, Professor Don Ross.

Other leading international speakers will include Professor Jean-Jacques Laffront, a former president of the European Economic Association, who will deliver an address on regulation, enforcement and development; Professor Robert H Bates from Harvard University; Professor Daniel Hausman from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; as well as South African academics such as UCT's Professor Nicoli Nattrass and Wits' Professor Charles Okeahalam, a renowned authority on banking and finance in South Africa.

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