A-rating milestone for Commerce dean Ross

25 February 2013
New A-rating: Prof Don Ross, Dean of the Faculty of Commerce.
New A-rating: Prof Don Ross, Dean of the Faculty of Commerce.

Economics professor and recently elected chair of the executive board of the International Network for Economic Methodology, Don Ross, has become the first dean of a South African commerce faculty to be awarded an A-rating by the National Research Foundation.

The award affirms his status as an internationally recognised leader.

Deputy vice-chancellor Professor Danie Visser said: "Don Ross is a scholar of world renown. His work is a splendid example of the exciting results that can be achieved through serious interdisciplinary work. His rating will be an inspiration to all who work in an interdisciplinary space, because the way the NRF rating system is set up makes it especially difficult to achieve a high rating for interdisciplinary work."

Ross's research unites economic methodology, experimental economics and econometrics, cognitive science and the philosophy of science. Among his recent achievements has been the launch of the Research Unit in Behavioural Economics and Neuroeconomics (RUBEN), with colleagues such as Associate Professor Justine Burns and Professor Harold Kincaid, also a recent recipient of an NRF A-rating.

Ross believes methodological work should be directly integrated with empirical research. Since 2008 he has led an international research team of experimental economists and psychologists in applying his 'anti-behaviouralist' approach. This emphasises the importance of structural economic models of heterogeneity in populations, rather than idiosyncratic models of individuals, to behavioural phenomena such as addiction and related disorders of impulsive consumption.

This methodology is explored in his 2005 book Economic Theory and Cognitive Science: Microexplanation, also published in Chinese in 2010. He has published various papers that empirically apply the methods, as well as a book of which he is first author, Midbrain Mutiny: The Picoeconomics and Neuroeconomics of Disordered Gambling.

Ross is also co-editor, with Kincaid, of the Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics (2009).

In 2007 he and James Ladyman co-published a broadened exploration of Ross's general structuralist and anti-individualist metaphysical perspective across the whole of the sciences, particularly quantum physics. This book, Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized, received highly favourable reviews. It has been taught in graduate seminars around the world and has been the subject of book symposia at four international conferences.

Early this year, Ross, with Ladynan and Kincaid, published a collection of follow-up essays titled Scientific Metaphysics.

Ross is also programme director for Methodology at the Centre for Economic Analysis of Risk (CEAR) at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He and CEAR Director Glenn Harrison are now launching the multi-year project Portfolios of the Atlanta and Cape Town Poor.

Ross has produced 13 major policy reports for clients such as the National Department of Trade and Industry. Between 2006 and 2010 he was director of research for the National Responsible Gambling Programme.

He has taught and applied game theory throughout his career, and it informs the majority of his work. He is the author of the game theory article in the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.