Waterloo Arts Distinguished Lecture in Economics packs the house

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Professor Randall WrightThe Department of Economics recently presented the first Waterloo Arts Distinguished Lecture in Economics, featuring guest speaker Professor Randall Wright from the University of Wisconsin, one of the most influential macroeconomic theorists today.

This was the inaugural lecture of the Department’s new annual series that addresses applied economics and its impact on society and individuals. Each year, the Department will invite a distinguished scholar to present a lecture on the state of the art in a field of economic research, giving students from various disciplines the opportunity to enhance their understanding of economics.

students fill lecture hall to hear Randall WrightProfessor Wright delivered a lecture on ‘Innovation and growth with financial and other frictions’ to a packed house, with students, staff, faculty and members of the public lining the walls to listen to this esteemed guest lecturer.

In his lecture, Professor Wright illustrated how economics analysis can help us to understand the process by which the market for ideas facilitates trade between inventors and entrepreneurs. In this context, frictions such as search, bargaining and commitment problems can slow efficient reallocations, and ultimately stall the advancement of knowledge.

Financial intermediaries, Professor Wright explained, can ameliorate frictions, and thus assist technology transfer and innovation in two important ways: they allow the market for ideas to function with fewer liquid assets, by reallocating them to those with a greater need for liquidity, and they also mitigate holdup problems in bargaining between innovators and entrepreneurs..

Professor Wright has made significant contributions to our understanding of labour markets, business cycles, and monetary and financial economics. He discussed some of his recent research, which addresses the implications of market frictions on economic activity to include broader aspects of the financial sector. His work bridges an important theoretical divide between traditional macroeconomics and finance.

Here’s to a distinguished start for this important new series of inspiring and educational lectures from some of the brightest minds in the field.

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