Bryane Michael, American jurist, economics professor and board director.
Prof. Michael's roots trace back to Poland (Russian Empire) on his mother's side and Lebanon (Ottoman) on father's side
Professor Bryane Michael (born in 1973 in El Paso Texas) represents one of the few New Comparative Institutionalist scholars working at the beginning of the 21st century. Claiming to adopt perspectives from Clinical Economics, Heterodox and Multi-disciplinary Economics, he has held research or teaching positions ranging from law, economics, business/management, public administration, public affairs, and politics. He often writes about issues in the contemporary practice of management, international development, finance, and law from his work outside of the OECD (Eastern Europe and China/Asia). His work has led to advances in the discipline of law-and-economics and emerging market institutions. He has been credited with introducing Socratic Method case study teaching methods in numerous corporate training programmes and course curricula at the EU/UN and universities. He has been seen on various occasions speaking English, French, Spanish, Russian, some Turkish and Mandarin - and has professed in public an interest in biking, punting, rowing and Go.
Michael attended Harvard University as an undergraduate and cross-registered into several PhD courses in economics while still sitting for his undergraduate degree. Several of his teachers who contributed to his thinking include Jeffrey Sachs (from whom he maintains his devotion to 'clinical economics' and interest in emerging markets) and Robert Solow at MIT. At Oxford, he sat the MPhil's Qualifying Exam as an undergraduate visiting student and later went on to complete a DPhil. His influences there include Philippe Aghion who (with Bob Solow) he acquired his interest in endogenous growth and David Hendry (who taught the common sense behind econometrics).
His studies of law included courses taken at the London School of Economics and the Academy of European Law. Most of his legal expertise came from learning on the job while working on legal drafting done for ministries of justice in Macedonia, Morocco, Montenegro, Kosovo, Ukraine, Turkey, and other places -- as well as research while a fellow at the University of Hong Kong's Faculty of Law and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law.
Michael showed throughout much of his career an interest in internal audit -- holding a certification in internal audit (CIA) and in finance (holding American licenses needed for trading stocks and giving investment advice as the Series 7 and Series 66 respectively).
Prof. Bryane Michael resides in Oxford (UK) and has had a 20 year career as an international public official, academic, and company/investment advisor since 1995.
Before coming to teach at Oxford in 2000, he worked at the World Bank and OECD on cabinet-level reforms in Bolivia, Nicaragua and later Russia and Turkey. This work saw him working on programmes dealing with reforming the executive directly under the supervision of President Hugo Banzer (Bolivia) and Vice-President Enrique Bolanos (Nicaragua).
During the Yelstin presidency in Russia, Prof. Michael worked with the predecessor of the current Federal Anti-Monopoly Service on liberalisation -- work which continued under Putin -- and the Working Centre for Reforms Under the President of the Russian Federation. He also worked with the governor's office in Greater Novgorod Mikhail Prusak and later Boris Nemtsov (already working in Moscow at that time). He contributed in a minor role to Moscow mayor's Yury Luzhkov deregulation policies, and later the St. Petersburg's government apparatus reform committee.
His work with Turkey started with Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the AK Party's Emergency Plan shortly upon coming to office. Over the years, he has advised the Capital Markets Board, the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, and several of the large holding companies.
In 2007, Prof. Michael joined the team of Ferenc Banfi in the EU Border Mission tackling the issue of Transdnistria. Other work with the EU included work with the Azeri General Prosecutor's Office, the Bulgarian Ministry of Finance (under Simeon Djankov) and the Macedonian Customs Administration/Ministry of Finance/Ministry of Justice. Other work included advising the Serbian Cabinet of Ministers on procedural/structural reform.
In 2011, he went back to the US briefly to teach at Columbia University and to take up advising a first-tier Wall Street investment bank.
Since 2012, his work shifted to Asia, where he has advised with the Government of Hong Kong on law enforcement and financial sector reform, Brunei (on structural policies), Malaysia (competition), Vietnam (tax reform) and other jurisdictions. Yet, he maintained ties in Europe -- advising Moldova on raising tax revenue.
Detractors have criticised his (often marginal) role in recommending or helping to enforce a range of contentious policies. Among these include his work on privatization/deregulation in Russia during the time of the Harvard boys reform and work with regimes often cited for human rights and other abuses (such as Azerbaijan and Tajikistan. Other critiques of his work have included the relatively minor role he played in the controversial 1994 devaluation of the CFA franc, failed efforts to reduce corruption over the long-term in the Ukraine, and the lack of disclosure of his corporate interests and directorships in a host of emerging market companies/corporations.
He or others have referred to shorter term academic affiliations he has held, including stints with the Skolkovo-Moscow School of Business, the ITC-ILO Centre in Turin, Gotenburg University, the University of Malaya, the American University of Paris, and the University of Hong Kong -- with other teaching at the Joint (Bank-Fund) Vienna Institute and the OECD's Instanbul Centre for Private Sector Development. Except for passing references, little is known about his work there.
Little is known about Michael's political affinities and affiliations. He has claimed in the past to avoid participating in politics of any kind for two reasons. First, like many of his generation, he has claimed that he wants to let data and evidence determine his position on any issue at hand. Second,related to countries where he has lived or worked, he has argued that the peoples of the relevant jurisdiction where he lived should decide on their own political and social preferences -- which he could either accept or reject through immigration or emigration. Citing the old adage, "de gustibus non est disputandum."
Prof. Michael has opined on his world view mainly on his personal webpage and blog. One might classify these views as characterised by his rejection of established academic protocols and arguing for:
1. longer studies mixing a range of disciplines in order to provide a vade mecum for the question he writes about,
2. extensive resort to data and simple English (requiring no higher learning to read his work),
3. using work of any kind (including newspaper articles) as partly a teaching exercise,
4. teaching case studies via the Socratic Method (instead of standard lectures), and
5. teaching in the field - while working on a concrete project/problem.
Outside of his opinions about the international academic community/exercise, his only other interest/view has revolved around gifted/talented rights. He has claimed to belong to - and pay dues to Mensa (the international genius society) in order to support often misunderstood and discriminated against gifted children and adults.
"Simplicity is eloquence"
He has publicly claimed to hold memberships in academic and professional bodies over the years...including Mensa, the American Economics Association, American Bar Association and the Institute of Internal Auditors.
Michael has characterised himself (unimaginatively) in public as "a citizen of the world" and strong supporter of the European Project (Union and all that entails). At other times, he has claimed to be a proud Texan. One commentator described him a part Dr. House and part Peter Pan. Like the eponomous Dr. House (a serial popular in the early 2000), he often rejected convention false stiffness and rigid professionalism to show others that work -- and particularly mastery of a particular subject -- could be fun. Similar to that character, he dispised duplicity in all its forms - often debating or playfully prodding interlocutors to show their true personality .And a debilitating physical condition acquired in 2003 has kept him out of the public eye. He has been spotted on several occasions feeding street cats while on assignment and often carries around a Diet Cola bottle as part of his signature style.
Little is known about his private life. He has claimed that the murder of several of his colleagues and/or their families keeps him afraid to disclose his relationships.