Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts (Economics and Mathematics) University Canterbury, NZ, 1968, 1969. Master of Arts University Otago, NZ, 1972. Doctor of Philosophy University Warwick, England, 1978.
Assistant Lector, Otago University, NZ, 1969-1972. Lector, Warwick University,
1973-1974, Balliol College Oxford, 1974-1975. Research Economics, Agriculture, Canada, 1975-1977.
Economics Council Canada, Ottawa, 1977-1978. Economics Consultant, 1979-1983. Visiting Association Professor, Queen’s University, Ontario, 1979-1980, 1981-1982.
Association Professor, Agriculture Economics, University British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada,1982-.
My research deals with economies in which output is predominantly produced and sold under conditions of imperfect competition. I began by studying the demand for labour in manufacturing industries and found that the puzzling phenomenon of pro-cyclical productivity (‘Okun’s Law’) is not due, as had been believed, to adjustment costs, but is a permanent characteristic of the cost curves on which firms operate. This appears to rule out the existence of a price-taking competitive equilibrium, and my subsequent work has focussed on the implications of firms facing less than perfectly elastic demand for their output.
My research is proceeding at three levels. At the micro or ‘industrial organisation’ level, I am studying profitability and productivity behaviour in Canadian manufacturing industries, using a newly available panel database which permits us to go below the surface of the usual industry-level published data to track individual firms and groups of firms over time. Secondly, I have built empirical general equilibrium models of the Canadian economy in which dumpiness’ matters.
That is, the models are built from blocks of sectors — manufacturing, primary energy, etc. — which have distinct market characteristics. Then, at the ‘macro’ level, I have studied the problem of achieving non-inflationary full employment in imperfectly competitive economies. This had led to my proposal for a new species of permanent high-level price controls in effect to simulate competitive conditions by forcing firms to act as price-taker rather than price-makers, and so turn their attention to increasing output and employment as the means of increasing profits.
These ideas are developed in my recent book.