Bard College Catalogue 2012-13
Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
In 1986, the Board of Trustees of Bard College established the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College as an autonomously governed part of the College. Housed at Blithewood, a 19th-century mansion on the Bard campus, the Institute is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization that encourages a diversity of opinion in the examination of economic issues. It was founded by financier and Bard life trustee Leon Levy (1925–2003) as a tribute to his father, the economist and business executive Jerome Levy (1882–1967). Leon Levy was a leading donor to the College whose philanthropy provided the means to promote programs associated with the study of economics and the humanities.
The Levy Institute disseminates information; facilitates interactions among academics, business leaders, and policy makers; and does public outreach. Its scholars provide expert testimony to congressional committees on banking, finance, and employment structure, as well as media commentary based on policy options developed from Institute research. Policy briefings with members of Congress and their staffs also support the Institute’s efforts to inform policy makers about its research and provide a forum for bipartisan discussion of significant issues.
The Institute generates viable, effective public policy responses to economic issues that are central to achieving the fundamental societal goals of equity, full employment, a high living standard, and low inflation. Research is organized into eight program areas: the state of the U.S. and world economies; monetary policy and financial structure; the distribution of income and wealth; gender equality and the economy; employment policy and labor markets; immigration, ethnicity, and social structure; economic policy for the 21st century; and equality of educational opportunity in the 21st century. An international group of resident scholars and outside research associates pursues these areas of study.
The Institute’s various programs give undergraduates the opportunity to meet the prominent figures who serve on its research staff and attend its conferences. Through an affiliation with Cambridge University, one or two Bard undergraduates may spend their junior year at Christ’s College. Integrated activities of the Institute and Bard College include the Levy Economics Institute Prize, awarded annually to a graduating senior; annual scholarships for students concentrating in economics; and an endowed professorship, the Jerome Levy Professor of Economics, currently held by Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, president of the Levy Institute and executive vice president of Bard College.
Recent events sponsored by the Institute include two major conferences and the third annual Hyman P. Minsky Summer Seminar. The 21st Annual Hyman P. Minsky Conference, “Debt, Deficits, and Financial Instability,” was held at the Ford Foundation’s New York City headquarters in April 2012. The conference addressed the challenge to global growth represented by the European sovereign debt crisis, the sustainability of the U.S. economic recovery, financial reregulation, and the larger implications of the debt crisis for U.S. economic policy and global financial stability. Principal speakers included Esther L. George, head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City; Andrea Enria, chair of the European Banking Authority; Nobel Prize–winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz; Peter Praet, chief economist of the European Central Bank; and Martin J. Gruenberg, acting chair of the FDIC.
In June 2012, the Institute partnered with Nankai University’s Institute of Economics and Center for Studies of Political Economy to sponsor a conference, “Minsky: Global Financial Fragility and the Development of Capitalist Finance,” at the university’s main campus in Tianjin, China. The objective of the conference was to increase the understanding of financial crisis from the standpoints of Minskyan and Post Keynesian theory, and to assess the impact of the recent crisis in the United States and Europe on China and the global economy.
The Minsky Summer Seminar, held at Blithewood each June, provides a rigorous discussion of both theoretical and applied aspects of Minsky’s economics, with an examination of meaningful prescriptive policies relevant to the ongoing global financial crisis. The weeklong Seminar is geared toward graduate students, recent graduates, and those at the beginning of their professional or academic career.
The Levy Institute’s publications program forms the main pillar of its outreach activities. In an effort to raise the level of public debate on a broad spectrum of economic issues, the Institute publishes research findings, conference proceedings, policy analyses, and other materials, all of which are available at www.levyinstitute.org. In addition to a digital library, the website features information on the Institute’s research initiatives, its scholars, and upcoming events. A companion website, www.multiplier-effect.org, provides its scholars the opportunity to comment on new developments in real time.
Policy coordination and information exchange are critical to resolving the current sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone. As part of this effort, the Institute posts Greek translations of selected publications addressing aspects of the crisis. In a related initiative, a special section in the Sunday edition of the Athens-based financial daily Express is devoted to the Institute’s research and policy recommendations in this area, and includes interviews with its scholars and associates. And, in association with the Paris-based Veblen Institute for Economic Reforms, the Institute is copublishing a series of public policy briefs in French translation. The “Next Step” Papers are aimed at generating viable proposals for reforming the financial architecture—in Europe and elsewhere—and making these proposals accessible to a broader network of reform advocates and policy makers.