A century of activity for an institution is a milestone too significant to go unacknowledged. Even though the resources needed to write a full historical account of the first century of economics at the University of Adelaide were not available, it was decided to at least collate available information on the people who have been involved and the teaching and research programs developed since the first undergraduate subject in Economics was offered in 1901 – not least so as to provide some historical context for the 2002 External Review of the School of Economics. Since the previous External Review was fourteen years earlier, and because the pace of change has been far greater since the late 1980s than earlier in the century, more attention is given to that period than a balanced history would warrant. Descriptions of the many and varied contributions of the 100 or so faculty members employed over the century is not possible, but brief 12-line biographies are provided in Appendix 1 for the 40 per cent of those lecturers who became full Professors at Adelaide or elsewhere.
Thanks are due to the several research assistants who helped compile this information. Lona Fowder was instrumental in getting data compilation underway during an internship in the 2001-02 summer. Those who built on that beginning include Peta Anderson, John Breckenridge, Amy Stever, Liang Choon Wang and Wendy Zweck, with the help of staff of the University of Adelaide Archives and the University's Barr Smith Library including Les Howard and those in the Special Collections section.
The Economics discipline at the University of Adelaide has a distinguished 100-year history of which the University and the State of South Australia can be proud. Very few other departments, of any discipline in Australian universities, could claim to have a majority of its lecturer appointments rising to full Professor status over a period as long as 1901 to 1995. Nor would many other university departments be able to say they have had five of their graduates win Rhodes Scholarships in the past 12 years (Table 14). While teaching and research productivity is more difficult to gauge, because changes in quality matter, the growth in the number of graduates per Economics and Commerce lecturer per year has been impressive: from 2.5 in the 1950s and 1960s to 5.0 in the 1980s, 7.5 in the first half of the 1990s, and 12.4 in the six years to 2003.
The period since the Dawkins' reforms to higher education began in the late 1980s has been one of rapid change for Economics at Adelaide, as it has for other departments. One indicator of that is the number of changes (three) in the name and composition of the faculty in which Economics is housed since 1988 (Table 23). Another indicator is the growth in the number of awards available. For over five decades, Economics was provided via just the B.A. and M.A. From 1930 the B.Ec. then served Economics and Commerce for another six decades, supplemented by three professional diplomas until 1952 and by the M.Ec. from 1938, the B.Ec.(Hons) from 1939 and the Ph.D. from 1965.
For convenience, as with the first half-century of Economics at Adelaide, the second half also is split into three periods: until Peter Karmel became Vice-Chancellor of Flinders University in mid-1966; from then until Frank Jarrett's retirement in 1988, during which time Jarrett held the George Gollin Chair and was frequently Dean of the Faculty of Economics; and the period since then when Jonathan Pincus held the Gollin Chair and was Head of Economics for six of those years (1991-96, a term exceeded only by Karmel 1950-61 and Eric Russell 1967-76 – see Table 24).
The Karmel et al. years
Professor Peter Karmel's arrival in May 1950 began a major takeoff for Economics at Adelaide, aided by additional funds being made available by the Federal government for universities in the post-war era: ‘From 1950 onwards the Department was amongst the foremost in the University in expansion of teaching and research activities and growth of tenured staff of distinction’ (Edgeloe 1992, p.2). It was arguably the liveliest and best Economics Department in Australia by the early 1960s, with a growing number of staff establishing reputations nationally and ultimately internationally.
Within two years of his arrival, Professor Karmel had orchestrated the formation of a new Faculty of Economics with two separate departments, Economics (which also retained its membership in the Arts Faculty) and Commerce (to be headed by Russell Mathews on his appointment as a Reader in 1953).
The Mitchell years
Modern undergraduate economics teaching at the University of Adelaide began in 1901. The University was founded in late 1874 and first offered subjects in March 1876. Twenty-five years later a core Economics undergraduate subject was introduced, and that year saw the first two B.A. students and first LL.B. student graduate after completing the subject. Adelaide was thus a very early provider of tertiary economics education. It was preceded only by the University of Pennsylvania, which introduced a Bachelor of Science in Economics a decade earlier, and by the London School of Economics which was established in 1895. Simultaneously, a Faculty of Commerce was established at Birmingham University in 1901 (Turner 1904), followed in 1903 by Alfred Marshall's success in getting tripos status for economics at the University of Cambridge.
That is not to say there were no precursor subjects on offer at Adelaide prior to 1901. From 1878 lectures in Political Economy were offered to B.A. and M.A. students by the Reverend William Roby Fletcher (Hughes Professor of English Literature). While it is not clear how frequently these subjects were taught or how many students enrolled, numbers must have been small initially because in 1880 the library had just two books in the field (both by John Stuart Mill). The older universities of Sydney and Melbourne also introduced political economy subjects in the late 19th century. And they, like Adelaide, complemented those offerings with university extension courses in economics for non-degree students, whose evening classes continued until well into the 20th century (Goodwin 1966).
Kym Anderson (1950-) B.Ag.Ec.(Hons) (UNE), M.Ec. (Adel), M.A. (Chicago), M.A. and Ph.D. (Stanford), FASSA, FAICD, CEPR has held a Personal Chair at the University of Adelaide since 1991, having been a Lecturer (1984-85) and a Senior Lecturer (1986-90) there. The Executive Director of Adelaide's Centre for International Economic Studies since he founded it in 1989, he previously was a Research Fellow in Economics at the Australian National University's Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (1977-83). While on leave he has worked in Korea (1979, 1980-81), at the University of Stockholm (1988) and with the GATT Secretariat (now the World Trade Organization) in Geneva (1990-92) as deputy to the Director of Research. He is the first economist to have served as a Dispute Settlement Panelist at the WTO (1996-2000). His interests include international, development and agricultural economics.
Michael John Artis (1938-) B.A. (Oxon), CEPR came to Adelaide in 1964 from the Institute of Economics and Statistics in Oxford. A Lecturer in Economics at Adelaide for two years, he moved to The Flinders University of South Australia in 1966 before returning to England in 1967 to join London's National Institute for Economic and Social Research. After five years there he moved to a Chair at Swansea University College (1972-76) and then to Manchester. In 1995 he took a period of leave at the European University Institute in Florence but has stayed there and resigned from Manchester in 1999. From 1976 to 1994 he served as the editor of the Manchester School journal.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.