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Jamaica-born professor to deliver Arthur Lewis lecture

Monday, April 21, 2014
Peter Blair Henry

Noted Jamaica-born Professor Economics and Finance at New York University’s Leonard N Stern School of Business, Peter Blair Henry, is scheduled to deliver the 2014 Sir Arthur Lewis Distinguished Lecture on Thursday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port-of-Spain. Professor Henry will speak on the topic Turnaround: Third World Lessons For First World Growth, which is the title of a book he authored last year.


In the book, Henry argues that the secret to emerging countries’ success is discipline—sustained commitment to a pragmatic growth strategy. He calls for less polarization and more focus on facts to answer the fundamental question: which policy reforms, implemented under what circumstances, actually increase economic efficiency? Pushing past the tired debates, Henry shows that the stock market’s forecasts of policy impact provide an important complement to traditional measures.


In Turnaround, Henry cites examples ranging from the drastic income disparity between Barbados and his native Jamaica to the “catch up” economics of China and the taming of inflation in Latin America. Henry shows that in much of the emerging world the policy pendulum now swings toward prudence and self-control. With similar discipline and a dash of humility, he concludes, the First World may yet recover and create long-term prosperity for all its citizens.


Professor Henry was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1969. In his early life, he was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University where he received a BA in Mathematics in 1993. He also received a BA in Economics with distinction and highest honours in 1991 from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was a Morehead-Cain Scholar, a National Merit Scholar, a member of Phi Beta Kappa and a Marshall Scholar-Elect.


Professor Henry received his PhD in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1997. While there, he served as a consultant to the Bank of Jamaica and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB). His research at the ECCB contributed to the intellectual foundation for establishing the first securities exchange in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Area.


Professor Henry now serves as Dean of New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business and was the youngest person to be appointed to the position when he assumed the deanship in January 2010. At Stern, he is also the William R Berkley Professor of Economics and Finance.


He joined Stern from Stanford University, where he was the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of International Economics, the John and Cynthia Fry Gunn Faculty Scholar, and associate director of the Center for Global Business and the Economy. He also serves as a member of the board of directors at the National Bureau of Economic Research, as a member of the Board of the Council on Foreign Relations; as a member of the Board of Directors for Kraft Foods, Inc; and as a non-resident senior fellow of the Brookings Institution. 



Professor Henry led the external economic advisory group for then-Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008 and was chosen to lead the Presidential Transition Team’s review of international lending agencies. In June 2009, President Obama appointed him to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. 


Professor Henry’s expertise in the areas of emerging markets and international finance has made him a regular speaker at the International Monetary Fund and has led him to testify before the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and before various ambassadors to the United Nations.


The author of numerous articles and book chapters, Professor Henry is best known for a series of publications in the three flagship journals of the American Economic Association: “Debt Relief” Journal of Economic Perspectives (Winter 2006); “Capital Account Liberalization: Theory, Evidence, and Speculation” Journal of Economic Literature (December 2007); “Institutions vs. Policies: A Tale of Two Islands” American Economic Review (May 2009). 


His first book, Turnaround: Third World Lessons for First World Growth (Basic Books, March 2013), directly addresses such issues as economic efficiency as well as matters of international relations. The lecture is being hosted by The Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies of the University of the West Indies (St Augustine Campus) and begins promptly at 7pm.


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