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The Progressive Economics Forum

Winner of the 2014 Galbraith Prize

The Progressive Economics Forum is pleased to announce Lars Osberg as the Winner of the 2014 Galbraith Prize in Economics. Our selection committee included past winners Mel Watkins, John Loxley and Mike McCracken, plus Lana Payne and Linda McQuaig. Lars has accepted the Prize and will deliver the Galbraith Lecture at the Canadian Economics Association meetings in Vancouver, BC on Saturday May 31. Thanks to our judges and to the Galbraith family.

Below is Jim Stanford’s nomination of Lars Osberg, which does a great job to summarize his extensive career.


I would like to nominate Lars Osberg for this year’s Galbraith Prize.

Lars holds the McCulloch Chair in Economics at Dalhousie University.

The nomination reflects both the quality and value of Lars’ scholarship, but also his consistent personal commitment over the years in contributing to more intellectual diversity and collegial debate within the economics profession. He has also always maintained a high degree of policy engagement in his work as an economist, participating actively in policy debates and implementation at both the federal and provincial levels. Finally, he served several terms as Chairperson of the Economics Department at the Dalhousie University, and played a leading role in building its reputation as a critical-thinking, heterodox-friendly, high-quality place for both undergraduate and graduate education.

The main foci of Lars’ academic work include:
· Income distribution: its determination, and broader economic and social effects; and more recently analyzing the determinants of social attitudes toward inequality.
· Measurement of wealth, consumption, and social well-being, including the development of innovative new quantitative indices of well-being.
· Macroeconomic and monetary policy, including considerable research work exposing and critiquing the flawed theoretical and practical dimensions of Canada’s failed experiment with ultra-hard-money macro policies in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
· Labour economics and the functioning of labour markets, including new microeconomic models which help to explain labour market segmentation, exclusion, and inequality.

Lars has made a substantial personal contribution to community service within his profession, including serving as chair of his department since 2006, and as supervisor and mentor for many graduate students (including supervising a dozen PhD graduates, and scores of MA graduates, including assisting them with job placement).

Lars was the President of the Canadian Economics Association in 1999-2000, and gave a now-famous lecture on the causes and consequences of inequality at the 2000 CEA meeting in Vancouver was that a rich and critical synopsis of both the state of current thinking, and the need to challenge economics to develop a more fulsome and honest understanding of the issue.

Lars has worked in a voluntary capacity to assist with the development of important research networks and institutes aimed at fostering a more critical and diverse approach to economic and policy issues, including:
· International Association for Research in Income and Wealth
· Centre for the Study of Living Standards
· Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: Nova Scotia Branch

Lars is a Research Fellow for the CCPA nationally, as well.

Earlier in his career Lars worked for several years in Tanzania, advising non-profit economic development initiatives there.

One of Lars’ most important and valuable traits is his willingness to engage in honest, collegial debate with economists of all stripes. He has viewed it as of the utmost importance that progressive economists do not become estranged or ghettoized from the rest of the profession (often we do this to ourselves). Early in the formation of the PEF, which he gas supported continually, he urged us to make sure that our CEA panels and other events be inclusive and open to debate from all comers. This non-sectarian commitment to a fair contest of ideas, has served both Lars, and the community of progressive economists which he has done so much personally to foster, very well indeed.

Here is a link to Lars’ complete CV:

Respectfully submitted by Jim Stanford
Economist, Unifor

Enjoy and share:


Comment from Thomas Bergbusch
Time: February 20, 2014, 2:04 pm

Very much deserved. On top of his immense intellectual contributions, it should be added that while Prof. Osberg offered some of the hardest classes I have taken, they were certainly among the most rewarding as well. Always appreciated his two-screen lecture approach, too (as I am a slow note-taker).

Comment from Jeff Dayton-Johnson
Time: February 20, 2014, 2:39 pm

Excellent news, warmly deserved honor. My only surprise is that Lars hasn’t won this award every year. A great scholar, teacher and colleague, Lars is the little sandy irritant in mainstream economic discourse that regularly produces genuine pearls.

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