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Long-standing economics seminar series renamed to honor Professor Emeritus Ronald Jones

September 30, 2020
Ronald W. Jones in front of a bookshelf.A leading figure in the world of international economics, Ronald W. Jones served on the faculty at the University of Rochester for 60 years. (University of Rochester photo / Richard Baker)
Rochester economist Ronald Jones is a leading figure in the world of international economics.

The University of Rochester’s Department of Economics is honoring longtime faculty member Ronald Jones with a named seminar series. The Ronald W. Jones Seminar in International Economics is a testament to Jones’ six decades of work in the field.

“Ron is a giant in both the field of economics and the history of our department,” says George Alessandria, chair of the economics department at Rochester. “Along with writing a landmark textbook, he went out in the world to bring economics to the masses.”

Jones’ research focused on theories of international trade and has been published in the leading economics journals, including the American Economic Review, the Review of Economic Studies, and the Journal of Economic Theory. In all, he has 180 scholarly articles to his name, along with several books, including (along with Professor Richard Caves) one of the leading undergraduate textbooks in trade, World Trade and Payments (Little Brown & Co.). The book first appeared in 1973, and went through 10 editions, a testament to its popularity. This was followed by International Trade: Essays in Theory (North Holland, 1979), and Globalization and the Theory of Input Trade (MIT Press, 2000). He is perhaps best known for his 1965 Journal of Political Economy article, “The Structure of Simple General Equilibrium Models.”

“Along with writing a landmark textbook, he went out in the world to bring economics to the masses.”

Jones joined the Rochester faculty in 1958, two years after earning his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During his career, Jones was elected a fellow of the Econometric Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Science. He received honorary doctorates from one American university (Swarthmore College) and five international institutions (University of Geneva, Athens University of Economics and Business, Warsaw School of Economics, Kobe University, and the Stockholm School of Economics). He also served as president of the International Economic and Finance Society (1993) and president of the Western Economic Association International (2009–10). Jones was named the Xerox Professor of Economics at the University in 1976.

Initial funding for the Ronald W. Jones Seminar in International Economics came from Makoto Yano ’82 (PhD) and Jose Scheinkman ’74 (PhD). Numerous other students and friends contributed to the fundraising efforts as well, making it possible for the department to bring in speakers and guests for future seminars and conferences.

The initiative to honor Jones is being marked this week with the virtual Ronald W. Jones Mini-Conference in International Trade and Macroeconomics. Along with providing an opportunity to celebrate Jones’ many contributions, Alessandria says the event is intended to disseminate ideas and foster discussion on policy relevant to international trade. The mini-conference wraps up at noon on Friday, October 2 with a panel discussion on trade and politics in a post-COVID world. That session will be available to the public via YouTube.

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