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Wits cements ties with esteemed economist

- Wits University

British economist and managing editor of the International Review of Applied Economics joins Wits.

Jonathan Michie, Professor of Innovation & Knowledge Exchange at the University of Oxford, has been appointed as Visiting Professor to the School of Economic and Business Sciences (Sebs).

The appointment is effective from 1 March 2017 to 29 February 2020.

Michie is also the Director of the Department for Continuing Education and President of Kellogg College. He is a member of the University of Oxford’s Finance Committee Prof. Jonathan Michie appointed Visiting Professor to the School of Economic and Business Sciences and Education Committee, and was previously a member of Council and Chair of the Value for Money Committee. 

“It is with considerable excitement that the School of Economic and Business Sciences welcomes Professor Michie. His role will be to conduct research and publish on South African economic policy and macroeconomic theory and policy generally. He will work with Distinguished Professor Vishnu Padayachee, the Derek Schrier and Cecily Cameron Chair in Development Economics,” says Professor Jannie Rossouw, Head of Sebs.

The esteemed economist will also be an advisor in a new five-year Wits project on South African Business in the Transition. He gave the keynote address at its launch on 23 November 2016. The broad topic that this project aims to investigate is: South African Business in Transition: Corporate responses to the changes in South Africa and the world since 1994.

“The research will be cutting-edge in a methodological sense, in that it will merge formal academic case study research and writing with structured teaching case research and writing, such that each informs the other. In this way, from the outset, the project will have both academic understanding and teaching as its motives,” says Rossouw.

Michie will visit the University regularly over the next three years in this role. Padayachee will work with Michie on a special issue of the International Review of Applied Economics, on the theme South African business in the transition

Michie has a solid relationship with the University which dates back to the early 90s. During this period, he and Padayachee produced three critical joint publications – the book on The political economy of South Africa's transition (Dryden Press, 1997), and two articles: Three years after apartheid: growth, employment and redistribution? (Cambridge Journal of Economics, 1998) and South Africa: A third way in the Third World? (in the edited volume The Economics of Third Way, 2001).

His long-time collaborator, Padayachee says: “Michie is one of the best heterodox economists of his generation, and an executive at the very highest level of university education in Britain. It is probably without precedent for us that a current President or Master of an Oxford College has simultaneously held a position of Visiting Professor at Wits in our long history.”

Michie was a part of the group of international economists who contributed to the economic policy work of the Macroeconomic Research Group (MERG) in the early 1990s. MERG was an ANC alliance policy think tank that developed a modelled macroeconomic policy framework for post-apartheid South Africa. After 1994 he was associated with the National Institute for Economic Policy, the successor to MERG.

Aside from his formal academic activities, Michie is an active media commentator providing analysis on various economic developments. He has written extensively on globalisation, innovation, human resource management, and the financing and governance of UK football clubs.

Says Rossouw: “The School looks forward to a dynamic and productive relationship with Michie, building on the 25 years of contact for the benefit of the University’s research agenda, and our students and to policy development.”