Nef Family Chair of Political Economy
The Nef Family Chair of Political Economy was established with a leadership gift to Augustana from Rudy and Marilyn Nef of Milbank, S.D. The position will advance the study of market economies and representative democracies, both within the campus community and in the general public. Dr. Robert E. Wright, acclaimed writer and economic historian, is the first holder of the Nef Family Chair of Political Economy. He helps instruct on business, economics, history, and government for the University.
Dr. Robert E. Wright received his BA in history from Buffalo State College in 1990, his MA in history from State University of New York at Buffalo in 1994, and his PhD from SUNY at Buffalo in 1997. Before coming to Augustana, Dr. Wright served as Clinical Associate Professor of Economics at the Stern School of Business, New York University. He was also a guest curator for the Museum of American Finance. Dr. Wright has written for Barron’s, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Forbes.com, and other prominent publications. He has appeared on National Public Radio, C-SPAN, and BBC, as well as several South Dakota stations.
In addition to editing three series of primary source documents for Pickering and Chatto Publishers, Dr. Wright has authored or co-authored more than 20 books, most recently “Little Business on the Prairie: Entrepreneurship, Prosperity, and Challenge in South Dakota,” a study of the state’s economic history through the lenses of its public policies, politics, and institutions of governance. Other recent titles are Corporation Nation (2014) available from the University of Pennsylvania Press , Guide to U.S. Economic Policy (2014), and Genealogy of American Finance (2015). One Nation Under Debt: Hamilton; Jefferson and the History of What We Owe (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008), explores the untold history of America’s first national debt arising from the immense sums needed to conduct the American Revolution; Financial Founding Fathers (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006), is a compelling account of the nation’s early finances; and Fubarnomics: A Lighthearted, Serious Look at America's Economic Ills (Prometheus, 2010), has been called "a welcome new addition to the societal | economic | political discourse that is raging now.”
In 2010, Dr. Wright established the Thomas Willing Institute for the Study of Financial Markets, Institutions, and Regulations at Augustana College to promote the public’s understanding of the financial system.
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