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Nobel Prize Winner to Speak at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at USU Nov. 13

Huntsman School of Business Press Release

LOGAN, UT – It started with a classroom experiment at Purdue and it led to a Nobel Prize, and now, an invitation by the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University to come and speak.

Vernon L. Smith, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002, will be the George S. Eccles Distinguished Lecture Series speaker at 11:30 a.m., Nov. 13. The annual event, which is free and open to the public, will be in Room 215 in the George S. Eccles Business Building. His topic is “Understanding Recessions Since 1929: Housing Up and Housing Down.”

Smith was teaching at Purdue in 1955 when he decided to test out an approach he hoped would help his students better understand how the marketplace functions. He conducted a classroom experiment that had half his students selling fictitious goods to the other students who were acting as buyers. That led to research he did in experimental economics at the University of Arizona between 1976 and 2002 that eventually won him the Nobel Prize, according to Tyler Bowles, the head of the Economics and Finance Department at the Huntsman School of Business.

“Dr. Smith’s visit represents a remarkable opportunity for not just our students but our faculty and the USU community to hear directly from someone who has done ground-breaking research that has influenced the way we understand economics,” Bowles said. “He has authored or co-authored more than 280 articles and books. His expertise is sought after and widely respected.”

Past speakers of the George S. Eccles Distinguished Lecture Series, which started in 1973, have included management guru and author Peter Drucker, Nobel Prize winner and author Milton Friedman, and Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve. George S. Eccles played a key role in founding First Security Corporation in Utah in 1928 and the business building on the USU campus is named after him.

“One reason to hold this lecture series each year is because it reminds us of Mr. Eccles’ own distinguished career in the banking industry,” Bowles said. “He had a lifelong interest in helping USU students better understand economics and business.”

Smith now has joint appointments with the Argyros School of Business & Economics and the School of Law at Chapman University in California. He is the president and founder of the International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics, an organization that investigates the “causes of economic imbalances and seeks market-based solutions.” He is also part of a team that runs the new Economic Science Institute at Chapman.