July 2015 newsletter – Guy Judge

Guy Judge

The first Software Reviews Editor of the Economic Journal [1993-2000] and the author of one of the pioneering textbooks on the use of computers in economics (Quantitative Analysis for Economics and Business: Using Lotus 1-2-3) has died.

Guy Judge was born in Watford on 11th May 1949 and was educated at Watford Grammar School. It was here that he became a ‘hornet’, a devoted supporter of Watford Football Club. From Watford Grammar School, he progressed to the University of Warwick where he met his future wife (Pauline), with whom he would share many subsequent adventures, and began the pursuit of his lifelong passion for economics. He graduated with a BA Economics in 1970 and an MA Economics in 1972.

In September 1972, Guy took up a lecturing post at Portsmouth Polytechnic, where he played an instrumental role in developing the mathematical and statistical content of the institution’s fledging Economics degree. As the degree flourished, so did Guy’s interest in promoting the use of computers as a pedagogic tool in the teaching of economics. Guy was the moving force in setting up the CALECO (Computer Aided Learning in Economics) group at Portsmouth in 1986, and this was swiftly followed by the launching of CHEER (Computing in Higher Education Economics Review) in 1987 — the pioneering journal that showcased and assessed the use of computers in the discipline (both for research and teaching). The following year (1988) Guy and CALECO organised the first of what would subsequently turn out to be many annual conferences, attracting enthusiasts from across the globe, eager to demonstrate what could be done with computers in economics. In these early years, speed and connection issues, not to mention creaky hardware, were always a challenge, but as Martin Poulter (a Director of Wikimedia UK) remarked: ‘Guy has been the unflappable eye of the storm in conference sessions where a tech demo is going disastrously wrong.’

In the early 1990s, Guy was therefore a natural choice as a lead partner in the HEFCE-funded WinEcon project, an eight-strong University consortia which produced a computer-based teaching/learning package in introductory economics covering the whole of the typical first-year undergraduate syllabus. He was also both a source of inspiration and a font of wisdom to the members of the Economics Network, an organisation which has the admirable goal of enhancing the quality of learning and teaching throughout the higher education economics community. Guy’s premier position in this growing field was consolidated when the editors of the Economic Journalinvited him to edit the software review section of the journal.

Guy’s research interests were not wholly confined to economic pedagogy, however, and he published a variety of articles with colleagues covering such diverse areas as property price cycles, internet banking in Greece (a country which became a second home as he applied the same analytic skills he had to econometrics to mastering the Greek language), cinema admissions, UK energy demand, and student plagiarism. Guy was at his best, however, in the classroom where generations of Portsmouth students were inspired by his teaching, his sometimes irreverent use of examples and the quirky things [including his own poetry, songs and videos] he shared through blogs and social media. One of his poems (‘Carry on Regressing’ was even picked up and published by Stephen Dubner on his Freakonomics website on 3rd June 2009, an accolade not achieved by many other economists.

Guy retired as Deputy Head of Economics in August 2012 after working for forty years to the week at Portsmouth Polytechnic/University of Portsmouth. Since then he had battled cancer with the same verve with which he dealt with technical problems in the computing conferences he ran so successfully in the 1980s and 1990s. A fitting epitaph is that, on the day on which he died (14th March 2015), Watford FC sat proudly at the top of the Championship. He is survived by his wife Pauline.

Andy Thorpe
University of Portsmouth