October 2018 newsletter – John R Hudson

John Robert Hudson was born in Birmingham in 1947. He left school at 16 and, following several tool-making jobs in the engineering industry, entered Queen Mary College, University of London as a mature student to study for a BSc in Economics. He followed this with an MA in Economics and a PhD thesis, Wage Inflation in the UK: 1951-1975, A Switching Regimes Hypothesis, both at the University of Warwick. After temporary lecturing contracts at Durham and Sheffield Universities, he moved to the University of Bath in 1978 as Lecturer in Econometrics, Advanced Econometrics, Mathematical Economics and Macroeconomic Modelling. He held this position until 1990, when he became Reader in Economics. In 2002 he was promoted again, to Professor of Economics. He remained a caring teacher, PhD supervisor and prodigious researcher at Bath until his death on 13th July 2018.

John authored numerous academic articles, reports and books. His interests were macroeconomics in general, and the theories of J M Keynes, an economist he much admired, in particular. John’s book Inflation: A Theoretical Survey and Synthesis (1982) was selected by Choice, the American library journal, as one of the outstanding books of the year. John followed this with Unemployment After Keynes: Towards A New General Theory (1988) and Modelling a Developing Country: A Case Study of Cyprus (1989). John was also a joint editor of Business Regulation and Public Policy: The Costs and Benefits of Compliance (2008). His final book, completed shortly before his death, was on the economics of robotics, an area in which he was becoming increasingly interested.

John was a prolific researcher publishing over eighty articles in international academic journals. These include the Economic Journal, the Journal of Economic Perspectives, the Journal of Public Economics and the Journal of Banking and Finance. He was also catholic in his interests and his work spanned beyond economics and finance to such disciplines as political science and sociology. Over the course of his career he worked on such apparently disparate areas as bankruptcy, tax policy and the informal economy, happiness, voting, citation indexes and institutional trust. His research into the economics of political behaviour shed insight into the relevance of how low-cost signals might help in explaining how and why individuals engage in political processes and how consumers assess the quality of services they intend to purchase.

John was perhaps best known for his work on development economics and, especially, the relationship between economic growth and aid. This followed a seminal and hugely cited 1987 publication in the Economic Journal. This body of work was mostly co-authored with Paul Mosley and comprises many other studies, most notably a further (and increasingly cited) Economic Journalpublication in 2004.

In addition to academic publications, John also produced reports for various government bodies, including for the Inland Revenue on the compliance costs of PAYE. He was involved with the South West Regional Development Agency and the Welsh Assembly, including studies analysing Regional Productivity. John also produced reports on Development such as for the Department for International Development, assessing the volatility of international aid flows and a further report called a ‘Scoping Study on Economic Growth, Technological Diffusion, and Low Carbon Investment’ in 2010.

John contributed to numerous economics-based organisations as the organiser and committee member across the world. The following give a taste of his international appeal: He was a member of the Economists Panel of the South West Regional Development Agency (2003-11), a Member of the Panel of Advisors for the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (2007-date), Vice President of the European Academy for Standardization (2009-12). He was also on the Organising/Program Committees for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Conference on Robotics and Automation in Barcelona (2005) and he chaired the panel discussion on The Economics of Trade and Standards at the Standardisation and Innovation in Information Technology (SIIT) conference in 2005 (Geneva). He was on the organizing committees for the IEEE Symposium on Computers and Communications (2007), for the International Association for the Management of Technology (IAMOT) conference on the Management of Technology for the Service Economy (2007) and for the 5th International Conference on Standardization and Innovation in Information and Technology (2007).

John was also the recipient of many project grants, often in conjunction with Slovakian universities, in particular with the University of Economics in Bratislava and Matej Bel University in Banska Bystrica, with which he maintained a close working relationship for over two decades. For example, together with Marta Orviska and others he received a grant from the World Bank’s Global Development Network, administered by the Czech Academy of Sciences. He was also awarded grants by the Inland Revenue, the Welsh Assembly and the South West Regional Development Agency.

John had extensive experience in teaching, from first year macroeconomics to the more technical aspects of econometrics. He played a key part in the development and teaching of the specialist and prestigious BSc in Economics, Computing and Statistics (1982-96). For a while he was head of the Economics Group, in the Department of Economics and International Development and, with Ajit Mishra, was instrumental in planning the creation of a separate Department of Economics in 2009.

John’s unexpected and untimely death will rob us of a hard-working and caring colleague. He was something of an eccentric in an age of conformity. We will miss his enthusiasms: Professionally, for ‘good’ economics; socially, for The Three B's – Birmingham City FC, Barcelona FC, and the Friday ‘Beer’. Most of all, we will miss him.

He leaves two children, Alex and Chris, a grand-daughter, Effie, a grandson, Rory, his partner for over twenty years, Marta, and Marta’s son, Roman.

John Sessions
University of Bath