Vernon Smith to Work on Californian Public Policy

The news that Vernon Smith is departing GMU for Chapman Univeristy in California

is now official,

and has been picked

up by the WSJ’s economics blog as well as by Daniel

Walsch of the Mason Gazette. There’s little here which will come as news

to Market Movers’ readers,

but there are two new pieces of information.

Firstly, Chapman says that a fifth "team member" will join Smith,

Porter, Wilson, and Rassenti at Chapman. My guess is that they’re referring

to Mark Olson, who is not (yet) officially leaving GMU.

Secondly, there’s a bit more detail on Smith’s motivation. Here’s the WSJ:

Aside from sunnier weather, Chapman offered Dr. Smith and his colleagues

a chance to have a direct impact on policy in California, along with a brand-new

purpose-built laboratory in a prime campus location and an annual budget of

as much as $4 million, said university President James Doti, who also serves

as an economic advisor to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“If you’re going to select a state to use as a laboratory, you

might as well choose the biggest,” said Dr. Doti.

Dr. Smith didn’t respond to requests for comment. But his colleague,

Prof. Wilson, said the opportunity to influence the design of markets in areas

such as pollution rights, transportation and gasoline was definitely an attraction.

“There’s certainly a lot of interesting questions that the state

faces in terms of creating market mechanisms to solve problems, and that’s

an area where we can make a contribution,” he said.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and his team are very open to using market-based systems

to implement policy decisions, and I can see why Smith and his team would jump

at the chance to leave their ivory tower and actually build something big in

the real world. Maybe the departure wasn’t about GMU after all!

This entry was posted in economics. Bookmark the permalink.