Geoffrey Newman

Sessional Lecturer

My principal affiliation has been the University of Toronto, where I started as an Assistant Professor and then returned in the late 1990’s. In between, I had substantial stays at Drew University and the London School of Economics. I have previously been Visiting Research Economist, University of California Santa Barbara; Director of the Brussels Program, Institute for European Studies, Universite Libre de Brussels; and President, Economists of New Jersey. I first visited UBC in 1994 as an Associate Professor and returned for good in 2002.

My early research interest was in problems of economic coordination that required more than simple price systems to solve. This led to a focus on norms and institutions, and their role in providing information (beyond prices) to generate aggregate equilibria. A very early piece looked at the role of norms in consumer choice theory, where individuals not only received utility from the goods themselves but also from conforming with, or deviating from, accepted consumption conventions. A subsequent idea was that aggregate norms can be informationally efficient if and only if they are stable; in times of social instability and adjustment, they no longer maintain this property and individuals are forced to decentralized search.

Research around 1990 naturally led to a study of the role of institutions in macroeconomic theory in general, and raised the question as to how (exogenous) institutions could play any role in macro models that were complete with respect to rationality. More recent work starting from the Economic Journal piece (with Robert Jones) in 1995 still uses some of the old ideas; linking economic growth with search and matching theories. In a ‘creative destruction’ context, technological or institutional shocks may expand growth potential but they can also be costly since they disrupt existing matching, and force agents to search again. It is shown that there is a potential trade-off between an economy’s growth rate and the extent of its matching efficiency. More recent extensions of this framework include the topics of growth and income distribution and, more important, the ‘political economy’ of growth with vested interests.

I have always attempted to teach in a ‘classical’ style — and with inspiration — and have always enjoyed students who show interest and intellectual creativity.

Winter 2016

ECON356 Introduction to International Finance Sections

Exchange rate policy regimes; international financial organizations; the interaction between monetary policy and exchange rate regimes; financial crises.

Winter 2016

ECON345 Money and Banking Sections

Financial markets and financial institutions in theory and practice; structure and development of the Canadian financial system; development and theory of the regulation of the financial system; process of monetary control; theory and history of central banking and monetary policy.

Winter 2016

ECON447 Monetary Theory Sections

Theoretical analysis of economies that use money; the emergence of money; the roles of money in the economy; models of money demand; the optimal quantity of money seignorage and inflation; monetary policy and macroeconomic stability; monetary policy in an open economy.

I am probably known these days as much for my music journalism as anything else.  In January 2014, I launched VANCOUVER CLASSICAL MUSIC, which will hopefully serve as a complete and definitive reference for serious music in this city.   It has ongoing concert previews, a comprehensive events calendar, many videos, and almost 100 reviews, interviews and articles.  Korean translations of the articles are also available at