Visiting Economists from Abroad

We must have made a good impression with Liaoning University’s economists, as every year they send us more visitors to engage in programs of instruction and research. For the fall 2007 semester we hosted a total of four: Yuan Yuan Xing, Xianfeng Huang, Li Zhang, and Jinmei Chen. Dr. Xing taught our course on the Chinese Economy during the fall, but she has now moved on to Arizona State University before returning home to Shenyang this summer. Dr.’s Huang, Zhang and Chen are still with us and will be staying through the summer. Although Dr. Xing has left, another visiting scholar arrived in the spring semester Ligang Liu.

Our Latin American connections were also evident. Don Richards arranged for one of his professional colleagues in Paraguay to join us for the fall semester as a Fulbright Scholar. Dr. Diôysio “Dio” Borda was engaged in research here while co-teaching a special seminar on Latin American political economy. Below are brief biographical sketches of our visitors. We have been pleased and honored to have them with us and hope there will be occasions in the future to see them again.

Yuan Yuan Xing

Dr. Xing grew up in Shenyang, China and pursed university studies there at Liaoning University, receiving three degrees: a Bachelor’s in International trade and both Master’s and Ph. D. in World Economy. She is a professor in Liaoning’s College of International Relations and Chairperson of the Department of World Economy, where she teaches on world economy as well as on the U.S. economy. While at ISU she taught our course on the Chinese Economy and worked with John Conant on developing the 1+2+1 program mentioned below. Her research interests lies in technological innovation and how institutional change affects economic performance. She was surprised in the U.S. by huge markets for Chinese products that she found in California, and she is also intrigued by the openness and diversity of American society.

Jinmei Chen

Dr. Chen also grew up in Shenyang and also received degrees from Liaoning University. Her Bachelor’s degree was in accounting systems, economic planning and economic statistics, her Master’s degree was in national economic management, and she was granted a Ph.D. in the field of macroeconomic modeling. She is currently a Professor of Economics in the College of Economics at Liaoning University, where she teaches courses in statistics, systems of national economic accounts and analysis of macroeconomic statistics as well as in computer software for statistical analysis. During her time at ISU she has attended a number of courses as an auditing student and has pursued her research interest in the economics of Chinese telecommunications policy. An interest she hopes to pursue in the future is study of Computible General Equilibrium models. What particularly strikes her about American culture is our directness in communication style and the kindness that people in Terre Haute extend to strangers.

Li Zhang

Dr. Zhang also grew up in Shenyang but pursued her undergraduate studies in the northeast region of China. Her Bachelor’s degree in money and banking is from Jilin University. Both of her graduate degrees are from Liaoning University: a Master’s in international finance and a Ph.D. in finance. She is currently both a teacher and manage at Liaoning University. She is a Professor of Finance in the College of Economics and the Vice Director of that college’s Department of Scientific Research. Her teaching includes course on money and banking, comparative financial systems, financial economics and financial development. While at ISU she has been attending classes and pursuing research on financial development in transitional economics. Dr. Zhang has been struck by the consumer possibilities in America. The purchase of a round trip ticket for travel is possible (not so in China) and everything can be done by the internet.

Xianfeng Huang

Dr. Huang grew up in the city of Nanjiang in Sichuan Province, one of the mountainous regions of China. He has an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Sichuan Normal University, and he received graduate degrees from Liaoning University: a Master’s in mathematics and a Ph. D. in economics. He also studied population and development at the Institute of Social Studies and economics at Tilburg University, both in the Netherlands. He is a Professor in the College of Economics at Liaoning University, where he teaches courses on mathematical economics, econometrics, advanced macroeconomics, and theories of economic growth. He is also a member of the research staff of Liaoning University’s Center for Comparative Economic Systems. While at ISU he has been engaged in translation of economics textbooks from English into Chinese. His research interest lies in the theory and determinants of economic growth with special focus on the appropriate role of government. He has been particularly struck by the strength of family structure in American culture. We are very pleased that, since January 2008, Xianfeng has been joined in his American adventure by his wife, Wei Gao, and son, Zhonghan.

Ligang Liu

Dr. Liu has been at ISU since February this year. He is Dean & Professor of Sun Wha International Business School, Liaoning University, Shenyang, China. Dr. Liu has engaged in abundant consulting with private businesses in China and presented a special seminar on the evolution of Chinese private enterprise in late April. Diônysio Borda Dr. Borda came to ISU as a Fulbright Scholar, bringing us a wealth of practical experience in Latin American economics. He was formerly the Minister of Finance of Paraguay and he is currently director of a think-tank he founded there: CADEP – Centro de Analysis y Difusion de la Economia Paraguay. “Dio” is no stranger to the U.S. having received a Master’s degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Ph.D. form the university of Massachusetts at Amherst.

His tenure as Finance Minister was during Paraguay’s economic crisis of 2003-05, a time of large fiscal deficits, long-term recession and accelerating inflation. His graduate education served him well in crisis in coping with the Paraguay’s economic difficulties; using a three-pronged policy approach the government prevented the Paraguayan from developing into a catastrophe. At ISU his chief responsibility as a Fulbright Scholar was to co-teach (with Dr. Donald Richards) our course on Latin American Political Economy last fall. He also was engaged in developing research proposals to support funding for CADEP. He is appreciative of the assistance provided by ISU’s Office of Sponsored Programs in his search for funding.

Our Faculty Abroad

Not only did we host several international visitors, some of our own professors were engaged in activities abroad. Rick Lotspeich spent five weeks in Northern Ireland under the sponsorship of the American Philosophical Society pursing a case study on the economics of conflict.

Chairperson John Conant was on the campus of Liaoning University in Shenyang, China working out details of the 1+2+1 program for Chinese undergraduates to engage in study of economics at ISU. Under this program undergraduates will study their first year at Liaoning University, followed by two years of study at ISU, and then a final year of study at Liaoning. We hope to become a regular host of such students from Liaoning University. He returned to China in March with a group of K-12 educational leaders on a trip sponsored by Global Indiana to help Indiana schools connect with Chinese partner schools.

Paul Burkett spent three weeks in Mexico, where he was invited by the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitian-Xochimilco (Mexico City) to lecture on ecological economics and engage Mexican students on the political economy of ecological issues. He also served as the keynote speaker for a conference there on ecological economics. Latin societies in particular take great interest in Dr. Burkett’s research on ecology and Marxism. In addition to his activities in Mexico, he was interviewed about his work by a Portuguese website, The Daily  (July 24, 2007, in Portuguese) and at (April 24, 2007, in English). He was also interviewed for an article on ecological socialism in the Brazilian left magazine Carta Capital, (October 2, 2007, in Portuguese). See the notes below on the new Venezuelan edition of his co-authored book, China and Socialism).

Study Abroad in Morocco, May 2013

Follow the links below to learn about our upcoming Study Abroad course in Morocco, scheduled for May 2013.

Short-term Faculty Led Study Tour of Morocco, May 201347

Short-term Faculty Led Study Tour of Morocco, May 2013, part two

Professional Conferences

Our faculty continued to put stress on ISU’s travel budget by attending professional conferences. Rick Lotspeich attended the National Prostitution Conference at the University of Toledo in September. He is developing a special session for next year’s conference on recent research into the economics of commercial sex markets. In September 2007 Debra Israel presented her paper, “Gender, Household Decision-Making and Environmental Giving”, to the Heartland Environmental and Resource Economics conference in Ames, Iowa. She also presented this paper in a session sponsored by the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in New Orleans during early January and at the meetings of the Midwest Economics Association (MEA) in March 2008. Bassam Yousif also attended the annual meetings in New Orleans of the Allied Social Science Association.

ISU was well represented at the annual meetings of the Midwest Economic Association in Chicago during March. In addition to Dr. Israel’s paper mentioned earlier, she organized a conference session at the MEA meetings on: Gender, Intra-household Decision-making, and Valuing Environmental Benefits. She presented another paper in this session, “Gender Households and Valuing Environmental Benefits" and Rick Lotspeich helped out as discussant for a paper on drinking water choices. Three of our Chinese visitors also attended the MEA meetings. Xianfeng Huang presented a paper, “The Size of the SOE Sector and Economic Growth: An Empirical Study Based on Provincial Data of China.” Li Zhang presented her research on rural credit cooperatives in China: Restructuring Rural Credit Cooperatives in China: Peasants’ Concerns and the Efficiency of Credit Allocation." Katrina Davis also attended the MEA meetings, chairing a paper session on: Young Adult Risk Behaviors and serving as discussant for a paper on migration in nonmetropolitan countries of the American Great Plains. One special feature of the MEA annual meetings is the inclusion of undergraduate research papers. The MEA is very student-friendly, and we encourage our economics students to attend this professional conference (it is generally held within driving distance of Terre Haute) and to consider submitting a research paper.

Environmental Economics

Field Trips and Speakers

Our visiting Chinese scholars accompanied students in Environmental Economics on a trip last October to the Terre Haute Wastewater Treatment Plant. Robert Elkins (plant manager) discussed improvements occurring at the plant, such as converting from anaerobic to aerobic digesters, which will help reduce the odor problems associated with the plant. In addition to explaining the details of the treatment process during the facilities tour, Mr. Elkins outlined the importance of wastewater treatment capacity to economic development in Terre Haute. Right here on campus students learned about environmental improvements promoted by the University through visits to ISU’s power plant and recycling center.

George Needham, director of the Vigo County Air Pollution Control, spoke to the class about the status of air pollution in Vigo County and Indiana. This class also heard form Rick Lotspeich, who spoke to them on the costs and benefits of bat preservation, a project in which he is collaborating with faculty in the Department of Ecology and Organismal Biology. These varied speakers and visits bring an applied perspective to the textbook and classroom discussions of the economics of environmental regulations.


Many of our students in Economics work hard, but each spring we select three of the top performers for our annual awards. Ann Arthur was selected as our Outstanding Senior this year. The Mitchell Scholarship was awarded to Justen Rollo, and Ryan Grossman was selected to receive the Gemmecke Scholarship. Congratulations to you all. (We know that economics is not easy.)


Recent Faculty Research & Scholarly Pursuits

To see additional recent scholarly work, check out the bulletin board in front of the Econ Dept. HH Rm 277 or previous newsletter editions.

Paul Burkett

“China, Capitalist Accumulation, and Labor.” Coauthored with Martin Hard-Landsberg, Monthly Review, May 2007.

“Classical Marxism and the Second Law of Thermodynamics.: Coauthored with John Bellamy Foster. Organization & Environment, v.21, n. 1, March 2008, pp. 3-37.

“The Podolinsky Myth: An Obituary“ Coauthored with John Bellamy Foster. Forthcoming in Historical Materialism.

Paul’s book, China and Socialism, (coauthored with Martin Hart-Landsberg) has now appeared in a Venezuelan edition published by the Centro Interacional Miranda in Caracas. This book has now been published in seven different foreign editions.

John Conant

“Going Flat: The Changing Dynamics and Integrative Nature of Geography in the Digital Classroom” with Jay Gatrell, in Digital Geography: “Geospatial Technologies in the Social Studies Classroom” Information Age Publishing I, 2008, pp. 197-211

Debra Israel

“Impact of Increased Access and Price on Household Water Use in Urban Bolivia." The Journal of Environment and Development, v. 16, n.1, March 2007.

“Charitable Donations: Evidence of Demand for Environmental Protection?” International Advances in Economic Research, v. 13, n. 2, DOI 10.1007/s11294-007-9080-4, May 2007.

“Environmental Participation in the U.S.

Sulfur Allowance Auctions.” Environmental and Resource Economics, v. 38, n. 3, DOI 10.1007/s10640-007-9079-6, November 2007.

Tribune Star article on continuing gender gap in wage rates

Richard Lotspeich

“Economic Integration of China and Russia in the Post-Soviet Era.” Forthcoming in James Bellacqua, ed., China-Russia Relations in the Early 21st Century. Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe.

Book Review: Institutions and Norms in Economic Development, ed. By Mark Gradstein and Kai A. Konrad. Forthcoming in Comparative Economic Studies.

Book Review Size, Causes and Consequences of the Underground Economy: An International Perspective, ed. by Christopher Bajada and Friedrich Schneider. In Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 49, no.1, pp. 161-163, 2007.

Donald Richards

“Transition and Reform in a Predatory State: The Case of Paraguay.” Forthcoming in Journal of Policy Reform.

“Economics and “Nature’s Standard”: Wes Jackson and The Land Institute.” Forthcoming in Review of Radical Political Economy.

Bassam Yousif

“Economic Restructuring in Iraq: Intended and Unintended Consequences.” Journal of Economic Issues, vol. 41 no. 1, March 2007, pp. 43-60. “Development, Industrial: The Middle East and North Africa.” In the Encyclopedia of the Modern World, Oxford University Press, 2008 (invited submission).

Alumni Update

Christopher E.C. Gan (MS Economics, Indiana State University -1988)

Chris earned a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Louisiana State University in 1993. He is currently an Associate Professor of Economics in the Commerce Division of Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand. Chris’s research interests include natural resource and environmental economics, eco-tourism, recreation demand analysis, Asian financial economics and governance and corruption in developing economies.

He has published four book chapters and more than 30 scholarly articles since 2000 in such peer reviewed journals as: Journal of Innovative Marketing, Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, American Journal of Applied Sciences, Journal of Economic Policy Reforms, Journal of Innovative Marketing, Review of Development and Cooperation, Banks and Bank Systems, Journal of Social Sciences, International Finance Review, and The Australian Economic Review. Chris has also won a number of teaching awards, including: Lincoln University’s Excellence in Teaching Award, 2007 and the New Zealand Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching (at the National Level), 2003.

Michael G. Goldsby (MS Economics, Indiana State University, 1992)

Michael earned a PhD in Management from Virginia Tech in 1998. He is currently an Associate Professor and The Stoops Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Miller College of Business, Ball State University in Muncie, IN. Michael’s research interests include entrepreneurship, strategic management, social issues in management/ business Ethics, Organization Theory, and international management.

Since 2000, Mike has published 16 peer reviewed articles in such scholarly journals as: Journal of Management History, International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Business & Society, Journal of Small Business Management, Journal of Management Education, Group and Organization Management, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Small Business Management, International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, Journal of Managerial Psychology, and the Eastern Economic Journal.

He is certified in Simplex creativity and innovation training by Basadur Applied Creativity. Michael was recognized in the 2002, 2004, and 2005 “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” and was the 2002, 2003, and 2004 Recipient of the Coleman Scholarship for U.S.A.S.B.E.

ECON 498 : Food, Hunger and Sustainable Agriculture.

Dr. Richards will be teaching the course and it will provide students with opportunities for group and individual research and is committed to the goals of experiential learning and community engagement. Questions that will be explored include:

How do we measure under- nutrition and malnutrition? What has happened to the structure of American agriculture over the past 100 years? Who has benefited from the US policy of agricultural subsidies? Why are hunger and obesity political as well as economic problems? In what ways has the industrial food system become a global system? Does technology provide the answer to our food problems? Are there alternatives to the industrial food system? What is meant by Community Supported Agriculture?

Center for Economic Education

The Center has had another busy year. We gave two workshops last summer, one on basic economic concepts for K-5 teachers, and a 3 day workshop on globalization for middle and high school social studies teachers at McCormick’s Creek State Park. The Center also provided one-day workshops on globalization in Terre Haute, Gary, and Columbus this past year.We had a very successful workshop on the Ethics and Economics of Immigration in our yearly workshop for clergy and friends at the United Ministry Center and gave popular workshops on Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature. Professor Conant was fortunate enough to be a part of a two day workshop for elementary grade teachers in March at the primary school attached to Peking University in Beijing. This summer the Center will be giving its normal K-5 workshop, but is also joining with ISU’s Biology Department in offering a workshop for secondary science and social studies teachers with an eight day field experience at Yellowstone, emphasizing the science and economic aspects involved in conflicts over several land use issues at the park. Teachers will be speaking with a number of advocacy groups as well as scientific experts and experts from the National Park Service so they can get a better idea of how public decisions are actually made in such cases. A report on this innovative workshop will be included in the next newsletter.

John Conant, Director