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Levinsohn to Head Jackson Institute


LevinsohnYale University President Richard C. Levin has named James Levinsohn to be the first director of the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at the MacMillan Center, effective February 1, 2010.

The Jackson Institute will offer courses and core teaching programs in international affairs, career counseling, public lectures and conferences. It was established in April 2009 with a $50 million gift from John W. ’67 and Susan G. Jackson, and is affiliated with the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale.

Levinsohn, a visiting professor at Yale’s Cowles Foundation in 2008, is returning to campus from the University of Michigan, where he is the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Professor of Public Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and a professor in the Department of Economics. Prior to his appointment as director of the Jackson Institute, he had agreed to join the faculty of the Yale School of Management as a professor of economics and management.

International economics, industrial organization, economic development and applied econometrics are Levinsohn’s major fields of interest. Recently, his academic research has focused on the impact of HIV/AIDS on unemployment and school attendance in South Africa. Levinsohn has published numerous articles on trade policy, foreign investment practices and the global corporation.

Levinsohn’s international activities form a major component of his work, and he has lived and worked in Senegal, Botswana and South Africa. One of his projects, now in its 11th year, trains government officials, university faculty and students, and NGO staff from over a dozen countries in southern Africa on how to use data to inform policymaking. In addition, he has worked with Sudanese refugees in their attempt to be compensated for their forcible removal from their homelands. Closer to home, he has researched the distributional impact of environmental polices that affect the U.S. automobile market.

Levinsohn joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1987. He was associate dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy 2003-2007. Throughout the past 20 years, in addition to spending time at Yale, he also has been a visiting professor at the University of Cape Town and Tel Aviv University, a visiting fellow at the Institute for International Economic Studies in Stockholm, and a national fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. He earned a B.A. in the Political Economy Program at Williams College in 1981, an M.P.A. in 1985 from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School and a Ph.D. in economics in 1988, also from Princeton.

He has served on the editorial boards of numerous economics publications, including the American Economic Review and the Review of Economics and Statistics. Both his research and teaching have been recognized with major grants and awards. His undergraduate students in economics at Michigan honored him with a “Best Professor Award” in 1993, and in 1995 he was presented with the William Wolff Award, a five-year grant from the University of Michigan for “outstanding scholarship.”