Director of Studies, Associate Professor, Malaysia
I would describe myself as both a development and transition economist. Through the first part of my career I have become increasingly devoted to the study of institutions and how institutions affect economic performance and especially the performance of firms.
My PhD thesis was on the topic of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the transition countries (mainly Poland) and how FDI affected the economic growth process in the early years of transition.
After my PhD while teaching at Copenhagen Business School and Copenhagen University I won a small DANIDA grant to study the economic transition process in one of the last countries where a socialist system was still in place: Cuba.
The cuban economy fascinated and terrified me at the same time. Coming from a very orderly economy such as the Danish I had a hard time understanding how anyone could make rational decision-making in a dual economy such as the Cuban. For example, when I was in Cuba you could buy the same book in local or foreign currency for very different prices and there were no signs of price equalisation.
The amount of knowledge gained from staying just a few months in the field compared to the three years of desk research during my phd studies made me decide to pursue a career as an economist teaching and researching in the field. This choice has greatly enriched me as a researcher and person.
After a shorter stay in Puerto Rico during a sabbatical I found a new full time job at Kadir Has University in Istanbul, Turkey. I have great memories from Istanbul and especially the surprise of being so welcomed and immediately accepted as the only foreigner amongst a turkish faculty.
Later I got the challenging opportunity to set up Nottingham School of Economics here on the Malaysia Campus. Malaysia is in many ways an intriguing country and much more modern and developed than I thought it would be before coming here. Malaysia is an interesting place to be for anyone wanting to learn more about the relationship between institutions and economic growth. There is a tremendous push now in Malaysia for the country to graduate into a high income country. This has inspired me to write the blog about Malaysia.