Association for Institutional Thought

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AFIT Ballot



Hendrik Van den Berg, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Hendrik Van den Berg is Professor Emeritus, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and is currently a visitor at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.  He now makes his home in Amherst.  He received B.A. and M.A. degrees in economics from the State University of New York at Albany in 1971 and 1973, respectively, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1987 and 1989.  Between studying in New York and Wisconsin, Hendrk was a Foreign Service Officer at the United States Embassy in Managua, Nicaragua and at the U.S. Trade Center in São Paulo, Brazil.  In 1985 Hendrik decided to return to his first love, economics, and enrolled at the graduate program of economics at the University of Wisconsin to study international economics. After receiving his PhD in 1989, he has been working diligently to learn the institutional economics he had hoped to find at Wisconsin but was somehow never taught in any of the graduate courses there.

Hendrik has published over 50 refereed articles on exchange rates, international trade, alternative estimates of economic growth, the relationship between international trade and economic growth, and, most recently, the determinants and consequences of immigration on source and destination countries.  Currently, he is examining the biases of neoclassical economics, the neoclassical culture of mainstream economics, and the destructive influence of the neoclassical paradigm on the fields of international economics and economic development.  He is also collaborating on several inter-disciplinary papers on immigration.  Hendrik has also written several economics textbooks, including Economic Growth and Development, 1st Edition (McGraw-Hill, 2001), 2nd and 3rd. Ed. (World Scientific, 2012, 2015), International Economics (McGraw-Hill, 2003) and International Economics: A Heterodox Approach (M.E. Sharpe, 2011, 3rd. Ed. Routledge, 2016), International Trade and Economic Growth (M.E. Sharpe, 2006), The Economics of Immigration (Springer, 2009, 2nd Ed. 2013), and International Finance and Open-Economy Macroeconomics (World Scientific, 2010, 2nd Ed. 2015).Hendrik also regularly writes for general audiences, including monthly articles on economic policy, peace, and social justice in Nebraska Report, the newspaper of Nebraskans for Peace. 


Vice – President – 1 Nominee

Rojhat B. Avsar, Columbia College Chicago

Rojhat received his Ph.D. from the University of Utah in 2010. In his dissertation, he deconstructed various rhetorical rationalizations of the privatization of Social Security in the U.S., and highlighted their political and logical inadequacies. Moreover, he provided a new framework in which the Social Security’s role should be evaluated which led to the publication of “On the pro-Social Security Rhetoric” with the Forum for Social Economics. The paper was selected by Association for Social Economics to be the best paper published with the Forum in the year of 2012.

Rojhat has published with various peer-reviewed journals from the Social Science Journal to the Review of Social Economy. He has also been serving as a referee for many heterodox economics journals including the JEI. In his scholarship, he approaches to current policy debates from institutionalist and social economic perspectives. In his most recent publication “Rawlsian Defense of the Individual Mandate,” for instance, he provided a moral case for the mandate provision of Obamacare by treating health as a “collective asset.” For Rojhat, J. M Clark, John R. Commons, and Warren Samuels serve as major inspiring intellectual figures. Recently, he has taken interest in the potential collaborations between Evolutionary Psychology and Economics. Specifically, he is currently working on a book project that investigates the market-friendliness of human nature.     

At Columbia College, Rojhat was hired to develop the economics curriculum from the ground up at the (multidisciplinary) Department of Humanities, History, and Social Sciences. He developed courses such as Ethics and Economics that are informed by the institutionalist and evolutionary literature.    

Rojhat has been presenting /chairing at the AFIT sessions at the WSSA annual meetings since 2011 and got elected to the AFIT Board in 2013.  He is currently serving as the chair for the Student Scholars Award Competition and recently chaired the AFIT Website and Teaching Resources Committee. He is indebted to the AFIT for being welcoming and supportive, and greatly appreciates the collegiality of its members.


At-large Board member – 3 Nominees

Erik Dean, Portland Community College

Erik Dean, Portland Community College, received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri – Kansas City in October of 2013.  His research interests include heterodox microeconomics, with particular focus on theories of the firm, institutional and post-Keynesian economics, methodology and philosophy of science, and the history of economic thought.  His dissertation draws heavily from institutional thought in addition to other heterodox schools, and he is now in the process of preparing derived papers for publication.  The first of these appears in a festschrift for Frederic S. Lee edited by Tae-Hee Jo and Zdravka Todorova.   Erik has presented at sessions organized by URPE, AFEE, the Post Keynesian Conference, as well as AFIT.

Erik is dedicated to teaching heterodox economics at all levels and encourages students to explore the great works of institutional economists from Veblen to contemporary scholars.  Toward that end, he helped to organize and construct the Teaching Resources Wiki for AFIT, along with Rojhat Avsar and Mitch Green, and is currently organizing and writing heterodox content for a Creative-Commons licensed introductory microeconomics textbook.

Erik is, likewise, committed to the expansion of heterodox economic theory and believes the ideas and methods of institutional economics in particular are indispensable for that endeavor.  In this regard, AFIT is an essential organization to be advanced in its own right and as part of the greater heterodox community.


Anna Klimina, University of Saskatchewan

Anna Klimina is Associate Professor in the Economics Department at St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan, Canada. She earned her PhD in economics from the University of Manitoba (2004, Canada), her MA in Political Economy from Kiev State University (1987, USSR) and her PhD (candidate of sciences degree, a PhD equivalent) in History of Economic Thought from the Institute of Economics of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in 1992 (Ukraine).  Her primary research interests include economics of post-Soviet transition, seen through institutionalist and Post Keynesian perspectives, and history of Russian economic thought. Anna is an active member of the Association for Evolutionary Economics, Association for Institutional Thought, and the History of Economics Society. Since 2008 Anna presented nine papers at AFEE Annual Meetings; all papers have been published in the Journal of Economic Issues.  Anna will be delighted and honoured to have the opportunity to serve AFIT on the Board of Directors.


Nicholas Reksten, University of Redlands

Nicholas Reksten is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Redlands in Southern California.  His work primarily focuses on understanding the relationship between institutions and effective climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.  This investigation stems from the understanding that determining which policies might be optimal for curtailing environmental damage depends heavily on institutional context and history.  For example, in his dissertation, completed at American University, Nicholas conducted interviews with sustainability officers at large U.S. firms in order to analyze the institutional framework in which their decisions regarding greenhouse gas emissions goals are made.  More current research seeks to understand the differential impact of climate change on men and women in several countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and another paper in progress compares dominant approaches to incorporating concerns about the environment and gender into economic theory.  Prior to starting at the University of Redlands, Nicholas was Guest Faculty in Economics at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY.