Association for Institutional Thought

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AFIT Ballot



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, Neurosciences, and Economics. He is currently working on a book project (under contract with Routledge) that investigates the market-friendliness of human nature: The Evolutionary Origins of Markets: How Evolution, Psychology and Biology Have Shaped the Economy (forthcoming).

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 Vice President of the AFIT and the Executive Director of the ASE. He is indebted to the AFIT for being welcoming and supportive, and greatly appreciates the collegiality of its members. 


Vice – President – 2 Nominees

Justin Elardo, Portland Community College

Prior to joining Portland Community College in 2010, Justin A. Elardo has been a teacher at a wide variety of institutions of higher learning including: Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan, Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and City College of San Francisco in San Francisco, California.

Graduating from the University of Utah, while earning his doctorate in economics in 2003, Justin’s dissertation had a decidedly institutional focus addressing ideas originally developed by Karl Polanyi and debated within the subject area of economic anthropology.  Upon completing his dissertation, Justin has continued to investigate topics in the areas of economic anthropology, political economy, economic history, and the history of economic thought.  In particular, with respect to institutional thought, one of Justin’s publications addresses the evolution of institutional thought as it has developed in the sub-discipline of economic anthropology.  As a result of his research, Justin has attended and been involved in conference presentations at AFIT and URPE sessions and has also published articles in the journals Research in Economic Anthropology as well as the Review of Radical Political Economics.  AFIT, in particular, has been an essential organization in which Justin has been able to learn and share various research ideas.  Given his area of expertise in economic anthropology, Justin was invited to submit, and did provide a contribution to, the Encyclopedia of Social and Cultural Anthropology.  Additionally Justin has also published two book reviews in the Review of Radical Political Economics.  Justin’s ongoing research continues to explore topics in political economy and economic anthropology. 

Importantly, Justin is devoted to teaching pluralism in economics.  All of Justin’s classes present heterodox economic content and his teaching continues to be informed by his research.   Most recently Justin’s research and teaching merged as he has been working with other heterodox economists to organize and write heterodox economic content for Open Oregon licensed introductory microeconomics textbook.


Reynold Nesiba, Augustana University

Reynold F. Nesiba received his B.A. in economics from the University of Denver in 1989, his M.A. in 1991 and Ph.D. in 1995 in economics from the University of Notre Dame. Since 1995, Reynold has been teaching at Augustana in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where he currently serves as Professor of Economics. Dr. Nesiba is an award-winning teacher, textbook co-author, published scholar, experienced leader of study abroad courses, and a state senator. He is the recipient of both the Augustana Student Association (ASA) Faculty Recognition Award and the Vernon and Mildred Niebuhr Faculty Excellence Award for his teaching. His two co-authored textbooks, An Introduction to Financial Markets and Institutions, and Economics: An Introduction to Traditional and Progressive Views, are available from Routledge. Reynold’s individual and collaborative academic research has been published in a variety of journals including Social Problems, the Journal of Economic Issues, European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, the Journal of Urban Affairs, On the Horizon, Cityscape, the Review of Radical Political Economics and other edited volumes. His current research interest includes exploring the intellectual history and policy implications of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) as well as the payday lending industry in South Dakota and ways to appropriately regulate it. Over the last decade or so, Reynold has led or co-led three spring break travel seminars to Nicaragua, five January-term courses to Australia, and three to Thailand. In November of 2016 Reynold was elected to South Dakota’s State Senate seat in District 15. He began serving a two-year term in January of 2018. He plans to run for re-election in 2018 while (hopefully) on sabbatical for the 2018-2019 academic year.


At-large Board member – 5 Nominees

Avi Baranes, Rollins College

Avraham Baranes received his PhD from the University of Missouri – Kansas City in May of 2016. His research focuses primarily on heterodox microeconomics with a special interest on issues of financialization, innovation, and industrial organization within the context of developing good economic policy. His research is especially motivated by evolutionary and institutionalist approaches, focusing on the importance of historical context in understanding modern economics. He has published two papers on these topics, emphasizing the development of and problems associated with financialization in the pharmaceutical industry, and he is currently investigating the way in which orphan drug policies have become outdated as new innovations in pharmaceutical research are developed.

He is currently a visiting assistant professor at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, where he utilizes heterodox approaches in each of his classes. His course on Alternative Economic Perspectives in particular is designed to give students a broad understanding of the different ways in which economic problems may be solved using Institutionalist, Marxist, Post Keynesian, Austrian, Feminist, Black Political Economy, and Ecological perspectives. As an organization, AFIT is committed to the expansion of heterodox economics – specifically institutional economics – in the public eye, and therefore provides a necessary service to educators and researchers alike. Avraham will be honored to serve on the board and help continue this mission.


Richard Dadzie, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Richard B. Dadzie, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri - Kansas City in May of 2011.  Prior to his current position, he was an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Hawaii – West Oahu and served as a board member for the Hawaii Council on Economic Education. 

His research interests are in heterodox approaches to development, comparative development, and tax planning for multinational enterprises.  He has published articles, book chapters, and book reviews in journals including the Journal of Developing Societies, Eastern Economic Journal, African Affairs, Journal of Economic Issues, Review of African Political Economy, and recently in Tax Notes International, a practitioner journal for tax professionals. 

In addition to his research, he has taught a variety of courses in academia and industry and continues to provide service as a referee for various journals including the Review of Social Economy and the International Journal for Social Economics.

Richard is dedicated to heterodox thought and relies on it extensively in his current employment.  He is committed to expanding heterodox ideas and believes that these ideas are crucial to the human provisioning process.  In this regard, AFIT is an important organization to be advanced and he looks forward to the opportunity to contribute.


Barbara Hopkins, Wright State University

Barbara E. Hopkins is an associate professor of economics at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.  She teaches courses in comparative capitalism, comparative systems of the Global South, political economy, and gender and public policy at Wright State University. She is an institutional feminist economist focusing on the interplay between gender and economic systems. She has published in Feminist Economics, Feminist Studies, the Review of Political Economy, Journal of Economic Issues, and in several edited volumes. She has been a member of AFIT since 2000. She has served on the nominations committee.


Kalpana Khanal, Nichols College

Kalpana Khanal, Ph.D is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Nichols College in Dudley, MA. Her research approach follows a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods based on historical and institutional foundations. She follows an inter-disciplinary approach to research, which requires going outside economics and finance narrowly conceived, and drawing on literature emanating from sociology, history, political science, anthropology etc. Her primary research interests are in the fields of international trade and finance, emerging economies, institutional economics, and political economy.Some of her research papers have been published as book chapters and her book reviews, book chapters, abstracts and op-ed articles have been published in the Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, The Journal of Economics, The Kathmandu Post etc.

Kalpana is an active member of Association of Institutional Thought and she has been attending AFIT conferences since she was a graduate student at University of Missouri Kansas City. Her new passion, as an assistant professor at Nichols College is to encourage her undergraduate students to conduct research based on Post Keynesian and Institutional theories. Three of her students presented a paper related to student loan bubble from Minskian perspective last year, at AFIT conference held in San Francisco, CA. Her lifelong goal is to introduce heterodox economic theories and ideas to the new generation of students and encourage them to be critical thinkers.


Richard Wagner, Rockhurst University

Richard Wagner, Rockhurst University, Kansas City, MO, received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri – Kansas City in December of 2015.  He is a member of the Association for Evolutionary Economics (AFEE), Association for Institutional Economics (AFIT), and Missouri Valley Economic Association (MVEA).  His research interests include heterodox urban and ecological economics, with a particular focus on theories of regionalism and sustainable economies, institutional economics, American pragmatism, methodology and philosophy of social science, and the history of economic thought.  His dissertation draws heavily from institutional and ecological economic thought. He currently is submitting work regarding: ecological regionalism in line with the thought of Lewis Mumford; methods of ecological valuation in connection with the work of John Dewey; methods to promote economic and social democracy; and a critical examination of local economic development tools, particularly tax increment financing. Richard has presented at sessions organized by AFEE, AFIT, as well as MVEA.

Richard dedicates himself to teaching undergraduate and graduate students with a bent toward heterodox and pluralistic economics. He is, likewise, committed to the expansion of participation in the discipline of institutional, social, and ecological economics. AFIT serves a core function in the growth of institutional and social economic thought, and its continuation is essential for the sustained development of heterodox economics.


Graduate Student Representative – 1 Nominee

Jordan Shipley, UM-KC

Jordan Shipley is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Missouri – Kansas City with a co-discipline in GeoSciences. He is a research fellow at the Binzagr Institute for Sustainable Prosperity currently working on several research projects including the development of alternative indicators of unemployment and labor well-being. Previously, Jordan served as an intern with U.S. Department of Commerce in São Paulo, Brazil and Kansas City, MO, and has been actively involved in several internationally focused organizations in Kansas City. After completing undergraduate studies at UMKC in business and economics, Jordan spent the following years pursuing a career in music performance and education, including a 2013 artist residency in Lisbon, Portugal studying the folk music of Portugal. Jordan’s research interests include urban and regional development, development finance, geographies of money and finance, and geographies of employment. He is particularly interested in an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the institutional aspects of sustainable and equitable regional development. Recent work can be grouped into three focus areas. First, an interdisciplinary political economic approach based in heterodox political economy and the geographical perspective found in critical economic geography. Second, this approach is used to investigate uneven development at a regional and local scale including; access to employment; the overall role of accessibility in the provisioning process; and specifically, the impact of urban transportation systems on accessibility and the social determinants of health. Co-discipline studies in geosciences and a graduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has supported the application of GIS and other spatial analysis tools towards the problems in urban and regional development mentioned above. Third, as a research fellow with the Binzagr Institute for Sustainable Prosperity, Jordan is currently leading efforts to develop an alternative employment indicators research program and contributing to the design of collaborative research efforts between the Binzagr Institute and the Center for Economic Information at UMKC.