The Economics Department is proud to announce Sefan Dercon as the Spring 2024 David Kinley Lecturer. Dr. Dercon will present "Gambling on Development: Why Some Countries Win and Others Lose". The lecture will take place on Wednesday, April 3rd from 4:00-5:30 pm in 120 Architecture Building, with a reception to follow.

Photo of Professor Stefan Dercon

Stefan Dercon is a Professor of Economic Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and the Economics Department, and a Professor at the University of Oxford. He is also the Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies. His research interests concern what keeps some people and countries poor: the failures of markets, governments and politics, mainly in Africa, and how to achieve change.

Join Stefan Dercon as he pulls from his latest book, Gambling on Development: Why some countries win and others lose. Drawing on his academic research as well as his policy experience across three decades and 40-odd countries, he will explore why some countries have managed to settle on elite bargains favoring growth and development, and others did not. The lecture will be followed by a reception with light refreshments.

About David Kinley

Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign owes its beginnings and early development to David Kinley, a man clearly on the fast-track. Born in Dundee, Scotland, August 2, 1861, Kinley came to the United States at the age of 11. He attended high school in Massachusetts and earned a B.A. degree from Yale in 1884. After having served as a principal of a high school in Massachusetts, Kinley went to Johns Hopkins in 1890, where he studied with Richard T. Ely and Woodrow Wilson. Kinley accompanied Ely to the University of Wisconsin in 1892 and received the first Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin in 1893. Degrees in hand, Kinley traveled south to Champaign-Urbana, where he was appointed Assistant Professor of Economics. One year later, he was promoted to Professor of Economics, and as the ranking instructor, founded the Department of Economics in 1895. Kinley held the position of Professor of Economics and Dean of the College of Literature and Arts until 1906. In addition to his duties as Dean and Professor of Economics, Kinley taught eight undergraduate courses in 1894-95. In the next year, he taught eight undergraduate classes again, plus one graduate class, and in the following year he added a ninth undergraduate course.

The School of Commerce was founded in 1902 with Kinley as its Director. Kinley sought to include both political science and industrial economics in the new School, but this was opposed by the University Senate. A compromise was reached leaving political science in the College of Literature and Arts, and moving industrial economics to the new School of Commerce.

In 1906, Kinley was appointed Dean of the Graduate School. He remained the Director of courses in the School of Commerce (or Commerce School as it was called on Campus), but he gave up the Deanship of the College of Literature and Arts. Kinley was Dean of the Graduate School for eight years, thereafter becoming Vice President of the University in 1914. He was Acting President of the University 1919-1920, and President from 1920 until 1930.

At the strong urging of Kinley, the University Senate approved the formation of the College of Commerce and Business Administration in June, 1914, and the Board of Trustees followed with their approval on April 27, 1915. The College was housed in the new Commerce building, dedicated in 1913, and built at a cost of about $100,000. This building is now the East half of the Administration Building. The Commerce Building was constructed mainly in 1912, and occupied in the Spring of 1913.

David Kinley was the 15th President of the American Economics Association. His main interests in economics were money and banking and government regulation of business. His Presidential Address to the American Economics Association in 1913 was titled "Renewed Extension of Government Control of Economic Life. " Among his books were The Independent Treasury of the United States (1893), Money (1904), and Government Control of Economic Life and Other Addresses (1936).

Kinley was active in state and local affairs, served on many boards and commissions, and traveled widely. He held honorary degrees from Illinois College (1908), the University of Wisconsin (1918), the University of Nebraska (1921), and Yale (1924). He died in 1944 at Urbana-Champaign at the age of eighty-three. David Kinley Hall on the Campus of the University of Illinois bears his name.

The text is from an article that appeared in the Special Issue of the Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, "Illinois Centennial Essays on Economics", edited by Werner Baer and H.F. Williamson, Jr. , Volume 36, 1996.

By Jane H. Leuthold


Past David Kinley Lectures in Economics

David Kinley is the most distinguished and important economist in our Department's history. He founded the Department, served as its first Head, and in 1913 was its second member to be elected President of the American Economics Association. He went on to serve as President of the University of Illinois from 1920-1930 with great success.

To honor David Kinley, his family has generously endowed this public lecture series. Past speakers are listed below. In recent years, speakers have given a second Departmental Lecture that focuses on a more narrow aspect of their current research.



Date Name Association Lecture


April 10th, 2024

Matthew Gentzkow Stanford "Social Media and Polarization"
November 29th, 2022 Deirdre McCloskey University of Illinois at Chicago "How Liberalism Enriched the World, 1648-Present"
March 30, 2002 John List University of Chicago "The Voltage Effect"


Friday, February 10, 2017


Guido Imbens Stanford

"Clustering As a Design Problem"

(Departmental Lecture)

February 9th, 2017 Guido Imbens Stanford

"Casuality in Statistics and Econometrics"

(Public Lecture)

March 5th, 2014


Chris Sims Princeton "Fed policy and the economy: What's happened, and what's to come"

March 7th,  2013


Peter Diamond MIT "Cyclical Unemployment, Structural Unemployment"
October 25th, 2012 Austan Goolsbee University of Chicago

"America's Economy and the World: Why the Long Face?"

(Public Lecture)

March 14th, 2012 John Cambell Harvard

Mortgage Market Design

(Public Lecture)

October 11, 2007 Angus Deaton Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School and Department of Economics, Princeton University "Health and Wellbeing around the World: Evidence from the Gallup World Poll" and "Child Mortality, Income, and Adult Height"
September 26, 2006 K. Daron Acemoglu Charles P. Kindleberger Professor of Applied Economics, MIT "Rethinking the Wealth of Nations" and "Learning and Disagreement in an Uncertain World"
September 9th, 2005 Orley Ashenfelter Princeton University "Evolution of the Global Labor Market: Continuity vs Change" and "The Value of a Statistical Life: Problems and Pitfalls"
May 2nd, 2005 John Geanakoplos Director, Cowles Foundation, Yale University "How the Modern Financial System Works: Mortgages, Hedge Funds, and Market Crashes" and "Leverage, Liquidity, and Crashes"
April 15, 2005 Jean Tirole Scientific Director, Institut d'Economie Industrielle, and visiting Professor at MIT "Platform Industries: How Software, Videogames, Credit Cards, Media, and Auctions Differ from Other Markets, and What It Means for the Future of the Economy" and "Incentive and Prosocial Behavior"
Pictures from the event are available here
April 8th, 2004 Paul M. Romer STANCO 25 Professor Economics; Ralph Ladau Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research; Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution "Tragedies of the Environmental and Intellectual Commons" and "What Should We Teach Students about Macroeconomics"
April 11th, 2004 Elhanan Helpman Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade at Harvard University "Growth and Interdependence" and "Exports vs. FDI"
March 14th, 2003 Edward C. Prescott Regents' Professor, University of Minnesota and Senior Advisor to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis "Why Do Americans Work So Much and Europeans So Little" and "What Equity Premium?"
March 7th, 2002 Thomas J. Sargent Stanford University, Hoover Institution "Flawed but Enduring: The Monetary System from 1200-1800: A Tale of Small Fixed Cost" and "Robustness in Macroeconomics"
October 26th, 2001 Jeffrey G. Williamson Harvard University "Globalization, Wolrd Inequality, and Political Backlash"
February 12th, 2001 James Poterba MIT "Annuity Markets and Retirement Security"
Novmember 29th, 2000 Alberto Alesina Havard University "The Redistribution of Income: Why, and How Much?"
March 21, 2000 Robert H. Porter Northwestern University "The Market for Used Cars: Lemons or Sweet Deals? An Empirical Investigation"




Date Name Association  
Spring 1999 Charles R. Plott California Institute of Technology  
Fall 1998 David Kreps Paul E. Holden Professor of Economics, Stanford University  
Spring 1998 James J. Heckman Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago  
Fall 1997 Robert Barro Robert C. Waggoner Professor of Economics, Harvard University  
Spring 1997 Robert Barro Robert C. Waggoner Professor of Economics, Harvard University  
Spring 1996 Mancur Olson University of Maryland  
Spring 1995 Hal Varian Ruben Kempf Professor of Economics, University of Michigan  
Fall 1994 Graciela Chichilnisky Columbia University  
Spring 1994 Jagdish N. Bhagwati Arthur Lehman Professor of Political Science, Columbia University  
Spring 1993 Robert Townsend The Charles E. Merriam Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the College, University of Chicago  
Spring 1992 Roy Radner AT&T Bell Labs  
Fall 1991 William Baumol Princeton University  
Spring 1991 John Whalley University of Western Ontario  
Fall 1990 Robert Aumann Hebrew University, Jerusalem  
Spring 1990 Paul A. David Stanford University  


Date Name Association
Fall 1989 Leonid Hurwicz University of Minnesota
Spring 1989 Lawrence Summers Harvard University
November 9, 1988 Harold Demsetz Arthur W. Anderson & Co. , UCLA Alumni Distinguished Professor of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles
October 6, 1988 Amartya Sen Harvard University
October 14, 1987 Lester Thurow MIT
Spring 1987 Roger Noll Stanford University
Fall 1986 Alan Blinder Princeton University
Spring 1986 Hans Brems University of Illinois
Spring 1985 Franco Modigliani MIT
Fall 1984 Martin Shubik Yale University
Spring 1984 Joseph Stiglitz Stanford University
Spring 1983 Gary S. Becker University of Chicago
Spring 1982 Alfred Kahn Cornell University
Spring 1981 James M. Buchanan Center for study of Public Choice, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Spring 1980 Martin S. Feldstein Professor, Harvard


Date Name Association
Spring 1979 Joan Robinson Cambridge University
Fall 1978 Franklin M. Fisher MIT
Spring 1977 Robert W. Fogel Harvard University
Spring 1977 Jacques Dréze Universite Catholique de Louvain
Fall 1975 M. A. Adelman MIT
Spring 1975 Arthur M. Okun Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, Former Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers
Spring 1975 Charles P. Kindleberger Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Spring 1974 Nicholas Kaldor Cambridge University