Philip Lane’s economic flock

Incoming Central Bank governor has schooled a host of important economists

Philip Lane: has shepherded some of the finest minds in Irish and European economics through their doctoral research theses. Photograph: Eric Luke

Philip Lane: has shepherded some of the finest minds in Irish and European economics through their doctoral research theses. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Eminent Trinity economist Philip Lane’s impending elevation to the governor’s chair at the Central Bank was warmly welcomed by the corduroy-jacket-wearing brigade: the ones with all the letters. That’s two-nil, now, over the bureaucrats, when you add Lane to Patrick Honohan.

A glance at the new guy’s curriculum vitae shows he has shepherded some of the finest minds in Irish and European economics through their doctoral research theses. Among those to have had Lane as PhD supervisor are former government advisers, European Central Bank economists, media commentators and a church pastor.

The most recent PhD candidate supervised by Lane was the chief economist of the Central Bank, Gabriel Fagan, who completed his research last year. At least the new boss will know what he’s capable of.

Constantin Gurdgiev, the Russian-born Trinity lecturer and former editor of Business & Finance, also completed his PhD under Lane’s tutelage just over a decade ago.

Gurdgiev was once omnipresent as an economic commentator on television and radio until producers appeared to grow weary of his generally downbeat (but often correct and well-argued) analyses. His time will come again, judging by the excesses creeping back into the Irish economy.

I’m not sure of the collective noun for a multitude of practitioners of the dismal science, although one prominent group of researchers reckoned it might be a “confusion” of economists.

If so, the ECB is mightily confused. At least five or six of Lane’s PhD charges have passed through the institution, including current ECB economists Peter McQuade and Martin Schmitz.

Marco Rodriguez, senior economist with the International Monetary Fund, is another of Lane’s economic children.

Colin Hunt, the former Goodbody economist and senior adviser to Brian Cowen when the Biff was minister for finance, also had Lane as his supervisor. Hunt’s conferral made the local Munster Express newspaper. Boy done good.

Kevin Daly, one of the most senior economists worldwide for Goldman Sachs, is among those working for private financial institutions. Others include Aidan Corcoran of private equity giant KKR and Barbara Pels of Swiss bank UBS. Then there’s the church pastor. Dubliner Fraser Hosford completed his PhD under Lane in 2002. He currently runs an evangelical Christian church in west Dublin. One of Hosford’s most recent sermons, posted online, was entitled Rescue Us from Ourselves.

They should play that one on a loop in the Central Bank’s headquarters.

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