From Washington to Athens and Madrid, concerns about the world economy dominate discussions over coffee, in classrooms, and in halls of state. Fortunately, there are people like economics professor Raymond Robertson, who provides well-grounded data and extensive expertise to illuminate those debates.

Robertson earned his PhD at the University of Texas at Austin following a year studying the effects of NAFTA as a Fulbright Scholar in Mexico City. In 1999, Robertson came to Macalester and his courses have been in high demand ever since for their strong foundation in economics coupled with concern for how economic decisions impact the lives of people in the developing world. His courses focus on international economics, econometrics, and Latin America, and he served as director of the Latin American studies program.

Robertson is also in demand as an advisor to governments and NGOs interested in sound and just economic policy:

  • Robertson is a non-resident fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C. The center is an independent, nonpartisan think tank that combines rigorous research with policy analysis to reduce global poverty. Topics include aid effectiveness, education, globalization, migration, health and trade.
  • In 2011 U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis appointed him to serve as one of 12 members of the National Advisory Committee for Labor Provisions of U.S. Free Trade Agreements. The committee’s responsibilities include advising the Secretary of Labor on the implementation of labor chapters to U.S. free trade agreements through the Bureau of International Labor Affairs.
  • Robertson also serves on the Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy, a committee of the U.S. State Department.
  • Locally, he advises the Greater Twin Cities United Way and the Department of Employment and Economic Development on evaluating job training programs.

Robertson has been published in the American Economic Review, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of International EconomicsReview of International Economics, the Journal of Development Economics. Recent publications include 

  • Globalization, Wages and the Quality of Jobs, edited by Robertson and others, a five-country study of the effects of globalization on wages and working conditions in factories, published by the World Bank (2009), and followed up by
  • Sewing Success? Employment, Wages, and Poverty following the End of the Multi-Fibre Arrangement, edited by Robertson and Gladys Lopez-Acevedo of the World Bank, that documents how workers in the global apparel industry have fared after a major change in global policy governing clothing imports and exports.
  • He has also written several recent papers focusing on Better Factories Cambodia, such as “Better Factories Cambodia – An Instrument for Improving Industrial Relations in a Transnational Context” with Arianna Rossi in Practices and Outcomes of an Emerging Global Industrial Relations Framework, Palgrave Macmillan and the International Labour Organization, 2011.

For a five-minute insight into the Better Factories Cambodia initiative, listen to a podcast Professor Robertson did in 2010.

June 11 2012

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