Department of Economics

Inaugural Bush Visiting Fellows

The George W. Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative Visiting Fellows Program brings highly accomplished academic economists engaged in policy-relevant research to the Bush Institute and SMU. The mission of the Initiative, launched in June 2018, is to advance policy ideas that promote economic growth and opportunity in the United States and around the world. The Initiative represents the strong partnership between the Bush Institute (the policy arm of the George W. Bush Presidential Center) and the Economics faculty at SMU.

Visiting Fellows in the program are guests of the Bush Institute and the SMU Department of Economics for between two days and a week. The aim of the program is to create collaborative opportunities with our Visiting Fellows that advance the work of both the Department of Economics and the Bush Institute.

During the 2018/19 academic year, the three inaugural Visiting Fellows have been Professor Mary Lovely from Syracuse University, Professor David Weil from Brown University and Professor Kyle Bagwell from Stanford University. Their visits were an overwhelming success with stimulating interactions between the Visiting Fellows and both Bush Institute staff as well as faculty and students in the Department of Economics.

In September, Mary Lovely was the first Visiting Fellow. Cullum Clark, Director of the Initiative, moderated a plain-English conversation with her at the Bush Institute about current issues in U.S.-Chinese relations, Chinese economic policy, and U.S. trade policy. She is a leading expert on these topics, appearing frequently in the media as U.S.-Chinese relations have become such big news in recent months. Mary also gave an academic seminar in the Department of Economics department that explored how China’s regulation of foreign direct investment in China has encouraged the development of China’s hi-tech industry and contributed to its growing status as a major player in international trade.



In March, David Weil was the second Visiting Fellow. Cullum Clark again moderated a plain-English conversation with David at the Bush Institute. This discussion focused on how technological change sweeping through the U.S. economy will transform American society, politics, and economic life as well as the role of education in creating upward mobility and a thriving workforce for our economy of the future. David also gave an academic seminar in the Department of Economics. He showed that countries who developed later have larger populations today than those who developed earlier and that these different development paths are related to health and medical technology.


In April, Kyle Bagwell became the third Visiting Fellow. In his Department of Economics seminar, Kyle spoke about how a firm can successfully influence the behavior of other firms by making some kind of first move. In particular, he emphasized that the leader firm’s success relies very heavily on other firms believing that the leader firm is committed once-and-for-all to its move. Kyle also interacted with the staff at the Bush Institute and attended a lunch in his honor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.