About the Richard B. Johnson Center

Our Mission

SMU_NetworkingThe mission of the Richard B. Johnson (RBJ) Center for Economic Studies is to conduct economic research that benefits the people of the Dallas-Fort Worth area as well as the economics profession at large. Major points of emphasis of the Center will be economic policy analysis at the international, national, and regional levels, quantitative evaluation of economic programs implemented or proposed by governments and private organizations, and the application of predictive analytics to business and government decision-making. The Center will disseminate its research through public forums, research conferences, and collaboration with local institutions including the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the Bush Institute, and local schools, universities, governments, and business corporations.

History of the Center

Richard_B_JohnsonThe Richard B. Johnson Center for Economic Studies is named in honor of the chairman of the SMU Economics Department from 1952 to 1968. Professor Johnson founded the SMU Southwestern Graduate School of Banking in 1958 and established the economics Ph.D. program, the first Ph.D. program at SMU in 1959. The Ph.D. program was designed on the basis of the "Johnson Document" of 1957-58, which laid out the foundational principles guiding the Ph.D. requirements of the degree. In honor of Dr. Johnson's many contributions to SMU, the Richard B. Johnson Center for Economic Studies was christened in January of 1990. Its ongoing mission is to develop a research community with companies and individuals who are intrinsically interested in economic issues and how economic research can offer content and context for efficient economic decision-making. The research activity conducted by the center is guided by the three principles embodied in our mission: to acquire, build, and disseminate economic knowledge to the world.

The acquisition of economic knowledge is fostered at the center through open-access seminar series, training workshops such as the Texas Econometrics and Economic Theory Camps, and participation in university-wide research days, where recent faculty and student research is showcased.

The construction of economic knowledge by the center is conducted in cooperation with partners in our research community, based on the specializations necessitated by the particular research project being undertaken. Recent projects include the development of new leading indicators for the Federal Reserve using advanced text-analytic techniques applied to their Beige Book corpus, partnering with IBM's SMART program to conduct data-intensive predictive analytics for Andrews DistributingStockPhoto_Solution, and a partnership with The Hunger Center of North Texas to analyze how the lack of social networks and social isolation contribute to the problem of hunger in North Texas and especially among children.

The dissemination of economic knowledge is undertaken in various public forums, events and conferences held by the center throughout the year. The most prestigious of these events is the international Advances in Econometrics conference, held each fall in conjunction and cooperation with Louisiana State University, the University of California at Irvine, Indiana University, Aarhus University, Denmark, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

The current vision of the research center's program director, Dr. Thomas B. Fomby, is centered on three research initiatives: regional economic development, business intelligence and managerial innovation, and economics applied to policy research. If you believe that you or your company might be interested in exploring these initiatives with us, or if you have a research application in need of exploration, we invite you to plug in to the Richard B. Johnson Center for Economic Studies, and take part in our research workshops and events, or become a friend of the center and enjoy exclusive benefits and access to the consultancy expertise conducted by researchers at the center, as well as those in our research community.