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Arthur J Wilson Faculty Member

Positions

Short Biography I earned a PhD in Economics from University of Chicago. In graduate school, my initial interest was urban economics. I was struck by how during the 1970s, my home town, Chicago had morphed from being primarily a manufacturing center to being a preeminent financial center. Clearly, that did not happen in other major Midwestern manufacturing centers. In time, I came to understand that urban economics had little to say about that transition. I then explored industrial organization with Sam Peltzman, on the theory that the transition was driven by the nature of the industries in question. Meanwhile, I did part-time work teaching at Depaul University, and then in the economics department at First Chicago, the money-center bank holding company. In time, my studies coalesced on studying the financial services industry of Chicago - particularly the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Board Options exchange. My dissertation studied options trading volume on the CBOE. In 1989 I took a position at the University of Connecticut School of Business. Less than two years later, my wife was admitted to the medical school at Case Western Reserve University. The next year (1992), I made a lateral move to the business school at Case Western Reserve University. In 1995 (as my wife was finishing medical school) , I accepted a position in the Finance department at George Washington University. Shortly thereafter, my wife rejoined me, taking a residency in Baltimore. Since coming to GWU, I have mainly taught Introduction to Finance and Intermediate Finance, but also my Fingame course, and Financial History. I understand that few of my colleagues wanted to teach either core course, so like a good soldier, I taught Intermediate Finance, for close to 20 years now. In this context, intermediate finance is the counterpart to investments. It is mainly corporate finance. Within a few years, I noticed a few observations: 1) Most finance students would rather be doing investments than corporate, and 2) some of them took short-cuts with the papers I had them write. This gave rise to two kinds of initiatives. For the first observation, I tried to enliven intermediate finance to make it more interesting to our students. I tried adding more historical material so that students could put the corporate finance in context. I also experimented with a simulation package, Fingame. I even tried to inject environmental and behavioral issues to connect with students. The Historical material eventually gave rise to a whole new course - Financial History. The Fingame experience became its own course as well - exploring Finance with Simulation. I hope to structure the environmental issues in a new course on Sustainable Finance as well, to be team taught with John Forrer. For the second observation, the short-cuts were more troubling. For a time, plagiarism was running rampant. I began to explore services such as Turnitin.com. Evidently the University was aware of this problem as well, since the writing program was revamped roughly a decade ago. My interest in this gave rise to several working papers looking into whether the writing program or the new plagiarism software (SafeAssign), or both, were working. I hope to get back to these eventually. In more recent years, I have developed the Financial History course, and corresponding research interest. As time permits, I will also get back to the Sustainable Finance course idea that I hope to team-teach with John Forrer. Going forward, my research interests are Financial History, followed by Financial Simulations, Financial Derivatives/Behavioral Finance, Academic Integrity, and Sustainable Finance. Also, i note that the Lyterati form indicates "no languages selected". I am unable to edit that. Of course my native language is English. I have a limited reading knowledge of French and a little German, and am currently working on reading Latin and Dutch.

Research Areas

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