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David K. Backus Memorial Lecture

The David K. Backus Memorial Lecture is held annually by the NYU Stern Center for Global Economy and Business. The Lecture series has been established by his family, friends, colleagues, and students, and by Stern alumni, in memory of his contributions to the study and teaching of economics.

Backus_small DAVID BACKUS, a renowned economist, was the Heinz Riehl Professor of Economics at NYU Stern School of Business, and an intellectual leader, educational innovator and mentor to countless students and colleagues in his more than 25 years at Stern. His interests included international capital flows, business cycles and capital markets, fixed income and currency derivatives, and Asian and Latin American economic history. He pioneered a new approach to international macroeconomics, infusing it with tools from finance. His work on asset markets, with a wide variety of authors, helped lay the foundation for the thriving new research area at the intersection of macroeconomics and finance.

Dave was a gifted teacher. He was much loved by his colleagues and by generations of Stern students for his strength of character, his generosity and kindness, and his sharp wit. Driven by his own deep intellectual curiosity, he developed and spearheaded many visionary courses. Stern faculty continue to teach several innovative courses—ranging from The Global Economy to Data Bootcamp—that Dave created, and for which he wrote the textbooks still in use and freely shared with the world.

Dave was also a skilled leader who valued and strengthened the culture of academic institutions. He shed hierarchy and formality in favor of inclusiveness and camaraderie. He was never happier than when he could bring people together socially to share a beer and talk about research and ideas. He was outgoing, engaging, and infectiously happy.

The David K. Backus Lecture carries forward Dave’s passion for bringing colleagues, students and alumni together to share and discuss important work and topics in economics.

In addition to his intellectual leadership at the Stern School, Dave served as the Vice Dean for Faculty and as Chair of the Economics Department and of the Accounting Department. Prior to joining Stern, Dave taught at Queen's University and the University of British Columbia, and served at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. He was an editor of the Review of Economic Dynamics, a member of the Board of Editors of the Journal of Economic Literature, and an NBER research associate.