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Candidate Biographies

Alexandra Bernasek

Alexandra Bernasek is a feminist economist in the Department of Economics at Colorado State

University. She is a full professor who has published on a variety of issues, most of which are related to gender inequality. Her research includes work on gender and self-employment, access to credit, financial decision-making, risk-taking, student loan debt, WASH and girls schooling and women’s empowerment in the Global South. Her approach to economics is intersectional paying attention to issues of class, gender and race/ethnicity. She has served a number of terms on the AFEE Board and the EEA Board. She has published in the JEI including a recent article on student loan debt and outcomes for college students who graduated in the Great Recession. Her exposure to institutional economics in particular was critical to both her research and teaching. She teaches courses on gender in the economy, economic development, the history of economic thought and senior seminars on topics such as student loan debt, the economic impacts of COVID-19, and inequality. She has been the major advisor for many PhD students over the last 29 years, most of whom obtained jobs in academia as heterodox economists. Recently she has become interested in behavioral economics and how it intersects with feminist and institutional economics, in particular as that relates to capitalism, the pandemic and people’s health status.


Wilfred Dolfsma

Trained as an economist and philosopher, Wilfred Dolfsma (1970) holds a PhD from Erasmus University (NL) in the former. Wilfred is full professor and chairholder in Business Management & Organisation at Wageningen University (NL), a university best known for its contributions around agrifood and sustainability with a keen view of making an impact on society. His research focuses on how firms, and individuals inside firms, collaborate to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship. Wilfred research is quantitative, qualitative as well as conceptual, drawing most prominently on institutional economics theory, (gift) exchange theory, and social network analysis. Previously Wilfred was, a.o., Associate Dean (Teaching) at Loughborough University (UK), known for contributions around sports. Wilfred was the 2019 Ayres scholar (AFEE), in 2013 won the Mai award (ASE), won the Myrdal best monograph award (EAEPE) in 2006, and in 2002 the Potter best article award (Review of Social Economy). Having actively attended many AFEE meetings since 1996, Wilfred has published a substantial number of academic articles, manuscripts, edited volumes and special issues (see www.wilfreddolfsma.net), including several in the Journal of Economic Issues.


Rojhat Avsar

Rojhat received his Ph.D. from the University of Utah in 2010 and currently serves as Associate Professor of Economics at Columbia College, Chicago. He has published in various heterodox journals, including the JEI. He approached current policy debates from old institutionalist and evolutionary perspectives in his scholarship. For Rojhat, John R. Commons and T. Veblen are major inspiring intellectual figures.  He is the author of two books, The Evolutionary Origins of Markets: How Evolution, Psychology and Biology Have Shaped the Economy (Routledge, 2020), and Virtues, Morals and Markets: Why Moral Identity Matters (Routledge, 2024). Behind his primary intellectual motivation in pursuing these projects lies his desire to integrate various evidence and research programs scattered across multiple fields to build a coherent and original narrative for how human instincts (not calculation) are strong drivers of economic behavior.

At Columbia College Chicago, Rojhat was hired to develop the economics curriculum from the ground up at the multidisciplinary Department of Humanities, History, and Social Sciences. He developed/taught courses such as Ethics and Economics and Politics of Money informed by the institutionalist and evolutionary literature.  Rojhat has regularly presented his work at AFEE at ASSA conferences, served as a reviewer for the JEI; and recently taught at the AFEE’s 2023 Summer Workshop in D.C. He served as the President of AFIT in 2018 and was the Executive Director of ASE between 2017 and 2019. He is eager to rejoin the AFEE board and help the association expand its outreach to younger scholars.


Yan Liang

Yan Liang is Peter C and Bonnie S Kremer Chair Professor of Economics at Willamette University. She is also a Research Associate at the Levy Economics Institute and a Research Scholar of the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity. Yan specializes in Modern Monetary Theory, Economic Development, International Economics and the Political Economy of China. Yan publishes in various heterodox journals, including the Journal of Economic Issues, International Review of Political Economy, and Forum for Social Economics; as well as China-focused journals such as China and World Economy, the Chinese Economy and others. She also contributes to a number of heterodox books. Yan received several grants from the Institute for New Economic Thinking, the Luce Foundation, and the Chinese Ministry of Education for teaching and research. Yan is a regular media commentator, providing expert commentaries to the China Global TV Network, Bloomberg, Yahoo!Finance, the Diplomat Magazine, the East Asia Form, among others. Yan served as President of the Association for Institutional Thought (2022-3) and served at various capacities at the Association for Evolutionary Economics. Yan is currently a guest editor for the Chinese Economy. Yan holds a BA in Economics from Zhongshan University (China) and a PhD in Economics (with Distinction) from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.


Eric Scorsone

Dr. Eric Scorsone is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics and Director for the Extension Center for Local Government Finance and Policy and the Extension Institute of Public Utilities at Michigan State University. He is an expert in state and local government finance, public administration and regional economics.  He joined MSU in June of 2005.  Eric’s focus is to continue the tradition of institutional and evolutionary economics at Michigan State University as started by Warren Samuels, Alan Schmid and Harry Trebing. He has taught undergraduate and graduate classes in municipal finance and institutional economics.  Eric is the co-host of the institutional economics podcast “The Legal Economic Nexus” and blogs at the Legal Economic Nexus blogger site.  He is co-author, along with Sarah Klammer of the recently published book, “The Legal Foundations of Micro-Institutional Performance: A Heterodox Law and Economics Approach”.  Previously, he has served on leave as Senior Deputy State Treasurer for the Michigan Department of Treasury and Senior Economist for the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency. Prior to coming to MSU in 2005, he served as Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky, Economist in the Colorado Office of State Planning and Budget and a Senior Financial Analyst for the city of Aurora, CO.  He holds degrees from Loyola University Chicago, Michigan State University and Colorado State University. Eric hopes to serve the AFEE community through the board and help strengthen the associations efforts to recruit young scholars and students to the field of institutional and evolutionary economists and broaden AFEE’s linkages with other heterodox associations and groups beyond economics.


Karol Gil Vásquez

Karol Gil-Vásquez holds a PhD. in Economics from the University of Missouri Kansas City and an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Central Missouri. She is currently an Associate Professor of Economics at Nichols College and a lecturer at Boston University- Department of Administrative Studies. Karol considers herself a post-colonial thinker, heterodox economist, and an anthropologist at heart. Throughout her career, she has been dedicated to reaching out to various regions to share her work and remain updated with the changing world. Over the years, she has enhanced research collaboration with Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and the Autonomous University of Guerrero (UAG). In 2022, she was invited by the Department of Economics of the University of Padang in Indonesia as a guest scholar. A passionate of field work, during her graduate studies, Karol collaborated with UMKC Institute for Human Development in designing the Hispanic Needs Assessment, which represented the preliminary efforts to study the living conditions of undocumented immigrants. In 2020, working along UAG colleagues, the National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACYT) offered a grant to study the economic institutions of rural indigenous communities of Guerrero, Mexico.

Karol is the author of peer-reviewed journals’ articles, book chapters, and open-editorials in newspapers professional magazines, and academic journals.  The manuscript titled “The Youth Surplus” is under contract with Rowman and Littlefield publishers.  She has been the Associate Editor for Frontiers in Sociology and the Forum for Social Economics. In 2019, her co-authored publication titled “Bolivia’s Institutional Transformation: Contact Zones, Social Movements, and the Emergence of an Ethnic Class Consciousness” is granted the Editor’s Prize by the Journal of Economic Issues. Karol is a member of the Association for Institutional Thought, Association for Evolutionary Economics, the European Association for Political Economy, and the Latin American Scholars Association. In 2023, she has served as the President of the Association for Institutional Thought and faculty advisor for the Boston University’s Humphrey Fellowship Program.