Wed | Oct 4, 2023

J’can academic economist Peter Blair Henry returns to Stanford University

Published:Saturday | June 3, 2023 | 12:23 AM
Professor Peter Blair Henry.
Professor Peter Blair Henry.
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks (front right) hosts a dinner in honour of Jamaican academic Dr. Peter Blair Henry (head of the table) on his recent appointment to the faculty of Stanford University. Also seated at the table are Pre
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks (front right) hosts a dinner in honour of Jamaican academic Dr. Peter Blair Henry (head of the table) on his recent appointment to the faculty of Stanford University. Also seated at the table are President of the Inter-American Development Bank, IDB, Mr. Ilan Goldfain and Professor Donald Harris, (third left) father of US Vice President Kamala Harris.


Jamaican academic economist and policy adviser Peter Blair Henry has returned to Stanford University, where he was jointly appointed to the Hoover Institution and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), both at Stanford.

Dr Henry moved to Stanford late last year from the New York University (NYU) Stern School of Business, where he was the William R. Berkley professor of economics and finance, and dean emeritus.

The youngest person to serve as dean, he raised more funds in his tenure than any prior dean, and established the NYU Breakthrough Scholars Leadership Program.

Director of the Hoover Institution, Condoleezza Rice, in welcoming Dr Henry to Stanford, said, “The impact of his distinguished research on the global economy, together with the integrity of his leadership, particularly in generating greater access to higher education, align with Hoover’s mission to better understand and address the challenges free societies and economies face, with the goal of improving the human condition.”

Director of the Freeman Spogli Institute, former US Ambassador to Russia Professor Michael McFaul, said: “I cannot believe our good fortune that we have managed to convince Peter to come back to FSI, where he was a senior fellow before leaving for NYU. His research interest fits perfectly with the mission of our Center for Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law, and our students have no idea how lucky they will be to have Peter in the classroom.”

The celebrated Jamaican academic has published groundbreaking articles in top economics journals that evaluate the impact of economic reform on asset prices, investment, wages, and economic growth.

His current research on the global infrastructure challenge builds on the scholarship in his book Turnaround: Third World Lessons for First World Growth (Basic Books, 2013), which addresses economic efficiency as well as international relations, with the aim of increasing awareness of the interconnected fortunes of advanced and developing nations.


A vice-chair of the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Economic Club of New York, Dr. Henry received the 2021 Impactful Mentor Award from the American Economic Association for his founding and continued leadership of the PhD Excellence Initiative.

A member of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships from 2009 to 2017, he also received the Foreign Policy Association Medal in 2015, the Carnegie Foundation Great Immigrant Award in 2016, and the Council on Economic Education Visionary Award in 2018.

Dr. Henry was born in Kingston, and grew up in Highgate, St Mary, and the Pedro Plains in St Elizabeth, where he attended the Pedro Plains Primary School.

He also attended the attended Glenleigh School for Little Ladies and Gentlemen, ‘a small country school run by American missionaries but filled with Jamaican students from all walks of life, and of every shape, size and hue, which exemplified the country’s motto: ‘Out of Many, One People’, Dr Henry said.

In 1978 he and his parents, who were graduate students, along with his three siblings, emigrated to Wilmette, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago in the United States.

He attended the New Trier High School from which he got a scholarship to the University of North Carolina, where he studied economics and won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University.

He did his PhD in economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and from there went to the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Dr Henry said he is “thrilled with my appointment at Stanford because it gives me the freedom and resources to make larger contributions to the making of economic policy in Jamaica, Africa, and other aspiring regions of the world”.

“I will use my new position to engage more systematically with decision-makers, providing them with insights to increase the material well-being of the people they govern.

“I am grateful to my colleague and friend Ambassador Audrey Marks for the role she continues to play in this journey, engaging with my research, pushing me to translate my ideas into action, and connecting me with leaders who are eager for new and more effective ways of creating shared prosperity,” Dr Henry said.