University of Chicago Associate Professor Hoyt Bleakley is excited to come to Michigan. He describes himself as a “long-time fan” of Michigan’s Department of Economics, and beginning this fall he will be part of the faculty as an Associate Professor of Economics.

Currently a professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and a Visiting Professor at Princeton for the 2013-2014 academic year, Bleakley looks forward to joining a department with a robust culture in economic history, his main field of study. He is interested in understanding the process of long-term economic development and when patterns of development persist or change. His current research considers the role of poverty traps. Specifically, he is studying an episode in America’s history where the state of Georgia opened up almost three quarters of its land to white settlement through a system of lotteries. His research looks at whether the randomly assigned wealth unlocked new opportunities for the winners (versus the losers) of that lottery, as well as for their children and grandchildren.

The rest of Bleakley’s research covers a wide range of topics.  Newer projects range in focus from patterns of civil conflict in 1940s Colombia to how cities adjust when their initial reasons for being become obsolete.  His long-standing research agenda also examines impediments to human-capital development; his other projects explore the impact of public-health campaigns on helping children in school and the impact of the critical period of language acquisition on the economic progress of childhood immigrants.

This year Bleakley will be teaching economic history and development to graduate students and developing a course on Latin America for undergraduates. He is enthusiastic about working with the students, but above all he is excited to work here because, “Michigan is a great place to be an economist.”