Eric J. Hanson Lecture Series

The Eric J. Hanson Lecture Series was established by friends and colleagues of Eric J. Hanson to commemorate his contributions to economics and to public policy in Alberta. Eric Hanson joined the Department of Economics at the University of Alberta in 1946, and he was Professor and Head from 1957-64. His work spanned all aspects of public finance, including education finance, health care finance, federal-provincial relations, and energy economics and the oil industry. The Hanson lecture features a distinguished economist addressing an important public policy question.

Short Biography of Eric Hanson

Eric J. Hanson was born in Sweden in 1912 . He emigrated from Sweden with his parents to an Alberta farm in 1925. In 1931 he earned a teaching certificate in the Province of Alberta and had a career as a school teacher and principal before and after attending Queen's University, where he graduated with a BA in 1942. He completed an MA in Economics at the University of Alberta in 1946 and a PhD in Economics at Clark University, Massachusetts in 1952.

Dr. Hanson joined the Department of Political Economy at the University of Alberta as a lecturer in 1946 and was promoted to the rank of professor in 1957. He served as Department Administrator from 1952-1957 and was Head of the Department from 1957-1964, a period that saw rapid student and staff growth immediately prior to the administrative separation of the Calgary campus from the University of Alberta. He was the last Head of Political Economy before it was divided into two entities: Economics; and Political Science. Dr. Hanson went on to serve as Associate Dean of Graduate Studies for the years 1964-1967, then returned to full-time teaching until his retirement in 1974. In October 1982 he published A History of the Department of Economics which was the department project in celebration of the University of Alberta's first 75 years.

In 1962 Dr. Hanson was named the NATO Visiting Professor for Canada. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1965, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Health (London) in 1972.

Dr. Hanson's fields of research included the economics of government finance and the economics of petroleum. Perhaps the best known of his many writings is the book Dynamic Decade (1958) on the remarkable growth of the oil industry in Alberta. Dr. Hanson's work always contained an optimistic and bold view of the future, a future in which brain replaces brawn and good education and intelligent planning become ever more important. He worked at many levels to help Alberta, Edmonton and the University of Alberta to prepare for such a future in his research into the financing of education in Alberta, in his work as an advisor to the cities of Edmonton and Calgary, and as an important force behind the development of the University libraries. Eric Hanson was an important figure in the development of the social science disciplines in Alberta universities and was influential in public policy formulation in the province.

Eric J. Hanson died in Edmonton on Dec. 31, 1985. The Eric Hanson lecture series recognizes the many contributions of Dr. Hanson. Lectures are sponsored by the Institute for Public Economics which is based in the Department of Economics.