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Catawba’s Hake receives the Saleeby professorship


Professor Eric R. Hake

Catawba College

SALISBURY — Catawba College Provost Constance Rogers-Lowery has named Professor Eric R. Hake as recipient of the Saleeby Professorship for Business.

Hake teaches economics and has been on the Catawba faculty since 2010. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a doctorate in economics, both from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Since he joined Catawba, Hake has served as secretary-treasurer of the Association for Evolutionary Economics, a nonprofit professional academic association dedicated to the promotion of original institutionalist economics research.

Hake’s research has been published in the Journal of Economic Issues, Forum for Social Economics and The Review of Political Economy and as part of book projects by Edward Elgar, Ashgate and Routledge.

“I am honored to receive this professorship,” Hake said. “As someone dedicated to the promotion of critical social inquiry in the field of economics, it is an honor to be recognized by the college for that service.”

Trained as an institutional economist, Hake’s work in the field of economics has an interdisciplinary focus that considers the economy an integrated component of society. Rather than treating the economy as a system organized around universal laws like Newtonian physics, institutional economics applies a Darwinian perspective to the economic and social system — viewing it as a constantly evolving and changing set of relationships.

As a result, Hake’s research has addressed the social, political and moral dimensions of the economy much more than is frequently presented in economic analysis.

“Pretending the economic system is somehow distinct from the rest of society is one of the great failures of modern analysis,” Hake said. “It keeps us from being able to understand what is actually going on and what we might do to improve our condition.”

One of the subjects Hake is most passionate about is the study of business structures and their evolution.

“The study of the firm, and the circumstances that lead to exponential growth, is actually a blind spot in modern economic theory — it is frequently treated as a black box,” Hake said. “But when we can focus on the firm as one decision-making unit in an evolving industrial environment, we can connect critical thinking skills and industry specific knowledge to explore the practical business dilemmas that require and inform firm decisions.

“One of the great benefits of working in an environment like Catawba College has been the opportunity to connect my research on subjects like the food industry or the financial system with my colleagues and students in team-taught courses, honor’s theses and capstone courses for our majors.”

“I am thankful to work at an institution that blends liberal studies and critical inquiry with professional applications. The world is a messy and inter-connected system,” Hake continued. “Colleges like Catawba give students the environment to explore and recognize these connections. Helping students develop critical analytical skills and apply them to real world issues is very satisfying. Watching them succeed after college just makes it that much better.”

Hake thanked “the philanthropy of the Saleeby family and the administration of the college” for his recognition.

“I am grateful for the opportunity this recognition provides to continue blending my own passions with the educational programs we deliver at Catawba College,” he said.



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