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Thanks for that Frances. I have both of those books and have found them very insightful and helpful in prepping my course on the economics of women. Didn't realize she had a Canadian connection.

Very sad news indeed. Marianne Ferber was my mother's dear friend and fellow profilee in Engendering Economics. With her fluent Czech she was able to contact my husband and reassure my parents when I was hospitalized in Prague soon after my marriage there.

With the possibility of one or more countries going off the euro I had just been wondering whether her Ph.D. thesis might be available online. It covers the successful transition of Czechoslovakia from a province of the Austro-Hungarian empire to an independent country, steered by the first Minister of Finance, Alois Rasin, and includes a description of the Process of separating the two currencies. I don't doubt it contains much information that would be of special interest today.

Sarah - thanks for writing and sharing those memories.

I looked up her thesis on Proquest, it's called "THE FINANCIAL POLICY OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA AFTER THE FIRST WORLD WAR". It's hard to imagine that this, for her, would have been like the 1980s for today's PhD students - something that happened just around the time that they were born.

My guess is that if it was available on-line, it would be in Proquest or on google scholar, but I couldn't see it.

Jim - she was passionately proud of that Canadian connection! She gave a great talk at the CWEN lunch the year that the CEA meetings were in Hamilton (I think I've got that year right).

One thing I didn't mention that I should have was her passion for swimming - at every conference she would always find some pool so she could have her daily swim!

What an enjoyable read. A story about a great person and an unbelievably changed world; sounds like she spent the first half of her life working hard to get into places where no one wanted her. Thanks for this.


we actually have even the more recent example of the 1993 Velvet Divorce of Czech and Slovakia, separating not only two currencies.

A lot more to learn from our eastern european neighbors.

Ingrid Robeyns shares some memories on Crooked Timber: http://crookedtimber.org/2013/05/17/marianne-ferber-died/.

When I was in grad school (early 1970s), I read everything by Ferber & Blau (together and separately) that I could find. What they were doing influenced my teaching and some parts of my early research agenda. I am sorry to hear that Marianne Ferber has died (and I had no idea she had done so much starting in her 40s; I always assumed she was maybe 5-10 years ahead of me, not 25...).

Don Coffin


I pondered some of the questions of nepotism rules, and favourism, coming up here, and how those can cut the wrong way, and how to find better answers and rules.

I think, this question is a very worthful topic in economics and this blog, to be discussed more. Can I spark your interest?

Just some background, maybe sparking some ideas:

I am just watching 1492, when Columbus gave jobs to his brothers, because he could trust them.

I am looking at Afghanistan, where the Americans placed trust in the Karzai clan,

the only case in the history of NATO, when article 5 (an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us) was invoked.

And where we see now, with significant bitterness, fundamental disloyalty and possible betrayal.

We have in Germany some discussion, how far politicians can employ what relatives.

the need for trust as a key criteria in certain jobs vs nepotism

When I was as an expat in the US, the wifes (typically with similarly high education / abilities) got either pregnant, had maybe citizenship, or were after a year or so massively pushing for return to the fatherland, pretty understandably.

The company later organized job opportunities, wiggling some rules, with at least some of the intelligence and power of the wives employed, but it was somewhat arkward.

I was sad to hear about Marianne Ferber's passing recently. I only met her in the early 1990s, shortly before she retired in about 1991. As luck would have it she turned 68 during the last year such a mandatory retirement age could be enforced by universities! This did not stop her -- daily research at the office after an early morning swim were part of her firm schedule. She continued to mentor younger colleagues and travel widely. When she moved to a retirement home she told me that this was done for convenience. "It is closer to the airport than my old house." I invited Marianne to my history class almost every year to talk about her own life as a refugee and immigrant in the 1930s and 40s. Students were fascinated by this lively colleague with her unstoppable energy. I will miss her wisdom, straightforwardness and the ability to ask the important questions right off the bat.

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