Economist Ashok Rai to Lecture on the Globalization of Coffee

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, executive assistant; tele: 413-597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., February 14, 2020—Ashok Rai, associate professor of economics at Williams College, will present a lecture titled “From Muslim to Christian: How Coffee Went Global.” The second of six talks in the college’s Faculty Lecture Series this semester, the lecture will take place on Thursday, Feb. 20, from 4:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Wege Auditorium. A reception will follow in Schow Atrium. The event is free and open to the public.

Rai’s current research examines the globalization of coffee, drawing on history, literature, ecology, and on fieldwork in Central America and East Africa. In his teaching and scholarly writing, he uses game theory, a cross-disciplinary mathematical tool, to analyze how people interact—in the past and in the present, in cartoons and in business.

Rai is a member of the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity working group on Inequality at the University of Chicago and an affiliate of ThRED (Theoretical Research in Development Economics). Courses at Williams he teaches include Price and Allocation Theory, Games and Information, and Incentives and Development Policy. His research has been published in journals such as World Development, the Journal of Development Economics, and the Review of Economic Studies.

He has a B.A. from Stanford University and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and has taught at Harvard University, Yale University, and the University of Göttingen.

The Faculty Lecture Series was founded in 1911 by Catherine Mariotti Pratt, the spouse of a faculty member who wanted to “relieve the tedium of long New England winters with an opportunity to hear Williams professors talk about issues that really mattered to them.” From these humble and lighthearted beginnings, the Faculty Lecture Series has grown to become an important forum for tenured professors to share their latest research with the larger intellectual community of the college.

The Faculty Lecture Series is organized by the faculty members of the Lecture Committee.

The series will continue on Feb. 27 with Ileana Perez Velazquez, professor of music, who will discuss “Creating Music as an Out of the Box Composer.”

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Published February 14, 2020