Ed Whitelaw

Ed Whitelaw

Professor Emeritus of Economics


ACADEMIC AREAS: Applied Microeconomics (Labor, Urban, Environmental & Natural Resources, Market Structure) and Policy Analysis

Teaching Philosophy

With rigor, clarity, and brevity, and using only economic principles, we—the students, teaching assistant Hannah Solheim, and I—will create a city, grok a market, and contrast short-run and long-run change. Then we’ll describe economic conditions in the Pacific Northwest, evaluate them, and prescribe ways to change the conditions from actual to optimal. Instead of a term paper or midterms and an in-class final, we’ll have weekly in-class and take-home quizzes. In students’ answers, I’ll be much less interested in equations and math than in words and grammar. At the moment the topics include: the link between Rockaway Beach’s water treatment facility and the Oregon Forest Resources Institute; the contrast between Seattle’s innovation hub and Portland’s innovation hublet; ignorance, knowledge and chance in the fall and rise of Eugene’s downtown and of its labor productivity; and the phenomenal consequences of the difference between holding all other conditions constant and not.

Past Courses

HC 431H Pacific Northwest Meets Hard Heads and Soft Hearts

Academic Background

  • PhD: Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1968
  • BS: Mathematics, Economics, & Political Science, University of Montana, 1963

I’m in my 49th year of marriage, 51st year of teaching, and 43rd year of testifying. I love the first two and am fascinated by the frequently adversarial nature of the third. I founded ECONorthwest in1974, headed it until 2009, and founded the small consulting firm, FION this year (FION works closely with ECONorthwest). I’ve testified in various matters, including the ExxonValdez oil-spill, the grounding of the New Carissa on the Oregon Coast, the hearings before the Endangered Species Interagency Committee over the northern spotted owl, the hearings on behalf of the NAFTA Tribunal over a dispute between Canada and the U.S. involving the gasoline additive MTBE, and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.