Economist advocates ‘buyer-led’ approach


John Norton
Contributing Writer

Economist Jim Riordan, who works for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a federal entity, spoke in the Art History Auditorium last Thursday, Feb. 9, about his “buyer-led approach” to developing poor economies. Riordan, who has practiced mostly in South America, gave a presentation explaining the methodology of development economics contained in his recent book,

“We Do Know How: A Buyer-Led Approach to Creating Jobs for the Poor.”

Riordan’s presentation of his new book emphasized the importance of remaining focused on demand-driven activity when trying to increase economic well-being.  He repeatedly complained that the supply-side approach to developing economies was overused and ineffective, instead stressing the importance of sticking to the micro-scale and studying the demand, that is, the consumers who will actually do the stimulating of economic activity.

The University of Dallas was the last stop for Riordan on a speaking tour through the DFW area, but he showed much energy as he gave an impassioned speech to intrigued students.  He commented that UD students asked him the most questions, and he was thankful such enthusiasm was shown for what turned out to be a two-hour event.

“His knowledge and experience certainly kept me in my seat as he hammered down his ‘buyer-led approach’ to development economics,” remarked Michael McEwen, a senior economics undergraduate and active member of the UD club “Economics in Action.”

Economics in Action and UD economics professor Aida Ramos joined forces to bring Riordan’s presentation to campus.  “Getting an economic perspective other than academic falls directly in line with our club’s goal to encourage our members to apply their understanding of economic theory to the real world,” said Timothy Blaxton, co-founder of Economics in Action.

Ramos communicated with Riordan to bring him to campus. She noted that the event was funded by Chemonics, an economic development firm funded by USAID.


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