Fonds 1963 - Thomas A. Wilson fonds

Identity area

Reference code

UTA 1963


Thomas A. Wilson fonds


  • 1955-2007 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

9.95 m of textual and graphic records and publications (77 boxes)

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Thomas Arthur Wilson was born in 1935 in Vancouver, B.C. His undergraduate education took place at the University of British Columbia where he graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in economics in May, 1957. He continued his education at Harvard Graduate School where he received an A.M. degree in 1959 and a Ph.D. degree in 1961.

Prof. Wilson’s early academic career began at Harvard University where he taught part-time while undertaking his graduate studies. He became an Instructor in 1961 and Assistant Professor in 1962. He was persuaded by Prof. William Easterbrook to join the Department of Political Economy at the University of Toronto as Associate Professor in 1967. He was appointed full professor one year later.

Shortly after his appointment he joined the newly created Institute for Policy Analysis under the direction of Prof. Douglas Hartle. The Institute for Policy Analysis (IPA) was established in 1967 “to encourage, promote and underwrite first-class applied economic and policy research across all relevant departments and faculties within the University of Toronto” [1]. In 1968, Prof. Hartle along with professors Wilson, Richard M. Bird and A.R. Dobell began a study funded by the Canada Council’s Killam Awards Program. The purpose of the study was “to assess the costs to Canada of economic independence and to evaluate the degree of policy freedom Canada would have under alternative degrees of economic involvement with other countries.” The funding for this study was the first time awards of this size were made available for research in the social sciences and humanities.

In June 1969, he succeeded Hartle as Director of IPA, a position he held until 1975. Over the next twenty years, Prof. Wilson held a succession of administrative appointments within IPA, the Department of Political Economy, the Department of Economics and the Rotman School of Management. He has been a member of the Academic Board (1988-1993) and Vice-Chairman, Budget Committee of Academic Board (1990-1992). He served as Director, Policy and Economic Analysis Program (PEAP) at the Institute of Policy Analysis from 1987-2002. He also served as Area Coordinator for Business Economics at the Rotman School of Management from 1989-2003 and although he retired in 2001, continues to serve as Senior Advisor at the Institute for Policy Analysis.

In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities, Prof. Wilson has published over 100 works including articles, studies, reports and books in such fields as economic forecasting, fiscal policy analysis, wage-price models, competition policy, advertising and industrial organization. In 1977 he founded his own consulting company, Wilson Economic Research Inc., which provides advice to corporations and government bodies on economic issues, including competition, advertising and the telecommunications industry.


[1] UTARMS. People File: T.A. Wilson. Globe and Mail, May 31, 1968.

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Scope and content

Fonds consists of records documenting the academic and professional career of Prof. Wilson from his early research, teaching and publication activities at Harvard University through his more than forty years at the University of Toronto. Series 1 to 3 contain correspondence and professional files documenting his activities at Harvard University and the University of Toronto. Series 3 provides documentation on the operation of the Institute for Policy Analysis for much of the past thirty years and the segregation of the Department of Political Economy in 1982. Details relating to the development of courses and programmes of study in the developing fields of social and economic policy will be found in the correspondence and other documents.

Series 4 consists of records relating to Prof. Wilson’s own undergraduate education
at the University of British Columbia and graduate education at Harvard University.

The majority of the records in the first accession (B2001-0038) concern the research and writing of various studies, working papers and policy papers undertaken by Prof. Wilson as a member of the Institute for Policy Analysis. A major study on the Appliance industry commissioned by the federal Department of Industry in 1968 was one of the first undertaken by the new Institute. The records for this study found in Series 9 consist of correspondence, data, research files and transcripts of interviews with major manufacturing companies in Canada. Records relating to other studies, such as those conducted for the Anti-Inflation Board, will be found in Series 8.

Series 8 documents Prof. Wilson’s teaching responsibilities at the undergraduate and graduate level. One of his major achievements concerned the development of courses and programmes in Industrial Organization developed for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Series 10 documents the consulting work of Prof. Wilson, primarily under the umbrella of Wilson Research Economics, for various corporations and government agencies.

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Conditions governing access

Series 5 Letters of Reference are restricted for 25 years.

Series 10: Consulting files - records from B2012-0009 in this series are closed until 1 Jan 2018

All other files are open

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