Wilson, Thomas Arthur

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Wilson, Thomas Arthur

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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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