Paul’s award is richly deserved. He works on a vast array of topics, running the gamut from labour economics to development economics to econometrics. Paul works with amazing speed (he told me yesterday that he typically aims to write his first paper drafts in a single sitting), and has a CV that’s the envy of just about every economist in the country.
Paul is also the guy you want in seminars, whether as an audience member asking tough questions with typical Dutch directness; or as a presenter combining substance, anecdotes, theory, and methodology.
And as well as doing research on social capital, he believes in it. Practically every day at ANU, he would walk the corridor at noon, knocking on doors and shouting ‘the lunch train is leaving!’. We’ve missed him greatly since he left in 2006 for the humid shores of the Brisbane River.
I had to fly back from the Australian Conference of Economists yesterday just before Paul gave his presentation, but fortunately he’s posted the powerpoint and a background paper on his website. He chose to focus on a major research project that he is involved with, looking at rural-urban migration in China (perhaps the largest mass migration in history).