[Excerpt from a draft for a forthcoming volume, The School, economics, and society, to be issued  in commemoration of the 50th founding anniversary of the U.P. School of Economics. Comments and corrections are welcome.]


The beginnings of the School of Economics can be traced to the minuscule economics department that moved to the Diliman campus after the war. Amado Castro reminisces, “The economics faculty was just me and Valmonte[1].” Castro, who would later serve as the School’s first dean, recalls the physical transfer from Manila to Diliman[2] in January 1949, when he literally had to lift tables and chairs to the third floor of the College of Law building, where the department office was temporarily housed.[3] Economics at the time was a department in the College of Liberal Arts and had been so since 1926. As soon as 1948 economics subjects were already being taught as part of two undergraduate degrees: the original liberal arts degree (A.B. Economics) awarded by the College of Liberal Arts, and a business degree (B.S.B.A. (Economics)) degree offered by the College of Business.

Not long after the Diliman transfer, in academic year 1952/1953, the economics department was folded into the College of Business Administration[4], where it would remain until the School’s separate establishment in 1965. This itself was a uncanny turn of events, since the first business course offered by the University (B.S. Commerce) from 1916 had actually been administered by the economics department within the liberal arts college. From being a foster-parent, then, economics became a business offspring—or at most a junior sibling.

But the change must have seemed reasonable at the time from a practical administrative viewpoint. By the 1950s, the interest in business administration degrees was great and well-established. Evidence of this was the already burgeoning enrolment of privately owned colleges offering commerce and accounting in Manila’s University Belt.[5] The trend towards more professional and applied courses meant that the business college had the larger potential for undergraduate enrolment and faculty—with economics as a useful complement.

A direct line can be drawn between those two early baccalaureates—the A.B. (Econ.) and the B.S.B.A. (Econ.)—and their present-day successors, the B.S. Econ. and B.S.B.E. Despite periodic changes in nomenclature, these degrees have retained their basic rationale and general form, each catering to a somewhat distinct clientele based on a weak form of self-selection. Business economics appealed particularly to those interested in or looking to a career in business. It contained almost no electives, with major subjects—about evenly split between economics and business administration—pre-empting most of the curriculum. Higher accounting requirements lent it an air of added rigour in an applied, practical sense.

The old A.B. Economics degree, on the other hand, was almost the complete opposite: a liberal-arts degree in the classic sense, it offered the widest latitude in the choice of electives, specifying only a number of economics subjects as requirements. At a time when compulsive specialisation was not an unquestioned virtue, it was a degree meant primarily to mould character and develop all-round intelligence for a career, not necessarily in economics. Even then, for example, the peculiar suitability of economics as a preparation for law—apart from the conventional routes of philosophy and political science—stood out, although it was unintended. Among notable economics graduates of those early years were Winnie Collas (m. Monsod) (A.B. 1959); Mahar Mangahas (A.B. 1962); Antonio Gatmaitan (A.B. 1962);  Rafael Rodriguez (B.S. 1962); Conchita Carpio-Morales (A.B. 1964); and Horacio Morales, Jr. (A.B. 1965).

The input of economics into two different degrees—as well as the ping-pong of the department between liberal arts and business—reflected the discipline’s dual nature. On the one hand, economics looked to the world of commerce for a major part of its subject and milieu. Because it described the larger social and policy context in which business operated, economics was a useful background for those seeking to enter business as a practical career. Much of its theoretical apparatus also validated the intuition of many business practices and rules of thumb. As a social science, on the other hand, economics regarded business not from the viewpoint of a would-be participant but of an independent observer, as exemplified by 1970s meme of a “benevolent social planner”. In this role, economics could afford to be supportive, critical, or even adversarial at different times.[6] Hence, for example, although economics generally cheered the pragmatic virtues of private enterprise, it made value-judgements about the social harm caused by monopolies and market power—the very thing business people strove to attain unreservedly. Or economics would point to some adverse social consequences of unbridled profit-seeking (e.g., pollution, over-extraction), or the social inadequacies of purely private effort (e.g., externalities, coordination failures)—judgements that transcended the purview of business as a purely practical subject. In principle, however, this wider social-science viewpoint was indispensable both for those who sought to throw themselves into the world of practical enterprise, as well as for those who wished to remain outside viewing its larger social implications.

That, at least, was the pedagogical intent. The reality was somewhat different. From the viewpoint of those who experienced it, it cannot be said that the economics education in those early days was exemplary. Solita “Winnie” Collas—later one of the country’s best teachers of economics—had a less than enthusiastic opinion of the teaching during her time. To be sure, the best textbooks—e.g., Samuelson’s well- known introductory textbook (Economics; first edition 1948)—were promptly used early on. A few instructors who had trained in the U.S. even held promise (although quite a number of these failed to stay on, distracted by the prospect of overseas careers). But with an overstretched faculty—loaded with 15, occasionally even 18 units—and too many part-timers handling courses outside their expertise (e.g., marketing people teaching economics),  pedagogy was spotty at best, with teacher enthusiasm in short supply. “Teachers merely read out of books and annual reports,” recalls Monsod. This would change only gradually as more faculty with advanced economics degrees came to constitute a critical mass—and people like Monsod herself would consciously strive to improve the quality of undergraduate teaching.

Students of the time may themselves have been less clear about what economics was and what it was for. Monsod herself confesses she did not immediately know what an economics baccalaureate signified in terms of a future career. She had stumbled into economics as a parent-suggested backstop after a poor chemistry grade in her original pre-med/biology major. For Monsod, the lack of seriousness among her fellow students was exemplified by “cheating galore” during exams.[7] This was not relieved by the fact that the teaching left something to be desired. Undergraduate economics at the time was more of a respectable accent in what was essentially a terminal liberal-arts degree. A significant number of the early students came from the economic and professional elite—sons and daughters of prominent doctors, lawyers, business people, even a president’s daughter[8] (no, not who you think)—who were interested not primarily in acquiring marketable skills but in preparing themselves for privileged, almost pre-ordained, leadership positions.

A public need for economic experts

From one perspective, the merger with a thriving business college may have seemed the right thing to do. By organically linking economics education with a better-delineated and practical vocation, the University may have thought to provide a firmer purpose to what must initially have seemed a leisurely and unfocused liberal arts concentration. Confluent factors, however, kept the economics faculty distinct and autonomous and prevented it from becoming a mere service-department in a business college.

A pivotal element was the emerging government need for economic planners and researchers. Newly independent countries in the post-war period were inevitably influenced by what Myrdal called the “ideology of planning”. This was not some hard-and-fast dogma but rather the belief that “development can be brought about or accelerated by government intervention” [Myrdal 1968: 709]. In the face of rising expectations among peoples of newly independent but poor countries, governments could not afford to sit back and adopt a laissez-faire posture. This state activism had some intellectual backing: the 1940s and 1950s were the heyday of what Krugman [1995] called “high development theory”. Authors such as Rosenstein-Rodan, Nurkse, Hirschmann, Myint, Lewis—and especially Myrdal himself—all pointed to the need some deliberate government intervention (exactly what kind was the subject of some debate) to push poor economies towards industrialisation and modernity. The Philippines was not immune to these ideas. The government—especially through the Central Bank founded in 1949—already found itself administering complicated schemes of foreign exchange rationing after a severe post-war balance of payments crisis. (It could not have been accidental, therefore, that the earliest economics Ph.D.s in the modern era, such as Andres V. Castillo, Horacio Lava, and Benito Legarda, Jr., all began their careers in the Central Bank.) What was at first an expedient, however, evolved into a full-blown strategy, as exchange control became a deliberate instrument for the import-substituting industrialisation trend that swept the entire developing world. As the need for explicit economic planning and prioritisation became evident, the derived demand for professionally trained economists became correspondingly more urgent.

In his state of the nation address of 23 January 1956, President Magsaysay called for the establishment of an Institute of Economic Development and Research in the University of the Philippines “to provide not only our students but also those of neighboring Asian countries with the advanced training essential to accelerated development” [My emphasis]. Responding to the president’s call, the University set up the institute (henceforth the IEDR) as a separate, non-degree granting unit in 1957 with funds allocated from the national budget.[9]

The executive secretary of the National Economic Council[10] at the time, Dr. Amando Dalisay, badly wanted to turn the proposed IEDR into a research arm of the council. Government needed economic expertise focused on its own policy and research priorities. The suggestion was resisted by Valmonte and Castro, however, both of whom insisted that the IEDR should remain primarily an academic unit guided by its own research priorities and interests. In the end, the academic perspective prevailed: IEDR would set its own  priorities. This would be the first time—though not be last—that the ambivalent relationship between government and academe would be tested.

The need for independent economic specialists was also recognised early on by foreign private philanthropies with a far-sighted interest in Philippine development. Amado Castro relates how Valmonte made a particularly favourable impression on the Rockefeller Foundation’s (hereafter, RF) responsible person, Roger Evans[11]. Its deep trust in Valmonte proved crucial in persuading the RF to become a strategic partner in developing the economics faculty beginning in 1953. While the University had its own resources to support faculty development, additional resources came from the RF—and later the Ford Foundation (hereafter, FF)—to support scholarships for faculty pursuing advanced economics degrees in the best U.S. universities. The RF’s main portfolio in the Philippines was in agriculture and plant science[12], but it supported economics in its belief that development problems “will be best analysed and dealt with by well-trained social scientists from their own populations” and hence “a major point of program emphasis is to try to train more social scientists from these areas up to the highest levels of professional competence and to assist in the building up of strong teaching and research centres in these countries” [RF 1956:189]. RF support would become even more important when the University’s own resources for faculty development began to dry up in the 1970s. From the mid-1950s to the late 1970s, the RF would support a more or less steady stream of faculty studying for advanced degrees, many of these in Ivy League universities. While not all would return or remain with the School to the end[13], many would stay long enough to form the core of the School faculty for many decades.

In addition to supporting scholarships, the RF provided substantial funds to begin the IEDR Library collection (the start of a distinct economics library) even so far as to fund the construction of a library building (now known as Benton Hall), expand the collection, and send librarians overseas for training. It is significant that the assessments of both government and external philanthropies coincided in the view that economics—as distinct from business education—was a social science where scholarship bore great potential social externalities. The apparent ability of economics to attract substantial support from government and foreign foundations led to the “U.P. Economics Project” (UPEP) first administered by the College of Business Administration as a vehicle to coordinate internal efforts and receive external assistance. UPEP became the major channel to support graduate economics education through scholarships. This represented the University’s explicit effort to form develop the economics discipline and was the nucleus of the establishment of the School.

Growing prestige

Meanwhile the other crucial trend working for the autonomy of economics was the growing prestige of the discipline itself, especially in academic terms. This resulted first from the growing intellectual rigour of economics following the spread of mathematical and axiomatic approaches. The works particularly of Samuelson (1948), Arrow (1951), Arrow and Debreu (1954) became models to emulate. (See Fabella’s essay in this volume.) Complementing this self-imposed high theoretical bar was the promise of greater policy relevance and empirical validation owing to advances in econometric theory and methods. The latter in turn had become possible with the availability of income, price, and other statistics, following Keynes’s invention of macroeconomics and the demands of wartime planning. A culmination of sorts of this trend was the creation in 1969 of the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics, which effectively raised economics above the other social sciences and ranked it alongside “hard” natural sciences like physics.[14] As economics thus gained in prestige and practical relevance, it became appealing to first-rate minds not only as a socially relevant endeavour but more importantly as an intellectually challenging and fulfilling field of inquiry. Kenneth Arrow was dissuaded from a career as an actuary in  insurance because, unlike economics, “there [was] no music in it”.[15]

In the Philippines, a similar transition was the career-shift of José (Pepe) Encarnación, Jr. Encarnación had no prior background in economics. Taking his first degrees in philosophy, he had been one of “Pasky’s Boys”—the circle of brilliant junior faculty around the philosophy chair, Ricardo Pascual[16] united by their iconoclasm and common admiration for the ideas of Bertrand Russell. But as his old group broke up (or, was broken up, some would say) and its members sent to pursue degrees in other fields[17], Encarnación accepted the University’s offer of support to do a Ph.D. in economics. The prospect of making an economist out of a philosopher seemed to fall in with the University’s plans, and Encarnación was sent to Princeton.

There is still no complete explanation of why Pepe Encarnación pursued economics.[18] What can be said is that he would likely have been less attracted to economics if the discipline had remained the mainly narrative, pattern-finding, rhetorical field that it was up to the 1940s. In the event, the development of economic theory into an abstract-quantitative field was well-suited to the transition of someone like Pepe—as it was for many others of a similarly mathematical or logical bent.[19]

Amado Castro vividly recalls the day that the young Encarnación, then a newly-minted Princeton Ph.D., walked brashly into the chairman’s office, J.R. Hicks’s Value and capital under his arm, in order to present himself as a prospective member of the faculty. Until that time, Castro had been the only holder of an economics Ph.D. in the faculty; he found it hard to overcome his initial scepticism that someone he had previously known only as an “applied logician” could have become an economist. Nonetheless Pepe was allowed into the economics faculty in 1960. It did not prove a mistake: Encarnación’s impact on the department was like an electric shock. Combining good looks and an athlete’s physique with confidence in his own brilliance, he established a high standard of rigour both for himself and his students. Winnie Monsod, who was auditing a number of M.A. graduate courses, was awed when, on the first day of a class in microeconomics, Pepe introduced the textbook of Henderson and Quandt [1958] by boldly stating, “There is an error in this book[20]!”

Encarnación’s reputation and personal example were unique: then and for a long time after, he was the only one in the faculty who strove to publish in the best international journals—and moreover succeeded in doing so. Between 1958 and 1965, seven of his articles had already appeared in renowned international journals, including the Economic Journal and Econometrica—a remarkable achievement for an economist in the province. Pepe’s career progressed rapidly and he ultimately succeeded to department chairman supervising academics. Encarnación would take to heart his personal brief from U.P. President Carlos Romulo to develop the graduate programme in economics[21], including a to-be-established Ph.D. programme, raising both its rigor and reputation.

Even as Encarnación settled into the department’s chair to ponder academics, Amado Castro moved on to head the IEDR. The Institute, with its promise of applied social science research, was the main salient for support to economics at the time. Its creation was due to an express government demand and it exercised a drawing power on important foreign donors. Support for the IEDR facilitated the construction in 1959 of a building to house not just the economics department but for the entire College of Business Administration. The Rockefeller Foundation had provided funds for an IEDR library building (now Benton Hall), which also housed the IEDR offices. The hope was to create “a center to which young professional economists of the Central Bank, the Economic Planning Board, and other development agencies can come together for research and the exchange of ideas” [RF 1957:192]. As a counterpart and show of commitment, the University then used its own funds put up the larger main building for the College of Business Administration to house classrooms and faculty offices. The structure was named Conrado Benitez Hall after the first dean of the business school.[22] It was Castro who was responsible for securing the new buildings, for which the selected architect was Ariston Nakpil[23]. Benton Hall in particular featured the brise soileil (sunbreaker) style favoured by architects of the 1950s. After first the School then the business college vacated it, the buildings reverted to the college of social sciences and philosophy. C. Benitez Hall was occupied by the department of psychology and given the mundane name “Palma Hall Annex” until it was more recently and fittingly renamed Lagmay Hall[24]  in April 2015.

Negotiating funds and priorities with government, the University, foreign donors, architects, and contractors would preoccupy Castro, still the most senior faculty member. In time, he developed a knack and a taste for initiating large building projects, a skill that would prove useful when he served on the board of the Development Bank of the Philippines and was placed in charge of constructing the DBP’s main offices in Makati. For the DBP in Makati, Castro selected Carlos (“Carling”) Arguelles as architect.[25] It was no accident Arguelles would also be chosen when the School was allowed its own buildings.

Another mainstay of the economics faculty in those early years was Agustin (Dodong) Kintanar, Jr. Dodong joined economics as early as 1950, soon after Castro, and a full decade ahead of Encarnación. Kintanar completed his Ph.D. from Yale somewhat later, in 1961, with a dissertation on public finance, one of the first to be written with a distinct Keyenesian influence. In subsequent years, however, despite his having been hired earlier into the faculty, Kintanar would good-naturedly acknowledge and support Encarnación’s intellectual leadership. Aside from teaching, Kintanar was assigned to oversee what would be the School’s third major mission: training and extension. Although the department was already sending out a steady stream of junior staff to pursue advanced degrees overseas, and while graduate students were being provided scholarships to do M.A. degrees at home, the output of this purely academic track was deemed too slow in filling the government’s distinct and urgent need for economics experts. The more expedient solution, therefore, was a programme to bring in foreign scholars to provide short training courses for government personnel. This was the U.P.-University of Wisconsin Programme in Development Economics (PDE), which received long-term support from the Ford Foundation (FF). (See Alonzo’s essay, this volume.) Intended primarily to serve the needs of government, the PDE gave off large positive externalities to the department owing to the prominent foreign scholars it brought in.

Foreign scholars visiting the department and the IEDR in the 1960s were bound to run into three major personalities: Castro, Encarnación, and Kintanar. In his memoirs, a visiting scholar, David Cole [2014] paints vignettes of the three during his 1960-1961 stay in the Philippines. Pepe is remembered because, aside from being an “outstanding economist”, he was a “character” who “loved to go out partying and frequently dragged us along, all the time poking fun at my stodginess and my reluctance to join him on the dance floor with the pretty dancing girls”. Kintanar was described as “able and fun but not to the same degree as Pepe”; and finally Amado was “very serious, the antithesis of Pepe”.

These three were reinforced in 1963 with the return of Gerardo Sicat, who had already been recruited into the faculty in 1958. He entered the then-existing graduate school, with Amado and Pepe as professors, completing an M.A. in record time. He was then promptly sent on a Rockefeller grant to the University to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his Ph.D. Sicat would play a pivotal role in the subsequent expansion and development of the School. Additional weight in the faculty was provided by Richard (“Dick”) Hooley, a Columbia Ph.D., a U.S. citizen and long-term resident in the Philippines. He was completely integrated intellectually—and just as importantly socially—with the faculty and set a good example in producing fundamental research. Long after his return to the U.S., he would continue to make significant contributions to understanding trends in Philippine economy.

Mahar Mangahas was another of the earliest members of the faculty. Originally recruited by Castro as a researcher for the IEDR, he then enrolled like Sicat in the M.A. programme and had Encarnación, Castro, Kintanar, and Vernon Ruttan as his professors. Encarnación had told him to specialise in agricultural economics, so he spent one year rusticating at UPLDB and IRRI (where Ruttan was chief economist). In 1962 he was appointed “assistant instructor”—yes that position existed—and he joined the faculty. Mahar recalls he asked Encarnación whether he could now call him “Pepe”; the latter said, “Of course, we are colleagues now!” Mahar beamed the rest of the day: “I was only 18 years old, and I could call Encarnación by his familiar name.”

Mangahas owes to Ruttan the distinction of being the first junior faculty (i.e., Encarnación being senior) to publish internationally. Ruttan combined Mahar’s M.A. thesis with that of a contemporary, Aida Recto, resulting in a three-author publication in the Journal of Farm Economics with Mangahas as lead (1966). This achievement won him Pepe’s lasting esteem—their later disagreements notwithstanding. Mahar had moved on to work for his Ph.D. at Chicago under a Rockefeller grant. So Encarnación was surprised and delighted to see him at the World Econometric Congress in Rome, where Mangahas was due to present his paper. Mangahas would remain one of the School’s leading lights, heading IEDR after his return from Chicago, until he left teaching to form Social Weather Stations.


Economics in the Philippines was congealing as a discipline even outside the University. In April 1960, an international conference on development economics was held at the University, attended by renowned economists Howard Ellis and E.A.G. Robinson, who urged the Filipino economists to affiliate with the International Economics Association. Soon after, in 1962, the Philippine Economic Society was formed with Armand Fabella as president and Castro as vice-president.[26] The society also established the Philippine Economic Journal, the first issue of which appeared in the same year under the editorship of Benito Legarda, Jr. Effectively a band of brothers (for there were as yet no women), that pioneer group of the country’s professional economists were bound together as much by their camaraderie as their commitment to the discipline.

It was clear by that time that economics had grown too big for its erstwhile host college. Cesar Virata, the young dean of the college of business in those years, was aware of the growing disparity between the economics and business faculties. He noted the seniority, renown, research, engagement, resource-drawing power, and international connections of the economics professors—and how his own then-fledgling business faculty paled in comparison. In his biography of Virata, Sicat [2014: 111] narrates:

Few units of the university could match the powerhouse that was the economics faculty. From the standpoint of the College of Business Administration, having a dominant set of faculty members in one department and a set of fairly young faculty in the others would eventually lead to an imbalance. As dean of the college of business, Virata recognized this problem.

Such an “imbalance” could easily arise in the allocation of resources, appointments to college administrative posts, and weight in college decision-making, all of which could lead to the demoralisation of the more junior or less-favoured business faculty. All in all, the emerging prospect of being overshadowed by a strong economics faculty was unlikely to help in the development of a business school—or for that matter of business administration as a discipline. For these reasons, Virata supported the idea to create a separate college for economics. In this he aligned himself with Amado Castro. Castro’s aim, of course, had always been to raise the profile and distinct disciplinal identity of economics, much like Marshall worked to remove economics from the faculty of “moral sciences” and establish a separate Economics Tripos.[27] With somewhat different perspectives, therefore, Castro’s and Virata’s views coincided.

Pepe Encarnación was surprisingly cool to the idea of a separate college, a fact that frequently amazes those familiar with Encarnación’s giant role in the subsequent development of the School. Why would he be reluctant to establish economics in its own college? One can only guess at his reasons. It cannot certainly have been due to any lesser estimation of the discipline’s prestige and intellectual autonomy, or of the faculty’s ability to stand on its own. A possible (admittedly speculative) reason, however, is that Encarnación might not have relished the added administrative burdens entailed by the change. Pepe at the time was focused on his own research and on developing graduate teaching. He may have foreseen how much faculty time and energy would be pre-empted by administering an entire college—time and energy better spent in research and turning out graduate students. If business colleagues self-selected and were willing to fill administrative offices, leaving scholars like himself to pursue their research interests, then that division of labour was fine by him. Such an arrangement was—and would have continued to be—Pareto-efficient!

In the event, the U.P. Board of Regents approved the creation of a School of Economics at its meeting of 16 February 1965, with full operations to begin in the second semester. This was based on a recommendation by President Romulo in his memorandum to the board dated 8 February. The move merged the IEDR, then headed by Amado Castro, and the department chaired by José Encarnación. Castro was appointed the first dean of the School, effective in July of the same year, and was replaced as IEDR head by Sicat, who had already returned from MIT  with a doctorate from MIT in 1963.

But the School was already the School even before it was established. As well as handling the two undergraduate programmes and a growing graduate enrolment, the economics faculty was also already running the IEDR as well preparing to launch the PDE. Separate establishment merely recognised the fact that economics in the University had arrived.

In practice, apart from the administrative reshuffling, all this actually meant very little change. This was true even physically, for the School and the College continued to share the same buildings. The two-storey Benton Hall housed the IEDR Library (effectively also the economics library) on its ground floor and the business library on its second. Meanwhile, C. Benitez Hall’s ground floor on its west wing housed the offices of the School dean, the IEDR director, and the chair of the economics department. The ground floor of the east wing housed the administrative offices of the business school. Second and third floors of Benitez were devoted to classrooms and common faculty rooms. Hardly anything also changed in undergraduate teaching, particularly in the business economics programme administered jointly by the School and College. And as if to underscore their continuing cooperation, School and College also continued to put out a shared house-journal, the Philippine Review of Business and Economics, with editorship alternating between School and College and the first issue appearing in 1964. Above all, however, there was continuity because of the shared personal relationships and experience among both faculty and students—and not least among students who would later become faculty. An example: Mahar Mangahas, who would go on to head the IEDR and become a pillar of the economics faculty, was a fellow-BSBE classmate of Rafael Rodriguez, who would become a mainstay and ultimately dean of the business faculty. This closeness through personal faculty affinities between business and economics would continue well until the early 2000s but would unfortunately flag somewhat thereafter.

In graduate instruction and in research, however, the divergence with business became evident. Under Encarnación’s watch and even before 1965, the School’s master’s programme had already become stronger academically. The faculty boasted of a strong Ph.D. complement that could deliver a high-quality M.A. programme. This consisted of Castro, Encanacion, Kintanar, Hooley, Sicat, and a host of visiting professors from the U.S. The M.A. programme, now administered separately from the University’s Graduate School, also became an effective sieve for selecting potential faculty. The School’s brightest graduate students (typically after but sometimes before finishing their M.A.s) were systematically recruited into the faculty then supported financially to complete a Ph.D. overseas, almost invariable with RF support. The offer of an assured university appointment and the chance to complete a foreign Ph.D. proved to be an irresistible attraction to bright students, well into the 1980s. Indeed this was how a good number of faculty stalwarts came to join the School in this way. These included[28] Romeo Bautista (Yale), Mahar Mangahas (Chicago), Gonzalo Jurado (Wisconsin), Rosa Linda Tidalgo (Wisconsin), Casimiro Miranda (Wayne State), Benjamin Diokno (Syracuse), Gwendolyn Tecson (Hitotsubashi), Ruperto Alonzo (Chicago), Felipe Medalla (Northwestern), and Raul Fabella (Yale). Medalla, who would succeed Encarnación as dean, recalls with combined amusement and amazement how the starting salary of a faculty member at the time almost approximated what a management cadet would have made. This made the decision to join the faculty much easier.

Foreign faculty and friends

The matter-of-fact integration of a good number of foreign faculty was a unique feature of teaching and research at the School. Throughout its existence, an almost steady stream of (mostly American) academics made its influence felt at one time or another as full-, part-time, or visiting faculty or researchers at the School. Richard Hooley, mentioned earlier, was actually a long-time resident of the country married to a Filipina. He would continue to maintain a keen interest in Philippine developments and economic history even after returning to the U.S. to teach at Pittsburgh, and would visit the country occasionally. In his obituary for Encarnación, Hooley captures the easy camaraderie and exchange among Filipino and expatriate faculty in the early days:

 I remember [Pepe Encarnación’s] habit of popping into our office on Friday saying ‘join me for some “liquid bread”’. We would walk over to a nearby café for a couple of hours drinking beer and discussing ideas and anything else that came to mind. Regulars to those Friday sessions usually included all faculty in residence—Gerry Sicat, Dodong Kintanar, Steve Resnick, Amado Castro and myself. From time to time Vern Ruttan (who was then at IRRI in Los Baños) would join us when he was at the University. Somewhat later the sessions also included Jeff Williamson (while on a Ford Grant), John Power, Romy Bautista, and Mahar Mangahas. Many of us were recently out of graduate school, and we all learned a lot at these sessions, during which we traded ideas, discussed the research we were doing, etc. I have been at other universities where informal sessions like this have been organized and intensely promoted, but most have not been anywhere near as successful [Hooley 1999: 178-179].

The presence of foreign faculty was facilitated by the Ford Foundation-supported PDE, which was then still a one-year training programme for government officials. But this presence inexorably fed into the academics and research of the department and institute, with many fast friendships and collaborations being formed with the faculty. Scholars from Wisconsin who visited at this time under PDE auspices were Leon Mears, Jeffrey Williamson, Nathan Rosenberg, and Robert Lampman, among others. Other scholars were William Kapp (1964); Stephen Resnick (1964-1965); Dean Worcester (1967-1968); John Power (1971), Barry Popkin (1975), and James Roumasset. A more or less continuous stream of foreign scholars would follow through the 1980s to the present day, including Charles Lindsey, Hal Hill, Richard Wada, James Stapleton, Mark Rosegrant, Susan Russell, Paul Gertler, Nimai Mehta, Charles Horioka, Rosa Alonso I Terme, and Calla Wiemer.

But perhaps the visitor—it seems almost strange to call him that—who exercised the deepest and most abiding influence on the School was Harry T. Oshima (1918-1988). A Columbia Ph.D., faculty member of the University of Hawaii, and a protégé of the Nobel Laureate Simon Kuznets[29], Harry was a formidable scholar. Oshima originally came to the Philippines as resident representative of the Rockefeller Foundation (1972-1983), supervising the RF-supported programme to fund graduate scholarships and to send out faculty for doctorates or post-doctoral studies. It was upon Oshima’s representation that RF continued its generous support to the School. Even after the RF programme ran out, however, Harry stayed on as visiting professor through the 1990s, becoming an integral part of the faculty. Fondly called “Lolo” behind his back by his students and the staff, Oshima was completely dedicated to the School, sensitive even to the minutiae of leaking toilet valves and the need for energy-saving reminders below light switches—all the while teaching development economics and completing his major research. He cut a familiar figure in loafers in his office, poring over statistics in columnar pads and graphs on semi-log scales, prepared by his long-time assistant Gloria Lambino. A major scholar of Asian development, Oshima contributed to the literature on the Ranis-Fei model[30], the larger development implications of monsoon agriculture, and the significance of income distribution patterns in Asia. He and his family lived in one the six bungalows built purposely by RF for visiting faculty—then the height of privilege in campus housing—in what is now Purok Aguinaldo. As a last sign of his s close attachment to the School, and though he passed away in Hawaii in 1988, half of his ashes were interred following his wishes in a small garden in the School’s courtyard, marked by a plaque with a poem written by his wife Chie.

Between Castro, Encarnación, Oshima, and Sicat, the foundations of the School of Economics were laid that last to the present day.


[To be continued.]


[1] Jose Valmonte chaired the economics department initially under the College of Liberal Arts but later became dean of the College of Business Administration (1949-1959), replacing Gil J. Puyat (later a senator of the republic), who had been business school dean from 1940 to1949.

[2] The University began its transfer to Diliman in May-June 1948 and completed it in early 1949 with the installation of the Oblation in the new campus.

[3] Architectural twins, the buildings of the College of Law and the College of Education were the first structures erected on the Diliman campus.

[4] A School of Business was originally established in 1929, with the rationale that “commercial education needs to be fostered more as an instrumentality to awaken our people to the proper place of trade and commerce in the prosperity of our country” [Churchill 1985:164].

[5] It is little remembered that Far Eastern University in Manila’s University Belt was actually founded by U.P.’s former economics department chair, Nicanor Reyes, owing to the University’s earlier reluctance to set up an accountancy school. Reyes’s decision to leave U.P. is briefly explained in his biography by Nick Joaquin [1995].

[6] A classic caricature of the difference between business training and economics education is the alleged statement by Marx’s mother, who wished that her son Karl would “accumulate some capital instead of just writing about it”.

[7] This fact is ironic, considering how the School in later years would gain a reputation for clamping down uncompromisingly on academic dishonesty.

[8] Among her classmates at the time, Winnie Monsod mentions Milagros T. Sison, daughter of Agerico Sison, the prominent doctor, and Rosario Roxas, the daughter of Pres. Roxas.

[9] Contrary to a widely held belief, there was no national statute specifically establishing IEDR.

[10] The precursor of NEDA, established in 1936 under President Quezon.

[11] Evans was assistant director for the social sciences in The Rockefeller Foundation.

[12] RF support was crucial particularly in the establishment of the International Rice Research Institute at Los Baños.

[13] Sicat [2014: 111] reports how some of the earliest Rockefeller scholars in fact failed to return to the country or to complete their degrees.

[14] The economics prize, of course, was not among the original ones created by Nobel himself but one established in his honour by Sweden’s Rijksbank. The first awardees were notably the econometricians Frisch and Tinbergen, signifying the optimism that the empirical basis of economics could approach those of the natural sciences. In latter part of the 20th century, however, this compulsion of economics to emulate the natural sciences, particularly physics, came under critical re-examination. See especially the work of Mirowski [1991], and much earlier, Georgescu-Roegen [1971].

[15] The advice had come from Tjalling Koopmans. See Arrow [1984:77].

[16] Besides Encarnación, those enfants terribles included Cesar Adib Majul, Alfredo Lagmay, Ruben Santos-Cuyugan, and Armando Bonifacio. O.D. Corpuz, though himself not part of that group, called them “lions of the campus” (personal conversation with the author). Apart from their intellectual irreverence, Pasky’s Boys were suspect owing to their irreligiousness and political leanings. Pascual himself was the object of an anti-communist witch-hunt in 1961 [Guerrero 1985: 375-376].

[17] More specifically, Majul was sent off to do political science, Lagmay to psychology, Santos-Cuyugan to sociology, and of course Encarnación to economics. At the time some saw in this a deliberate move to “cripple or emasculate the department of philosophy”, but this was a charge denied by Pascual himself, who saw the trend instead as “expanding the usefulness of his department” [Cortes 1985: 324-325].

[18] But see Fabella’s essay in this volume.

[19] Encarnación’s intellectual contributions have been treated elsewhere. See Fabella’s essay in this volume and the earlier one by de Dios and Fabella [1995].

[20] Richard Quandt was already teaching at Princeton during Pepe’s time there. His graduate textbook written with Henderson (first edition) was the first to refer to Arrow and Debreu’s proof of competitive equilibrium [Weintraub 2002:189].

[21] As narrated by Encarnación to this author many years ago.

[22] Conrado Benitez (1889-1971) was an historian by training but became dean of the college of busness; he was one of the drafters of the 1935 Philippine Constitution.

[23] Ariston’s father was Juan Nakpil, National Artist and architect for U.P.’s Quezon Hall (administration building) and the Main Library building.

[24] Lagmay was to psychology what Encarnación was to economics. Original members of Pascual’s circle, the two were lifelong friends.

[25] Carlos Argüelles [1917-2008], one of the early advocates of the International Style, was also responsible for the Philamlife Building in Manila, the DBP Building, among others.

[26] Sicat’s [1974] brief history of the Philippine Economic Society is a valuable source of information.

[27] The Tripos at Cambridge was the name for the final examination needed to earn an undergraduate degree. A separate Tripos for economics meant establishing a major in the discipline.

[28] Two other notable products of the M.A. programme recruited into the faculty were Apolinario Nazarea and Jesus Dumagan. Nazarea would shift fields and pursue a distinguished career in microbiology, while Dumagan would make a career in the U.S. before returning to the Philippines.

[29] Oshima facilitated a visit to the School by his adviser Kuznets in the 1970s.

[30] Oshima’s was famous for his critique of Lewis-Ranis-Fei model. He controverted the notion that “unlimited supplies of labour” were present in rice-growing monsoon Asia. Labour could not be costlessly withdrawn from agriculture in favour of industry, he argued, since all of it was needed during harvesting and planting seasons, even if much of it was idle in between.