David Mayes: 1946–2017

David Mayes, Professor of Finance at the University of Auckland, died on November 30, 2017, aged 71.

Asymetric Information No 61, April 2018, p.6

David studied for a PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) at the University of Oxford, graduating in 1968, before completing his PhD at the University of Bristol in 1971. Much of his early work focused on European integration, with the European Union still youthful; the UK had not yet joined when he completed his doctorate, let alone considered leaving.

His earliest listed paper is entitled ‘The changing price of butter’ (1974).  It models the impact of changing quotas on price, thereby assessing the impact on the UK of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy. In later papers he examined the effects of European integration on trade, the implications of closer European integration on Australia and New Zealand, and the burgeoning rational expectations revolution, among many other topics. He is particularly remembered in New Zealand for his 1986 address at the NZIER AGM, Changes, which warned, appositely at the time of major economic liberalisation, that it was easier to close down businesses than to start them up.

During the 1980s Mayes worked  at the University of Exeter, the NIESR in London and the now-defunct British National Economic Development Office. He was a visiting fellow at the University of Otago and was at the NZIER in 1985-6, including briefly being its director, before returning to NEDO After stints at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels and a return to the NIESR, he became chief economist of the RBNZ in 1994, serving until 1997 before taking up the position of Advisor to the Bank of Finland’s Board in 1997-2008

A spell as a Visiting Professor at the University of Auckland, 2006-7, led to the position of BNZ Professor of Finance University of Auckland, as well as director of its Europe Institute and co-director of its NZ Governance Centre.  There he taught at all levels, from undergraduate to post-doctoral, seeing many PhD candidates successfully through their studies. Following his death he received some warm tributes from his former doctoral students.

At times he held positions in many other research and academic institutions including adjunct chairs at the Universities of Canterbury and Waikato.

David’s most recent work, authored in the wake of the financial crisis, focused on designing effective banking regulation, including bail-in, deposit insurance, and other aspects of resolution frameworks. He was a prolific writer of academic works: papers, articles, book chapters, reports and books.

David Mayes died following being diagnosed with cancer just a few weeks earlier; he suffered a stroke from which he did not recover. His funeral was held close to his home on Waiheke Island.