Professor Profile: João César das Neves

Most of us come to University listen to our professors teach an interesting or a somewhat less interesting topic. However, most of us do not exactly know what our professors are doing. The goal of this Professor Profile is to show a different side of our professors. By asking four questions, we hope to provide a short overview of the person and his research. Our Sixth Professor Profile is with Professor João César das Neves. João César das Neves is an economics Católica-Lisbon Alumni, holding a PhD from this University. Currently, he is a Full Professor and President of the Ethics Committee at Católica-Lisbon. He was from 1991 to 1995 economic advisor of the Portuguese Prime Minister, in 1990 advisor to the Portuguese Minister of Finance and in 1990/1991 and 1995/1997 technician at the Bank of Portugal. We want to start this interview thanking our Professor João César das Neves for his spontaneous availability for this interview. Could you shortly introduce yourself? I am catholic and Portuguese, married, with four children and two grandchildren. I work at Catolica Lisbon for more than forty years. Entering here as student in 1975, I have been here ever since. I have been involved in some external activities, like member of the Minister of Finance’s and Prime Minister’s offices, the Bank of Portugal, collaborating in newspapers, radio and television and giving talks all over, but always as a Católica’s professor. Love studying, learning, reading and writing. What does economics mean to you? The economy is one of the most beautiful elements of the universe. Just having thousands of persons, each working in their place, without even knowing each other, but all involved in the building of something good, collaborating for the welfare of others and, at the same time, contributing to their own welfare, is just marvelous. Only God could have invented such a thing. Economics is, thus, the study of one of God’s best creations. Could you simply describe your research? My research has been much diversified, because I am plagued by curiosity. It all started with the study of poverty and development. From there I jumped to the modeling of business cycle and unemployment. Then came the economic history of Portugal, after which I analyzed the medieval economic thought and latter business ethics. Most recently, I have been studying social doctrine of the Church and the economic thought of pope Francis. What is, in your opinion, your most interesting finding? The most interesting and exciting scientific contribution of my career was the possibility of being able to work with two of the best living economists, professors Isabel Horta Correia and Sérgio Rebelo, in the extension of the, then young and innovative, real business cycles theory to a small open economy, like Portugal.

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