By Carlos Andres López, NMSU News Center
Did you know that the demise of the drachma is one of the reasons Greece has not yet recovered in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and the ensuing Great Recession? Or that taxpayers in the United States would benefit from more audits by the Internal Revenue Service? If you did, chances are you’ve read Christopher Erickson’s column in the Las Cruces Bulletin.
For more than a decade, Erickson, a professor of economics in the Department of Economics, Applied Statistics and International Business, has written about such topics in his column, “State of the Economy,” which aims to help readers understand current economic issues.
“I’ve written hundreds of columns,” he said, explaining that he began writing the column in 2006 after his son graduated from high school. “You know how children are – they graduate from high school, and then suddenly they leave, and you don’t have anything to do. So, I started writing a column.”
But when he’s not writing his column, Erickson stays busy teaching the next generation of economists at New Mexico State University, where he’s been a faculty member in the College of Business since 1987. Erickson, who has a Ph.D. in economics from Arizona State University, started as an assistant professor and was later promoted to associate before becoming a full professor in 2012. He currently serves as the interim department head for the Department of Economics, Applied Statistics and International Business.
Erickson’s areas of interest include macroeconomics, money and banking, Latin America and economic development. He teaches courses on each subject at NMSU and universities around the world. As a visiting professor, he’s taught at schools in Taiwan, Colombia, Mexico and India, starting in 2000.
In addition to his teaching career, Erickson also runs his family’s Oregon-based timber operation, Erickson Enterprises, from Las Cruces. “My family is, and has been, in the timber industry for 100 years,” he said, “and currently, I work part-time as the CEO of that company. So, while I am a business professor, I also run a business.”
More than a decade ago, Erickson helped develop one of the only doctoral programs in the nation centered on economic development at NMSU. About 30 students have since graduated from the program, some of whom have gone on to be city managers, state officials and even professors.
“The program is designed for people who want to be a professional in economic development and who feel they need a stronger background,” he said.
Recently, Erickson also helped establish a bachelor program in energy economics that gives students “a strong practical understanding of the oil and gas industry,” he said.
“That’s a growth industry for the state,” he said, “and we’re hoping our students will be able to find jobs that allow them to stay in New Mexico.”