Leopoldo (Polo) Rodriguez
Associate Professor of International and Development Studies
PhD in Economics, University of Texas (Austin)
I grew up in two major cities in Latin America: Buenos Aires and Mexico City. The social contrasts and economic problems I witnessed growing up led me to seek solutions in the field of economics when seeking a B.A. at the University of Texas-Austin. Heterodox approaches to economics made a strong impression on me, particularly in their relevance to conditions present in developing countries. Seeking to step from theory into policy led me to a Master in Public Affairs at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, only to rediscover the call of theory and my desire for an academic job, resulting in a PhD in Economics, once again from UT-Austin.
My research interests are broad and interdisciplinary. I have worked on labor markets, migration, financial crises, the political economy of market reforms, rural development and the Cyprus conflict. Currently I have a strong interest in sustainability, particularly in critically assessing attempts to impose monetary values on the environment and the associated commodification of nature. I am also engaged on research on rural development in a small community in NW Argentina, particularly paying attention to ongoing demographic changes associated with shifts in economic activities and income opportunities. I hope that my research in the region will be slowly transformed into projects directly benefitting members of the community.
I am a gregarious person who enjoys teaching and have high expectations from my students. My background in economics gives my courses a marked orientation; something that at times represents an unexpected challenge to students. I am passionate about what I teach and hope to get students fired up about the things that excite me. I do not claim objectivity, but do make an attempt to present several sides to any one issue, leaving it up to my students to decide where they stand after weighting the evidence.
I have ample teaching experience, starting at UT-Austin, followed by Austin Community College in Austin, Eastern Mediterranean University in North Cyprus and, since 2001, Portland State University. I have led study abroad courses in Rosario and San Pedro de Colalao, Argentina. In Fall 2014 I will lead a study abroad course in Oviedo, Spain.
East Hall Building 346
On sabbatical 2014-2015