University of Birmingham mourns the passing of renowned economist Peter Sinclair

Peter Sinclair inside
Peter Sinclair was Professor of Economics at the University of Birmingham since 1994

Peter Sinclair, Emeritus Economics Professor at the Birmingham Business School sadly passed away on 31 March 2020 aged 73 after spending some weeks in intensive care battling Covid-19.

Peter was Professor of Economics at the University of Birmingham since 1994. From 2012 when he retired, Peter continued teaching at the University as an Emeritus Professor. Before taking up his post at the University of Birmingham, he had taught Economics at Oxford for 24 years, mainly in economic theory, monetary policy and international economics as a fellow and tutor in economics at Brasenose College, where he also served as a junior Dean of the college.

Respected widely in his field, Peter had published widely on a range of economic subjects including the optimal rate of inflation, unemployment, tax questions, central bank independence, the costs and benefits of monetary union, and international trade policy.

Outside the University of Birmingham, Peter Sinclair contributed his expertise and knowledge with the Bank of England. In 2000, he served as the Director of the Bank of England's Centre for Central Banking Studies (CCBS) where he taught central bank staff from all over the world, both in London and overseas. He maintained strong links with the Bank of England even after he stood down as Director in 2008 often returning as a visiting academic, advising on research and teaching graduate entrants for many years. He also advised numerous overseas central banks, contributed to a number of CCBS and Bank of England publications, including the Bank's Quarterly Bulletin, often providing an academic's perspective on contemporary monetary issues.

Peter Sinclair was also the author of numerous articles and books on economics. He wrote one with his first wife (now deceased) the economist Shelagh Heffernan.

Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Birmingham led the tributes for Peter Sinclair:

"We have just received the terribly sad news that Professor Peter Sinclair, who joined Birmingham as Professor of Economics in 1994, has died after battling with the effects of Coronavirus. Our thoughts and deep sympathies are with his family. Peter was a great figure in two universities. He is widely known as David Cameron’s tutor when the future Prime Minister was his student at Brasenose College, Oxford.

“The record of Peter’s students who went on to great things is remarkable, and a remarkable testimony to him as a great teacher. Peter was a very fine economist, and an economist who believed that economics was not a ‘dismal science’ but a discipline that, properly practiced, would and should make the world a better place. I remember Peter as someone who was wholeheartedly committed to our University, to making the experience of students better, and to giving many access to, and understanding of, the discipline of economics. He was a self-effacing, but much-loved, presence at events I hosted, always appreciative of the insights and kindness of others, gentle but authoritative in everything he said, and someone whose company many people relished. In the sadness of his loss we remember how much he gave, and how generously he did it."

Peter was known as a lecturer who had a great rapport with his students, often keeping in touch with many of them after they had graduated. He has had some notable students  such as David Cameron, the former British Prime Minister, King Letsie III of Lesotho, Baroness Camilla Cavendish, a British journalist and former Director of Policy at Number 10 Downing Street and Sir Dave Ramsden, a former Chief Economic Adviser to HM Treasury to name but a few.

On top of his academic contribution to economics, Peter served as a consultant to the Financial Services Authority, the Treasury and the US Department of Labour. He also was a visiting professor at the University of British Columbia and Queen's University in Canada. He was a visiting professor at the London School of Economics and University of Warwick, as well as chairman of the Royal Economic Society Easter School, and the International Economics Study Group.

Professor Catherine Cassell, Dean of Birmingham Business School, also paid tribute to Peter Sinclair's legacy and contribution:

"Peter was well-loved, not just by our colleagues in Economics, but also by many across the School. He had endless time for colleagues and students, and was always passionate and enthused when discussing how Economics could make the world a better place.  I know that this will particularly hit our colleagues in the Economics Department and my thoughts are with you all. For others, it will also bring the impact of this virus closer to home."

Peter is survived by his wife, Jayne Ivimey, who he married in 2016.

An online book of condolence page has been set up for people to leave a message in memory of Peter Sinclair.

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