Trevor joined the University of Calgary’s Economics Department in the summer of 2012 and previously held a position as Assistant Professor of Economics at the School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. He received his MA and PhD from the University of Toronto and an undergraduate degree in Finance from Simon Fraser University.
His research focuses on the macroeconomic aspects of international trade and, in particular, on the factors influencing a country’s or an industry’s productivity. For example, in previous work published in the Journal of Monetary Economics, he and co-author Michelle Alexopoulos at the University of Toronto measured the stock of management knowledge in the United States and demonstrated that changes in management knowledge influences national productivity. In other work published in the Review of Economic Dynamics, he and co-authors Loren Brandt and Xiaodong Zhu (both at the University of Toronto) measured distortions to capital and labour markets in China, finding they have grown worse in recent years as the state supports government-owned firms in the interior provinces, resulting in significantly lower productivity in China. Most recently, in work forthcoming in the American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, he and co-authors Mara Lederman (Rotman School of Management) and Silke Forbes (Case Western Research University) use evidence from the airline industry to show that firm’s response to mandatory disclosure programs depends importantly on internal organizational characteristics.
His current and ongoing work covers a wide range of topics that builds on his previous research. In particular, he studies the importance of trade in agriculture for poor countries. That is, barriers to food imports by poor countries significantly lower their aggregate productivity, helping us understand the source of differences between rich and poor countries. In other work, with co-author Jennifer Winter (School of Public Policy), he studies the productivity effect of energy intensity standards. They find this type of environmental policy disproportionately burdens smaller firms and aggregate productivity is lower as a result. In another paper, also with Dr. Winter, he measures the cost of trading between states and provinces within countries. These costs are large, and there are substantial gains from internal liberalization – something policy-makers may find easier to accomplish than international trade liberalization.
Outside of work, he takes advantage of the Rockies at every opportunity – enjoying fishing, hiking, skiing, and whatever else can get him out of the office. When weather is not permitting, movies (especially science fiction) are his go-to alternative. Born and raised in BC’s Fraser Valley (just outside Vancouver), he is very happy to be back in the West.
For more information on Prof. Tombe, please visit his webpage.