Olivier Cadot: An Exceptional Academic and Colleague
HEC Lausanne, University of Lausanne, has lost one of its brightest stars: Olivier Cadot, Professor of Strategy and Vice-Dean of the faculty, passed away on 20 March 2019, aged only 61. Professor Cadot was an internationally renowned expert in trade policy and development economics and the co-director of the CREA Institute (Institute of Applied Economics of HEC Lausanne). According to Jean-Philippe Bonardi, the Dean of HEC Lausanne, "Olivier was extremely attached to the University of Lausanne, to our faculty and more generally to his work as a researcher and teacher. This is obviously a great loss for all of us, but I am sure today that he rests in peace".
Olivier Cadot was the personification of a global citizen: of French, Polish and Swiss ancestry, born and raised in France, he completed his undergraduate studies at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and McGill Universities in Montreal, Canada, and obtained his PhD from Princeton University (1991) in the USA. Upon receiving his doctorate, he was appointed to a professorship at INSEAD Fontainebleau (France) and held temporary academic appointments, among others at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), New York University and Koç University (Turkey). Throughout his career, he was a much sought-after expert on trade and development issues, working on numerous missions for the World Bank, mainly in Africa but also in South Asia and Latin America, and often in close collaboration with the Fondation pour les études et recherches sur le développement international (FERDI) in Clermont-Ferrand, France.
First and foremost, Olivier Cadot was a dedicated and productive researcher. Originally trained as an applied economic theorist, he over time became increasingly interested in empirical subjects. Olivier Cadot contributed to the “credibility revolution” in applied economics by deploying and refining quasi-experimental strategies to a variety of topics in trade and development economics. He has published more than 40 papers in international peer-reviewed journals and been appointed as a Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) in London (United Kingdom), Europe’s leading network of academic economists.
Among his best-known work is a model of “corruption as a gamble”, which shows how petty corruption by low-ranking officials and corruption of high-ranking officials can mutually reinforce each other and therefore become very difficult to root out. In other influential papers, he showed how free trade areas can somewhat paradoxically lead to less free trade as members erect higher barriers against non-members, and how transport infrastructure investments are primarily determined by politicians’ electoral concerns rather than by economic efficiency.
Based on his scientific achievements and international reputation, the School appointed Olivier Cadot as Full Professor in 1999. Trained in the rigors of economic theory, his breadth of applied expertise and his skills as a communicator and teacher made him an ideal fit for a position at the intersection between management and economics. He joined what was then the Department of Management, and he over the years significantly contributed to facilitating the exchange of scientific approaches across research traditions within HEC – not least through his dedicated academic stewardship of a large number of PhD and Master theses. He was therefore an ideal candidate to serve as Vice-Dean of Research, which he did with success and dedication since 2015.
Olivier Cadot was a universally popular as well as respected colleague. The Dean Jean-Philippe Bonardi reminisces: "the way he has dealt with the disease and the courage he has shown over many months can only command respect. In addition to all the beautiful things we have experienced with him, that is also what I think we must remember".
According to his colleague and co-author Marius Brülhart, “Olivier was an inspiration. Whatever the context - an Extranef seminar room, a faculty meeting at the Dean’s office, a tennis court in Crissier, or a World Bank mission in Kinshasa – his contributions were often witty and always wise.”
par Myriam Bango-Lepage (Faculté des HEC)