The Life and Times of Mardi Dungey at ANU

25 January 2019

By Warwick McKibbin

On January 12, 2019, Australia lost one of its leading macroeconomists with the death of Professor Mardi Dungey. Mardi made major contributions to society through her research, her supervision of students, her mentoring of junior academics, her many professional contributions to the economics profession and academia more generally. She was also a wonderful co-author to many people around the world. Although a Tasmanian in her heart, Mardi spent a substantial amount of her professional life contributing to the academic life at ANU. At the time of her death Mardi was Professor of Economics and Finance in the School of Economics and Finance at the University of Tasmania; Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Financial Analysis & Policy at the Judge Business School in the University of Cambridge and Adjunct Professor in the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University.

Mardi started her outstanding academic career with a Bachelor of Economics degree with Honours from the University Tasmania in 1988. In her Honours year, Mardi was awarded a highly competitive cadetship at the Reserve Bank of Australia in 1988. After completing her degree, she then worked as a researcher in the International Department at the Reserve Bank. In 1994 she moved to the ANU Research School of Social Sciences to undertake a PhD in Economics. She completed her PhD in 1998. Her thesis on "International Influences on the Australian Economy" was an important contribution to empirical research on the Australian economy. She continued to work on the Australian economy throughout her career. While completing her dissertation, Mardi worked for a period as Consultant, at Econtech, a private consulting form, on macro-econometric modelling. From June to October 1997 she was a Visiting Fellow in the ANU Department of Econometrics and Statistics. In 1998 Mardi left ANU and accepted a Senior Lecturer position at LaTrobe University

It wasn't long before Mardi again returned to ANU in 2000 as a Fellow in the Economics Department in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (RSPAS). During 2000 she simultaneously held a teaching position as a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Economics, Australian National University. She was also heavily engaged with advising the Australian Treasury on econometrics and the development of their macro-econometric models. Her contributions to the modeling in Treasury was again fundamental while serving on the Treasury Expert panel up until her death.

During her second period at ANU as a junior academic, Mardi was a dynamo who significantly contributed to the RSPAS economics department through her supervision of PhD students and administrative leadership in all student matters. In addition, she was a key person at important strategic meetings in the University. Mardi had an unusual balance of common sense, outstanding academic ability and an entrepreneurial flare. She was innovative in her role as PhD student coordinator and contributed enormously to her colleagues' research through offering generous advice on econometric issues. She was instrumental in establishing the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis (CAMA) in 2003 and was the inaugural Deputy Director of CAMA. She remained active in CAMA as co-Director of the Program in Finance and the Macroeconomy until her death.

In 2005 Mardi moved to Cambridge University after her research on financial contagion and macroeconomic interdependence became internationally recognized. She then became the Deputy Director of the Cambridge Endowment for Research in Finance (CERF). During her time at Cambridge Mardi continued her research on Australia and also created a large network of co-authors and students who she subsequently brought to Australia on a regular basis. In 2008 Mardi returned to Australia as Professor of Economics and Finance at the University of Tasmania.  The networks Mardi built and her willingness to create public goods for all to benefit from is another of Mardi's key contributions. Internationally renowned economists would come to Australia to visit Mardi in Hobart, but the benefit would be shared throughout the Australian economics community through conferences, workshops and joint visiting opportunities.

Mardi was a global researcher. During her career she held visiting positions at the International Monetary Fund, University of Cambridge, Princeton University, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and the Australian and New Zealand Treasuries.

In addition to her intellectual contributions, her energy and enthusiasm for knowledge, Mardi will best be known as a generous colleague. She contributed mightily to improving the opportunities for junior academics and especially women in the economics profession. She supervised and mentored countless students.

In recognition of her contributions to academic scholarship in Australia, in 2013, Mardi was made a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.

The Australian National University community has lost a valuable colleague.