ITQs and Resource Rent Taxes: Monday 14 October 17–19

Professor Arni Vilhjalmsson

An international conference in memory of Professor Arni Vilhjalmsson, who passed away 5 March 2013, will be held in the ceremonies hall of the University of Iceland Monday 14 October, 17–19, jointly organised by the School of Social Sciences at the University of Iceland and RNH. Professor Vilhjalmsson was a respected and popular scholar and teacher at the University, but also a successful entrepreneur and business pioneer who sat on the board of many leading Icelandic enterprises, including Icelandair, Kassagerdin, Armannsfell, Nyherji, Hampidjan, Verdbrefathing and Venus. He ran, with his associates, one of the most prominent fishing firms in Iceland, Grandi. Born 11 May 1932, Vilhjalmsson studied economics and finance at the University of Oslo and at Harvard University, before working at the World Bank in Washington, the Icelandic Bank of Enterprise, and the Icelandic Ministry of Commerce. In 1961, he was appointed Professor of Finance in the Faculty of Business Administration at the University of Iceland.  “Arni Vilhjalmsson was an outstanding teacher, with an original and powerful mind and very helpful to his students. It was the common view of those of us who studied under him in business administration that he was by far the best teacher there because of his impeccable scholarship and deep understanding of the economy”, Professor Ragnar Arnason, the chairman of RNH’s Academic Council, wrote about Professor Vilhjalmsson.

Professor Arni Vilhjalmsson served for a long time on the board of Landsbanki which is one of the two main sponsors of the conference. The keynote speaker at the conference is an international authority on fisheries management: Ralph Townsend, Professor of Economics at the University of Maine, Dean of the Liberal Arts College at Winona State University in Minnesota and a former chief economist of the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries, will talk about the system of individual transferable quotas in fisheries as a means to ensure the most efficient utilisation of fish stocks. Professor Townsend, a former President of the North American Association of Fisheries Economists, has contributed to many books and journals on natural resource management. Professor Ragnar Arnason, the author of several books and scholarly papers in fisheries economics, will discuss the arguments for and against a resource rent tax in the fisheries. Dr. Gunnar H. Haraldsson, Director of the Economic Research Institute of the University of Iceland, will give a paper on the CFP, Common Fisheries Policy, of the EU, the experience and the outlook. Professor Hannes H. Gissurarson, the author of Overfishing: The Icelandic Solution, will speak about the moral and political aspects of natural resource management. The meeting will be chaired by Dadi Mar Kristofersson, the President of the School of Social Sciences.

On this occasion, the leaders of Hvalur Inc., a whaling company, will give the University of Iceland a bust of Professor Vilhjalmsson, to be set up in Oddi, the Social Sciences House at the University. The bust is made by sculptor Gerdur Gunnarsdottir, and Professor Vilhjalmsson’s widow, Ingibjorg Bjornsdottir, will reveal it. With Landsbanki, Hvalur Inc. is the main sponsor of the conference. This whaling company was run by Professor Vilhjalmsson and his closest business associate, Kristjan Loftsson. The conference also forms a part of the joint RNH-AECR project on “Europe, Iceland and the Future of Capitalism”.

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