The Scott L. Probasco Distinguished Chair of Free Enterprise is held by Claudia R. Williamson.
The Probasco Chair of Free Enterprise was established in 1977 by an initial bequest from the estate of Burkett Miller and is among the largest endowed chairs of free enterprise in the nation.
The mission of the Chair is to study the American free enterprise system and the conditions under which it operates most efficiently, engage in high-level scholarly research, and contribute to the public knowledge and understanding of economic theory and practice. In addition to hosting a number of international conferences, the Probasco Chair also hosts the Burkett Miller Distinguished Lecture Series, an annual event that brings notable scholars, practitioners and thinkers to the UTC campus to address topics critical to understanding the market economy. Past lecturers have included a number of Nobel Laureates, economists, and world leaders.
The Probasco Chair also directs the Center for Economic Education and serves as a tenured faculty member in the Department of Finance and Economics in the Rollins College of Business teaching courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels in economics. Through education and research, the Probasco chair helps develop the political, social, and economic environment which permits private enterprise to achieve its proper perspective in American economic life.
Before coming to UTC, Williamson served as Associate Professor of Economics and the Drew Allen Endowed Fellow at Mississippi State University. She was also Co-Director of the Institute for Market Studies at Mississippi State University.
Her main research interests lie at the intersection of applied economic development and political economy. A common thread of her work is the combination of incentive and knowledge arguments revealing interesting, and at times, unconventional results. She currently serves as an editor for the Journal of Institutional Economics.
Williamson has authored more than 40 articles in refereed journals, including the Journal of Law and Economics, World Development, Journal of Comparative Economics, Public Choice, Journal of Corporate Finance, and others. She has co-edited two books, contributed multiple chapters to edited books, written book reviews, and policy briefs. Her research has also appeared in popular press outlets, such as The Economist and the BBC.
At the undergraduate level, Williamson primarily teaches Principles of Microeconomics. She also teaches three doctoral seminars, and has taught Economics for Managers in the MBA program, international economic development at the undergraduate level, and co-taught a doctoral seminar on insider trading. She was coordinator for the Ph.D. program in Economics. She currently serves on the editorial board of Public Choice and on the Association of Private Enterprise Education executive committee. In addition, she has served on the Nominating Committee to the Southern Economic Association. In 2014, she was appointed to a two-year term to serve on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Mississippi Advisory Committee.
A native of West Virginia, Williamson earned her B.B.A. in economics from Marshall University, summa cum laude and with University Honors, in 2004. She completed her Ph.D. in economics at West Virginia University in May 2008. She spent the 2007-2008 year at George Mason University as the F.A. Hayek Visiting Scholar in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. She was a post-doctoral fellow at the Development Research Institute of New York University from 2009-2012, and she spent the 2008-2009 year as an assistant professor of economics at Appalachian State University. During the summer of 2007, she performed fieldwork on land titling in rural Peru.