Current President

Professor Richard Holden is Professor of Economics at the UNSW Business School, Director of Economics of Education Knowledge Hub and co-Director of the New Economic Policy Initiative at the University of NSW in Sydney.

He received his B.Ec and M.Phil degrees from the University of Sydney before receiving an AM and a PhD in economics from Harvard University. He worked in the private sector then at the University of Chicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before returning to take up a professorship and ARC Future Fellowship at UNSW. He has also held Visiting Professorships at the Havard Economics Department, the MIT Sloan School of Management, the University of Chicago Law School and Columbia Law School.

Professor Holden’s research focuses on contract theory, organizational economics, law and economics, and political economy. He has published extensively in the scholarly and popular press, and is currently editor of the Journal of Law and Economics.

He appears regularly as a media commentator in the Australian and international press, and has published opinion pieces in outlets including The Australian Financial Review, The Australian, The New York Times, The New Republic, and The Sydney Morning Herald. He wrote a weekly column called Vital Signs for The Conversation until 2022 and now writes an exclusive weekly column for the Australian Financial Review.

Professor Holden was elected to the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in 2016 and commenced his three-year term as President in 2022. He is also a Fellow of the Econometric Society, a Distinguished Fellow of the Luohan Academy, and a Senior Academic Fellow at the e61 Institute.

Past presidents

  • 1943-52           Dr Kenneth Cunningham
  • 1952-53           Professor Sir Douglas Copland
  • 1953-58           Sir Leslie Melville
  • 1958-62           Professor Sydney Butlin
  • 1962-64           Professor Wilfred Borrie
  • 1964-66           Professor William O’Neil
  • 1966-69           Professor Percy Partridge

Social Science Research Council incorporates as the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia

  • 1969–72           Professor Richard (Dick) Downing
  • 1972–75           Professor Geoffrey Sawer AO
  • 1975–78           Professor Fred Gruen AO
  • 1978–81           Professor Alan Shaw AO
  • 1981–84           Professor Keith Hancock AO
  • 1984–87           Professor Joseph Issac AO
  • 1987–90           Professor Peter Karmel AC
  • 1990–93           Professor Peter Sheehan AO
  • 1993–97           Professor Paul Bourke

(Terms commencing 1 January)

  • 1998–00           Professor Fay Gale AO
  • 2001–03           Professor Leon Mann AO
  • 2004–06           Professor Sue Richardson AM
  • 2007–09           Professor Stuart Macintyre AO
  • 2010–12           Professor Barry McGaw AO
  • 2013–15           Professor Deborah Terry AO
  • 2016–18           Professor Glenn Withers AO
  • 2019-21            Professor Jane Hall AO