Kevin Dowd

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Kevin Dowd
Kevin Dowd.jpg
Middlesbrough, England
NationalityDual Irish/British
InstitutionDurham University, Cobden Partners
School or
Free Banking, Austrian economics
Alma materUniversity of Sheffield (PhD) 1988
University of Western Ontario (MA) 1981
University of Sheffield (BA) 1980
InfluencesMilton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Chris R. Tame
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Kevin Dowd is a British economist, having research interests in private money and free banking, monetary systems and macroeconomics, financial risk measurement and management, risk disclosure, political economy and policy analysis, and pensions and mortality modelling. As of this date, he is a partner in Cobden Partners based in London, and Professor of Finance and Economics at Durham University Business School.

Early life and education[edit]

Dowd was born in Middlesbrough in 1958, attended St Mary's College, Middlesbrough and went to the University of Sheffield in 1977 to study economics. He holds a BA in economics from the University of Sheffield, an MA in economics from the University of Western Ontario, and a PhD in macroeconomics from the University of Sheffield.


Dowd is affiliated with the Cato Institute; is a Senior Fellow at The Cobden Centre, an "independent educational charity founded… to undertake research into economic[s] and political science";[1][2] is affiliated with the Institute of Economic Affairs; the Istituto Bruno Leoni; the Independent Institute; and the Pensions Institute.

He has held previous positions with the Ontario Economic Council in Toronto, Sheffield Hallam University, the University of Sheffield, and the University of Nottingham.


Kevin Dowd is a member of the think tank, Economists for Free Trade, and an avid supporter of Brexit. He is a significant contributor for the pro-Brexit lobby group Brexit Central.

Published work[edit]

Dowd's main subject of research is private money and free banking—monetary and financial systems that operate without any government intervention and in the absence of any central bank. A related focus of his work is on central banking and other forms of state intervention into economies, most particularly, on deposit insurance, the lender of last resort and bank capital adequacy regulation. He has repeatedly called for the abolition of central banks and an end to state intervention in the financial system.

He advocates competitive monetary systems. His work, New Private Monies—a Bit-Part Player?, is supportive of private gold money systems such as the Liberty Dollar and e-gold, and expresses support for Bitcoin. Dowd is a supporter of commodity-based monetary systems such as the gold standard and is a critic of fiat-based money issued by a central bank.

Dowd takes a largely Austrian approach to economics, but one that is heavily influenced by the Quantity Theory of Money and the work of monetarists such as Milton Friedman and David Laidler. He supports laissez-faire, and is critical of Keynesian and other interventionist schools of economics.

He has proposed a free-market approach to the resolution of the ongoing financial crisis,[3] based on extended personal liability for senior bankers, the exit of the state from the financial system and the restoration of a sound monetary standard. To this end, he has also advised Steve Baker, the Conservative MP for Wycombe, on his two Private Member's Bills to resolve the crisis: the Financial Services (Regulation of Derivatives) Bill,[4] which sought to restore sound accounting standards, and the Financial Institutions (Reform) Bill,[5] which called for radical reforms to the banking system and an end to state involvement in banking.

Dowd has repeatedly argued that the Global Financial Crisis has never been resolved and that the policies adopted since 2007 have been ineffective, illegal and counter-productive. He believes that a renewed outbreak of the crisis is therefore likely, with the prospects of financial collapse, high inflation and government insolvency around much of the developed world.

Dowd has also written extensively on financial risk measurement and management. He has argued that financial modelling is conceptually invalid because it is based on a naïve 'scientistic' belief that economic systems can be modelled using quantitative methods inappropriately imported from natural sciences such as physics. He is particularly critical of the widely used Value-at-Risk or VaR risk measure,[6] the assumptions inherent to, and so the use of the "normal" or Gaussian distribution in risk management,[7] and the use of financial risk models for regulatory purposes.[8]

Dowd is the co-inventor of the PensionMetrics Defined-Contribution (DC) stochastic pension model,[9] and the Stochastic Lifestyling asset allocation strategy.[10] He and David Blake have proposed a set of good principles in the modelling of DC pension plans,[11] and with Debbie Harrison, Blake and Dowd have recently published two reports into the state of the DC pensions market in the UK: Caveat Venditor,[12] which advocated that pensions should be governed by the principle of seller not buyer beware, and VfM,[13] which examined value for money in the UK pensions market. These reports were critical of the high charges, over-complexity and lack of transparency in the UK pensions industry.

In the life actuarial field, Dowd and collaborators have written on the financial implications of mortality and longevity risk. They invented survivor swaps,[14] survivor swaptions,[11] the CBD mortality model,[15] and the gravity two-population mortality model.[16]

Dowd also works with Cobden Partners, a sovereign advisory service based in London, and is a founding member of the Sofia Business School,[17] based in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Published works[edit]

Books authored[edit]

  • Laissez-Faire Banking (1993). London: Routledge.
  • The State and the Monetary System (1989). New York: St. Martin's.
  • Competition and Finance: A New Interpretation of Financial and Monetary Economics (1996). New York: St. Martin's.
  • Beyond Value at Risk: The New Science of Risk Management (1998). Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley.
  • Money and the Market: Essays on Free Banking (2001). London: Routledge.
  • An Introduction to Market Risk Measurement (2002). Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley.
  • Measuring Market Risk (2nd ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley. 2005 [2002].
  • Abolire le Banche Centrali. Milan, ITA: Istituto Bruno Leoni. 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  • [with Martin Hutchinson] (2010). Alchemists of Loss: How Modern Finance and Government Intervention Crashed the Financial System, Chichester, ENG: John Wiley.

Books edited[edit]

  • The Experience of Free Banking (1992). London: Routledge.
  • [with Richard H. Timberlake] Money and the Nation State: The Financial Revolution, Government, and the World Monetary System. (1998). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, ISBN 9781560003021.
  • [co-ed with Mervyn K. Lewis] Current Issues in Financial and Monetary Economics" (1992). London: Macmillan.

Other significant works[edit]

  • "Private Money—The Path to Monetary Stability". Cobden Centre Hobart Paper. London: Institute of Economic Affairs. 112 (June). 1988.
  • "New Private Monies—A Bit-Part Player?". Cobden Centre Hobart Paper. London: Institute of Economic Affairs. 174 (June). 2014.


  1. ^ Cobden Centre Staff (27 November 2016). "About [the Cobden Centre]". Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  2. ^ Dowd, K. & Cobden Centre Staff (27 November 2016). "Our Team". Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  3. ^ Dowd, K. (2009). "Lessons from the Financial Crisis: A Libertarian Perspective [expanded version of Second Chris R. Tame Memorial Lecture, March 17th, 2009]" (PDF). Libertarian Alliance. Economic Notes No. 111. London: Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 October 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  4. ^ Baker, Steve & House of Commons Staff (27 November 2016). "Financial Services (Regulation of Derivatives) Bill". Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  5. ^ Dowd, K. (9 March 2012). "A Parliamentary blueprint to end banking hazards". Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  6. ^ See, e.g., Dowd, K. & Blake, D. (2006). "After VaR: The Theory, Estimation, and Insurance Applications of Quantile-based Risk Measures" (PDF). J. Risk Insur. 73 (2, June): 193–228. CiteSeerX doi:10.1111/j.1539-6975.2006.00171.x. S2CID 14019798. Retrieved 27 November 2016.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  7. ^ Dowd, K. Cotter, J.; Humphrey, C. G. & Woods, M. (2008). "How Unlucky is 25-Sigma?". The Journal of Portfolio Management. 34 (4): 76–80. arXiv:1103.5672. doi:10.3905/jpm.2008.709984. S2CID 153527288.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  8. ^ Dowd, K.: Hutchinson, M.; Ashby, S. & Hinchliffe, J. (2011). "Capital Inadequacies: The Dismal Failure of the Basel System of Bank Capital Regulation" (PDF). Policy Analysis. Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute. 681 (29 July): 1–38. Retrieved 27 November 2016.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  9. ^ Blake, D.; Cairns, A. J. G. & Dowd, K. (2001). "Pensionmetrics: Stochastic Pension Plan Design and Value-at-Risk during the Accumulation Phase" (PDF). Insur. Math. Econ. 29 (2, October): 187–215. doi:10.1016/S0167-6687(01)00082-8. Retrieved 27 November 2016.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  10. ^ Cairns, A. J. G.; Blake, D. & Dowd, K. (2006). "Stochastic Lifestyling: Optimal Dynamic Asset Allocation for Defined-Contribution Pension Plans" (PDF). J. Econ. Dyn. Control. 30 (5): 843–877. CiteSeerX doi:10.1016/j.jedc.2005.03.009. Retrieved 27 November 2016.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  11. ^ a b Dawson, P.; Dowd, K.; Cairns, A.J.G. & Blake, D. (2009). "Options on Normal Underlyings with an Application to the Pricing of Survivor Swaptions" (PDF). Journal of Futures Markets. 29 (2): 757–774. doi:10.1002/fut.20378. Retrieved 27 November 2016.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  12. ^ Harrison, D.; Blake, D. & Dowd, K. (2012). "Caveat Venditor: The Brave New World of Auto-Enrolment Should be Governed by the Principle of Seller Not Buyer Beware" (PDF). Retrieved 27 November 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  13. ^ Harrison, D.; Blake, D. & Dowd, K. (2014). "VfM" (PDF). Retrieved 27 November 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  14. ^ Dowd, K. (2003). "Survivor Bonds: A Comment on Blake and Burrows" (PDF). J. Risk Insur. 70 (2): 339–348. doi:10.1111/1539-6975.00063. Retrieved 27 November 2016.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  15. ^ Cairns, A. J. G.; Blake, D. & Dowd, K. (2006). "A Two-Factor Model for Stochastic Mortality with Parameter Uncertainty: Theory and Calibration" (PDF). J. Risk Insur. 73 (4, December): 687–718. doi:10.1111/j.1539-6975.2006.00195.x. S2CID 17735380. Retrieved 27 November 2016.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  16. ^ Dowd, K.; Cairns, A. J. G.; Blake, D.; Coughlan, G. D. ; Epstein, D. & Khalaf-Allah, M. (2011). "A Gravity Model of Mortality Rates for Two Related Populations" (PDF). N. Am. Actuar. J. 15 (2, December): 334–356. doi:10.1080/10920277.2011.10597624. S2CID 16096559. Retrieved 27 November 2016.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  17. ^ SBS Staff (27 November 2016). "Sofia Business School". Retrieved 27 November 2016.

External links[edit]