We are deeply shocked and saddened to hear the news about the passing of Jaime Ros, our mentor and friend. Over the coming weeks, there will be many tributes paying respect to this great economist and intellectual giant, and his place among the structuralist macroeconomists from Mexico, Latin America, and the global South. He was among the living legends with his contributions to economic development and structural change. Those tributes are all true. For us who had the privilege of knowing him, however, what we will miss the most is his incredible generosity, kindness, and humor. He was a truly beautiful person. He was one of a kind whose brilliance and intellectual depth merged flawlessly with his continuing support and generosity for all those around him.
We have personally known Jaime since 2000 when we both started as graduate students in the economics department at the University of Notre Dame. He was one of the main reasons we went to Notre Dame for a Ph.D. in economics. Jaime came to serve as chair of Firat and member of Omar's dissertation committees. His approach to economic analysis, and his own work on macroeconomics, economic growth, development, and trade were hugely influential on our thinking as it was for so many economists and development practitioners in Latin America and the global South.
Jaime was an incredibly kind person, the opposite of the stereotypical detached graduate adviser. He was boundlessly generous with his time, which we both took advantage of over the years, perhaps to the degree of abuse. We shared offices very close to Jaime’s (he was instrumental in getting us that office space, which was rare for graduate students at ND outside tiny library carrels) and we would stop by for every single question we had. Jaime would listen, then give the most critical and to the point feedback we could have hoped. Every single line we have written would be read with the most inquisitive curiosity. Jaime could recognize any gap in theory or argument from miles away and would teach us how to do the same. He was not patronizing or condescending to anyone, the least to his students or colleagues.
He was equally not forgiving any abuse of power or stupidity, which we witnessed first-hand during the brutal demolition of the unique heterodox economics department by the administration at the University of Notre Dame. Both during and after graduate studies, he supported our professional development at every turn, from nominating us for grants and fellowships, to providing us with publishing opportunities when we were just starting off as young scholars. He continued to show this same generosity long after we had graduated and he left Notre Dame. His feedback on our paper drafts or even preliminary thoughts is noticeable in every paper and book we have written. As two students who came and were interested in the Middle East, Jaime gifted us a comparative and global outlook that remains part of our work. Though generally reserved in public, or at least appears to be, he was a different person with his close friends and students, and we feel lucky to have gotten to know his incredibly fun side. His jokes and humor, his love for life, and his affection for his family and loved ones taught us lessons that are beyond measure. We will miss his intellectual and moral compass, and most importantly his friendship. We lost a true friend.
Firat Demir and Omar Dahi