As Economy Struggles, What Can We Do? 3 Professors Will Discuss in Thursday Webinar

Group photo in front of the Rotunda From left to right, David Leblang, Robert Bruner, and David Smith

From left to right, politics professor David Leblang, Darden professor Robert Bruner and McIntire professor David Smith taught a class on the 2008 financial crisis in 2018, when this photo was taken. (Photo by Sanjay Suchak, University Communications)

Find the latest information on the University’s response to the coronavirus here.


Two years ago, University of Virginia professors Robert Bruner, David Smith and David Leblang teamed up to teach a class on the 2008 financial crisis, going over what happened in that crisis and how the country could prepare for the next one.

Now they are turning their attention to the brewing economic crisis fueled by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, Bruner, Smith and Leblang will lead a webinar, “The Developing Economic Crisis and the Pandemic,” hosted by UVA’s Miller Center of Public Affairs, McIntire School of Commerce and Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

The live webinar, to be held Thursday from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. EDT, is free and open to the public via Zoom videoconference. (Register here and join via the Zoom link.) Afterward, video of the event will be available here.

They will discuss the economic consequences of, and possible policy responses to, the COVID-19 pandemic, which in addition to threatening lives and straining the world’s health care systems has sparked turmoil in global markets, forced businesses into unexpected closures and rendered jobs and livelihoods uncertain.

Bruner, Smith and Leblang can bring years of experience and analysis to bear on the questions sparked by this chaos. Bruner is a University Professor and a Distinguished Professor of Business Administration at UVA’s Darden School of Business, where he previously served as dean. He is also a senior fellow at the Miller Center. Smith is a professor of finance and associate dean at the McIntire School of Commerce, and Leblang is the Randolph P. Compton Professor at the Miller Center, the Ambassador Henry J. Taylor and Mrs. Marion R. Taylor Endowed Professor of Politics and a professor of public policy in the Batten School, where he directs the Global Policy Center.

The webinar is one of many events that the Miller Center has moved online, in accordance with UVA’s shift to online classes and the cancellation of all in-person events on Grounds until at least May 15.

Miller Center Director and CEO William Antholis hopes that the events, which include audience participation options, can provide unique insight on the current crisis while helping members of the University community and the public feel connected even in this time of social isolation.  

“During this health and financial crisis, the expertise and research of our faculty and fellows can offer much-needed perspective – which is helpful to policymakers and the wider public,” Antholis said. “I, and a great number of our scholars, have received dozens of inquiries from colleagues in public policy, the media and the private sector looking for insights. Through these webcasts, the Miller Center is able to bring these insights and commentary right into the living rooms of anyone concerned about what is happening around us.”

Information about future webinars is available here, including a discussion with William Taylor, who recently served as acting ambassador to Ukraine and was a key witness in the fall’s impeachment hearings.