Ordinary Academicians

Albino F. Barrera, OP

Rev. Fr. Prof.

Albino F. Barrera, OP

Date of birth 03 January 1956

Place Manila, Philippines (Asia)

Nomination 14 September 2021

Field Economics; Theology

Title Professor of Economics and Theology, Providence College, Rhode Island, USA

  • Biography
  • Publications
  • Self-Presentation

Most important awards, prizes and academies
Editorial board member, Journal of Catholic Social Thought, 2003-16; Trustee, Association of Social Economics, 2002-03; Referee for Review of Social Economy, 1997-2000, 2003, 2004, 2006; Referee for Journal of Religious Ethics, 1999; Referee for Journal of Human Resources, 1996, 1998; Book manuscript referee: (Economics) Georgetown University Press, 2004; Book manuscript referee: (Theology) Cambridge University Press, 2005; Book manuscript referee: (Economics) Routledge, 2005; Member, Association of Christian Economists; Member, Association of Social Economics; Member, Society of Christian Ethics;  International advisory board member, Scripta Theologica, University of Navarra, 2009-17; Member, Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, 2018-.

Summary of scientific research
Fr Barrera is a member of the St. Joseph Province (New York) of the Order of Preachers and was ordained to the priesthood in 1993. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Yale University with a specialization in development economics. He earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) from the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC. Fr. Barrera teaches and writes on the theology of economic life and on the economics of the Catholic Church’s care for the marginalized. He has explored how economics and moral theology can mutually reinforce each other in facilitating human flourishing.

Main publications
Books: Catholic Missionaries and Their Work with the Poor: Mitigating Market-Government Failure in Emerging Nations (Studies in World Christianity and Interreligious Relations) (London & New York: Routledge; January 2019; 276 pages; ISBN-10: 0367029189; ISBN-13: 978-0367029180); Biblical Economic Ethics: Sacred Scripture’s Teachings on Economic Life (Lantham, MD: Lexington Books [Rowman & Littlefield imprint]; August 2013; 378 pages; ISBN-10: 0739182293; ISBN-13: 978-0739182291); Market Complicity and Christian Ethics (Cambridge University Press, January 2011; 326 pages; ISBN-10: 1107003156 ISBN-13: 978-1107003156); Globalization and Economic Ethics: Distributive Justice in the Knowledge Economy (Palgrave Macmillan, December 2007; 272 pages; ISBN-10: 0230600891 ISBN-13: 978-0230600898); Economic Compulsion and Christian Ethics (Cambridge University Press, September 2005; 266 pages; ISBN-10: 0521853419; ISBN-13: 9780521853415); God and the Evil of Scarcity: Moral Foundations of Economic Agency (University of Notre Dame Press, November 2005; 287 pages; ISBN: 0-268-02192-9; ISBN: 0-268-02193-7); Modern Catholic Social Documents and Political Economy (Georgetown University Press, 352 pages, October 2001, ISBN: 0-87840-856-8).
Latest Articles in Peer-Reviewed Academic Journals and Handbooks: "The Role of Maternal Schooling and Its Interaction with Public Health Programs in Child Health Production," Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 32 (1990), pp. 69-91. Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. (North Holland). Reprinted as Yale Economic Growth Center Paper No. 438.  Yale University (New Haven); "The Interactive Effects of Mother's Schooling and Unsupplemented Breastfeeding on Child Health," Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 34 (1991), pp. 81-98. Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. (North Holland); "Exchange Value Determination: Scholastic Just Price, Economic Theory and Modern Catholic Social Thought," History of Political Economy 29:1 (Spring 1997), pp. 83-116; "Degrees of Unmet Need in the Superfluous Income Criterion," Review of Social Economy 55:4 (Winter 1997), pp. 464-486; "Mater et Magistra and the Import Substitution Strategy to Development," Journal for Peace and Justice Studies 9:2 (1998), 69-86; “From Obligations to Rights: Economic Progress and the Language of Ethical Discourse,” Downside Review 117:406 (January 1999), 41-58; "The Evolution of Social Ethics: Using Economic History to Understand Economic Ethics," Journal of Religious Ethics 27:2 (Summer 1999), 285-304; “Economic Life, Rights, and Obligations: Perspectives from Theological Teleology,” Forum for Social Economics 29:1 (Fall 1999), 63-74; "Social Principles as a Framework for Ethical Analysis (With an application to the Tobin tax)," Journal of Business Ethics 23:4 (February 2000), 377-88; “Open Markets and the Ethics of Collective Bargaining: Justice as Mutual Advantage in Distress,” Labor Law Journal, March 2001, 41-49; “A Case for Incorporating Moral Philosophy in an Economics Curriculum,” Teaching Ethics (Journal of the Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum) 3:41-58.

I had studied and worked as an engineer but eventually decided to work on a graduate degree in economics because it is a powerful discipline in improving the lives of the poor and the marginalized. As I was finishing my degree in economics, I discerned a call to religious life and priesthood. As an economist, I could be instrumental in providing food, clothing, shelter, and medical care to make life a little easier for those who are suffering. However, I realized that there is so much more that I could share and that is my faith.

I am a member of the Order of Preachers, more commonly known as the Dominican Order. Since my ordination to the priesthood, I have been serving as Professor of Economics and Theology at Providence College in Rhode Island. It has been a grace-filled ministry of preaching, teaching, and writing. My research and teaching have centered on the intersection of economics and theology.

For example, one of my more recent books is on Catholic missionaries worldwide and their work with the poor. They contribute significantly to building civil society and enjoy what may be called “last mile comparative advantages” in poverty alleviation given how well they know the impoverished communities they serve.

I also just finished editing the Oxford Handbook of Religion and Economics Ethics, which synthesizes and analyzes the teachings of the major world and regional religions on economic morality. Despite their substantial differences in governance and practices, religions nevertheless surprisingly converge in their views on upright socioeconomic life. Such common beliefs are a good springboard for interreligious dialogue. Religions share much more in common than they realize.

My current research examines how the Church’s work with the poor mitigates failures in civil society, the market, and government. I very much look forward to contributing to the work of the Pontifical Academy. Thank you!

Professional Address

St. Thomas Aquinas Priory
Providence College
1 Cunningham Square
Providence, RI 02918-0001