Vela Velupillai
Kumaraswamy (Vela) Velupillai
Born (1947-09-25)September 25, 1947
Colombo, British Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka)
Alma mater University of Kyoto
University of Lund
University of Cambridge
Scientific career
Fields Computable Economics
Macroeconomic Theory
History of economic thought
Philosophy of Economics
Institutions University of Trento, Italy
New School for Social Research, Italy
Doctoral advisor Richard Goodwin

Kumaraswamy (Vela) Velupillai (born 1947) is an academic economist and a Senior Visiting Professor at the Madras School of Economics and was, formerly, (Distinguished) Professor of Economics at the New School for Social Research in New York City and Professore di Chiara Fama in the Department of Economics at the University of Trento, Italy.[1]

Current work

His work is almost entirely devoted to Computable Economics, Macroeconomic Theory and the History and Philosophy of Economics. Within Computable Economics, his major focus has been an attempt to mathematize economic theory--both micro and macro theory--using the methods of recursion theory and constructive mathematics.


His high school education was at Royal College Colombo. He obtained his undergraduate degree from the Faculty of Engineering at Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan; he obtained a master's degree in economics at the Department of Economics, University of Lund, Lund, Sweden and a PhD in economics at Cambridge University (King's College). His PhD supervisor, initially, was Lord Kaldor and, subsequently, and decisively, Richard Goodwin.

Academic posts

He has held tenured and visiting appointments at the European University Institute, Fiesole, Italy, UCLA, the People's University in Beijing and several other European Universities and Research Institutions. He is the founder of the Algorithmic Social Sciences Research Unit[2] at the University of Trento.

A Festschrift in Vela Velupillai's honour, Computable, Constructive and Behavioural Economic Dynamics,[3] edited by Stefano Zambelli, was published by Routledge. A Special Issue of the journal New Mathematics and Natural Computation, edited by Shu-Heng, in honour of Vela Velupillai, was published in March, 2012.


He lists, in an autobiographical statement, those who have influenced him, in his visions of economics. They are, primarily, the following:

Key books

  • Nonlinear and Multisectoral Macrodynamics: Essays in Honour of Richard Goodwin. (edited) Macmillan, London, 1989.
  • Computable Economics (The Fourth Arne Ryde Lectures) Oxford University Press, January, 2000.
  • Computable Foundations for Economics, Routledge, February, 2010. ISBN 978-0-415-35567-4
  • The International Library of Critical Writings in Economics: The Elgar Companion to Computable Economics, Editor (with the assistance of: Stephen Kinsella & Stefano Zambelli), Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, November, 2011

Main articles

  • "Irving Fisher on `Switches of Techniques´: A Historical Note", Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. LXXXIX, No. 4, November, pp. 679-680, 1975.
  • "Rationality, Computability and Complexity", (with B. Rustem), Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Vol. 14, No. 2, May, pp. 419-432, 1990.
  • "The Vintage Economist", The Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisation, Vol.37, No.1, Sep., pp. 1-31, 1998.
  • "Richard Goodwin: 1913-1996", The Economic Journal, Vol. 108, September, 1998, pp. 1436-1449.
  • "Effectivity and Constructivity in Economic Theory", The Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Vol.49, Issue, 3, pp. 307-325, November, 2002.
  • Velupillai, K. V. (2005). "The unreasonable ineffectiveness of mathematics in economics". Cambridge Journal of Economics. 29 (6): 849. doi:10.1093/cje/bei084. 
  • Velupillai, K. Vela (2006). "Algorithmic foundations of computable general equilibrium theory". Applied Mathematics and Computation. 179: 360. doi:10.1016/j.amc.2005.11.113. 
  • Velupillai, K. Vela (2006). "A disequilibrium macrodynamic model of fluctuations". Journal of Macroeconomics. 28 (4): 752. doi:10.1016/j.jmacro.2004.10.002. 
  • "Sraffa's Constructive Mathematical Economics", Journal of Economic Methodology, Vol. 15, No.4, December, pp. 325-348, 2008.
  • "The Mathematization of Macroeconomics", Economia Politica [Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics], Vol. XXV, Issue 3, August, pp. 283-316, 2008.
  • "Uncomputability and Undecidability in Economic Theory", Applied Mathematics and Computation, Vol. 215, Issue 4, 15 October, pp. 1404-1416, 2009.
  • "Variations on the Theme of Conning in Mathematical Economics", "Journal of Economic Surveys", Volume 21, Issue 3, 466-505, July 2007.
  • "Development Economics without Growth Theory", Economia Politica[Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics], Vol.XXVII, Issue 1,9-54, 2010.
  • Velupillai, K. Vela (2011). "Towards an Algorithmic Revolution In Economic Theory". Journal of Economic Surveys. 25 (3): 401. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6419.2011.00684.x. 
  • "The Phillips Machine and the Epistemology of Analogue Computation", Economia Politica [Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics], Vol. XXVII, 39-62, Special Issue, 2011.
  • Ragupathy, Venkatachalam; Velupillai, Kumaraswamy Vela (2012). "Origins and Early Development of the Nonlinear Endogenous Mathematical Theory of the Business Cycle". Economia politica. 29 (1): 45-80. doi:10.1428/36746 (inactive 2017-02-07). 
  • Velupillai, K. Vela (2012). "Taming the Incomputable, Reconstructing the Nonconstructive and Deciding the Undecidable in Mathematical Economics". New Mathematics and Natural Computation. 08: 5. doi:10.1142/S1793005712400017. 
  • Kao, Ying-Fang; Ragupathy, V.; Velupillai, K. Vela; Zambelli, Stefano (2012). "Noncomputability, unpredictability, undecidability, and unsolvability in economic and finance theories". Complexity. 18: 51. doi:10.1002/cplx.21410. 
  • Velupillai, K. V. (2013). "Towards a political economy of the theory of economic policy". Cambridge Journal of Economics. 38 (6): 1329. doi:10.1093/cje/bet059. 
  • Velupillai, K.Vela; Kao, Ying-Fang (2014). "Computable and computational complexity theoretic bases for Herbert Simon's cognitive behavioral economics". Cognitive Systems Research. 29-30: 40. doi:10.1016/j.cogsys.2013.07.005. 
  • Kao, Ying-Fang; Velupillai, K. Vela (2013). "Behavioural economics: Classical and modern". The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought. 22 (2): 236. doi:10.1080/09672567.2013.792366. 
  • Vela Velupillai, K. (2014). "Constructive and computable Hahn-Banach theorems for the (second) fundamental theorem of welfare economics". Journal of Mathematical Economics. 54: 36. doi:10.1016/j.jmateco.2014.08.004. 
  • Velupillai, K. Vela (2013). "Negishi's Theorem and Method: Computable and Constructive Considerations". Computational Economics. 45 (2): 183. doi:10.1007/s10614-013-9416-5. 
  • Velupillai, K. Vela (2015). "Iteration,tâtonnement, computation and economic dynamics". Cambridge Journal of Economics. 39 (6): 1551. doi:10.1093/cje/bev051. 
  • Vela Velupillai, K. (2016). "Seven Kinds of Computable and Constructive Infelicities in Economics". New Mathematics and Natural Computation. 12 (3): 219. doi:10.1142/S1793005716500150. 

International Awards, Fellowships, Memberships & Prizes


  • Elected Member, Turing Centenary Advisory Committee (TCAC), December, 2010[5]
  • Elected to give the Herbert Simon Lectures at the National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan, March, 2010.
  • Elected to give the Krishna Bharadwaj Lecture, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, March, 2010.
  • Elected Foreign Member, Moral Sciences Division of the Juridical, Political and Economic Sciences, Istituto Lombardo, Italy, July, 2010.
  • Awarded the '2009 Nord-Sud Fondazione Pescarabbruzzo Prize'[6] for the Social Sciences, Fondazione Pescarabbruzzo, Pescara, Italy, October, 2009.
  • Elected Foreign Corresponding Member of the Brazilian Academy of Philosophy, 17 April 2006.
  • Elected to give the Laudatio Lecture in Honour of Richard Day, Max Planck Institute, Jena, May, 2008.
  • Elected to a Visiting Fellowship, Peterhouse, Cambridge, 2001.
  • Honorary Professor, Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast, UK, 1998-2003.
  • Standing Senior Visiting Professor, Madras School of Economics, Chennai, India,1998 --.
  • Distinguished Invited Lecturer, Central Bank of Uruguay, Montevideo, Uruguay,1998.
  • Elected to give the Arne Ryde Lectures, University of Lund, Sweden, 1994.
  • US National Science Foundation/Ford Foundation Visiting Professorship at the People's University, Beijing, China, 1988.
  • C.O.R.E, Research Fellowship, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium, 1977/78.

Distinguished students

  • Stefano Zambelli
  • Shu-Heng Chen
  • Francesco Luna
  • Serena Sordi
  • Stephen Kinsella
  • Navaneethakrishnan Dharmaraj
  • Venkatachalam Ragupathy
  • Ying-Fang Kao (Selda Kao)
  • Ilker Aslantepe
  • Isabella Weber


  1. ^ a b "CURRICULUM VITAE : Kumaraswamy (Vela) Velupillai" (PDF). Retrieved . 
  2. ^ "CURRICULUM VITAE : Kumaraswamy (Vela) Velupillai" (PDF). Retrieved . 
  3. ^ "Computable, Constructive and Behavioural Economic Dynamics: Essays in Honour of Kumaraswamy (Vela) Velupillai (Hardback)". Routledge. Retrieved . 
  4. ^ "Origins and Pioneers of Behavioural Economics", "Interdisciplinary Journal of Economics and Business Law", Vol.1, Issue.3, 47-73, 2012. (with Ying-Fang Kao)
  5. ^ "The Alan Turing Year - 2012 Turing Centenary". Retrieved . 
  6. ^ [1]

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