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Ben Tipton

Ben Tipton

AB Stan. AM PhD Harv.
Emeritus Professor

Rm N314
H03 - Institute Building
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

Telephone +61 2 9351 3552
Fax +61 2 9036 5378


Professor Frank B. (Ben) Tipton holds a Personal Chair in the Discipline of International Business. He has taught at the University of Sydney since 1979, having previously held positions at Harvard University, Wesleyan University, Connecticut, and the University of California, Riverside. He served as Head of Department and then Chair of Discipline of Economic History from 1984 to 2003. He has acted at various times as Head of School, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies, Associate Dean for Postgraduate Coursework Degrees and has served on the Boards of the Graduate School of Management and Public Policy, the Centre for European Studies, and the Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific and worked to develop the Mater of International Business Program. With the establishment of the discipline of International Business, he moved to the School of Business in 2005.

Ben Tipton has an honours degree from Stanford University and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Majoring in History and Economics, he did his honours work in Economic History with David Harris and in German history with Gordon Craig. He received his Masters degree and his PhD from Harvard University. His dissertation, a study of the regional variations in the economic development of Germany, was supervised jointly by economic historian David Landes and Nobel Prize-winning economist Simon Kuznets, and became the basis for his first book (1976).

Ben Tipton has taught a wide variety of courses in a wide variety of departments in the University, including Asian Studies, Economic History, Economics, European Studies, History, and South Asian Studies. In the Master of Commerce and Master of International Business programs he has developed popular units in International Business, including International Business in Asia, Firm Governance in Asia, Regulating E-Business and Comparative International Management. In addition to his role as Chair of Discipline of International Business, he currently has primary responsibility for the undergraduate unit International Business Strategy, the first of the sequence of compulsory units in the major program. He has taken an active role in curriculum development as a member of the Graduate Studies Board, and as Chair of the Faculty's Working Party on Quality Assurance in Teaching and Learning. Externally he has consulted at universities in Australia and Japan, and served for eight years as the University's representative on curriculum committees of the New South Wales Board of Senior School Studies.

Ben Tipton's research interests intersect with his teaching. Beginning his career as an economic historian specializing in nineteenth century German economic development, he has moved from Europe to Asia, to governance structures and strategic management, and to the ongoing impact of information and communication technologies. He began his study of Japanese while on sabbatical in Tokyo. His early article questioning the role of government in the economic development of Germany and Japan (1981) has been widely cited and reprinted (1990), and his further research in this area was funded by a multi-year grant from the Australian Research Council. Four of his books, in European social and economic history (1987, 1987), Asian economic development (1998), and German history (2003) have been widely adopted as texts at other institutions.

Ben Tipton was the Chief Researcher for studies of information technology policy and the digital divide in Southeast Asia (2002) and the changing borders between the public and private sectors in Southeast Asia (2003) undertaken by the Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific as part of the ongoing project Building Institutional Capacity in Asia, funded by the Ministry of Finance of Japan. His most recent book is a comparative study of firm governance in Asia, set in a historical and institutional context (2007). His current research focuses on the intersection of public and private governance structures, and the ways in which state structures and public policy affect business strategy, in the Asian region.

Research Expertise

  • Digital divide
  • Firm governance in Asia
  • Information technology in Asia
  • Operating environment for international business in Asia
  • Private-public sector relations in Asia