Rose Friedman and Frank Knight

19 August 2009 at 9:44 am 2 comments

| Peter Klein |

You probably heard that Rose Friedman died yesterday. I haven’t read the Friedmans’ memoir and didn’t know, until Ross Emmett and Greg Ransom pointed it out yesterday, that Rose had been Frank Knight’s research assistant at Chicago and was planning a PhD dissertation on capital theory. She never finished nor, to my knowledge, published anything on the topic. What do you think she would have written? Knight produced very few PhD students (perhaps, given his idiosyncratic views, he was not the ideal dissertation adviser) and it would be interesting to know more about Rose’s experiences and her views on capital (presumably close to Knight’s, not Hayek’s).

Here’s what she says in Two Lucky People (p. 51):

After considerable discussion with Professor Knight, I decided that I would concentrate on a history of capital theory as a Ph.D. thesis topic. It would fit into my assisting with his research and was a kind of research that I found interesting. Knight approved, adding, “I have been working on that for twenty years without success but perhaps you will succeed.” I never did. During Milton’s and my honeymoon, I completed drafts of the contributions to capital theory by Longfield and Senior. However, when we started life in New York, I went to work for the National Bureau [of Economic Research] on a bond study postponing, I thought temporarily, my dissertation. I have never finished it.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, People.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rose Friedman Has Died  |  19 August 2009 at 10:33 am

    […] at the U. of Chicago, helping Knight with his sketchy knowledge of the history of capital theory.  Rose had planned to turn her work in this area into a dissertation, having fulfilled all of the other requirements for a Ph.D. in economics.  The dissertation was […]

  • 2. Austrian capital theory  |  17 July 2011 at 7:43 am

    “I had heard a rumor that she differed with Milton on Austrian capital theory, and one time I asked her if this was true. She simply smiled and winked.”

    – Mark Skousen

    So it might just be closer to Hayek than Knight!

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