History of Economic Thought Revival?

11 January 2011 at 1:34 pm 4 comments

| Peter Klein |

More on the AEA meetings: I didn’t attend enough sessions to get a feel for overall directions and trends, but David Warsh (via Lynne) detected a revival of interest in the history of economic thought:

Interesting, too, was the undercurrent to be found in many conversations of interest in the history of economics itself.  History of economic thought — or history of science, if you prefer — is a subject that has all but disappeared in the last thirty years as a topic of major research interest or as a subject of courses in top graduate schools — precisely the period of economic triumphalism.

I certainly can’t prove a resurgence of interest in economics past as it bears upon the present, or even document it beyond a few suggestive facts. The history of thought sessions in the meetings proceeded in their customary grooves — a retrospective on the rational expectations assumption fifty years after it was introduced, Irving Fisher’s The Purchasing Power of Money at one hundred.

But there were portents of change in at least one session on “rethinking the core” of graduate education.  James Heckman, of the University of Chicago, endorsed the possibility of restoring to the graduate curriculum high-level elective courses in the history of economic thought. “People in the past were smart and they made mistakes and had insights,” he said afterwards. “We have sometimes forgotten the insights and we have sometimes repeated the same mistakes.”

An interesting challenge to what Murray Rothbard called the “Whig theory” of science, the view that dominates contemporary research in most of the social sciences.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, History of Economic and Management Thought, Methods/Methodology/Theory of Science.

Entrepreneurship Lives! CFP: Hayek and Behavioral Economics

4 Comments Add your own

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Nicolai J. Foss | home | posts
Peter G. Klein | home | posts
Richard Langlois | home | posts
Lasse B. Lien | home | posts


Former Guests | posts


Recent Posts



Our Recent Books

Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, Organizing Entrepreneurial Judgment: A New Approach to the Firm (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
Peter G. Klein and Micheal E. Sykuta, eds., The Elgar Companion to Transaction Cost Economics (Edward Elgar, 2010).
Peter G. Klein, The Capitalist and the Entrepreneur: Essays on Organizations and Markets (Mises Institute, 2010).
Richard N. Langlois, The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism: Schumpeter, Chandler, and the New Economy (Routledge, 2007).
Nicolai J. Foss, Strategy, Economic Organization, and the Knowledge Economy: The Coordination of Firms and Resources (Oxford University Press, 2005).
Raghu Garud, Arun Kumaraswamy, and Richard N. Langlois, eds., Managing in the Modular Age: Architectures, Networks and Organizations (Blackwell, 2003).
Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, eds., Entrepreneurship and the Firm: Austrian Perspectives on Economic Organization (Elgar, 2002).
Nicolai J. Foss and Volker Mahnke, eds., Competence, Governance, and Entrepreneurship: Advances in Economic Strategy Research (Oxford, 2000).
Nicolai J. Foss and Paul L. Robertson, eds., Resources, Technology, and Strategy: Explorations in the Resource-based Perspective (Routledge, 2000).

%d bloggers like this: