Judy Klein – The Rules of War and the Development of Economic Ideas

Sometimes navigating through the field of economics can feel like dodging bullets in a metaphorical war.

But to INET grantee Judy Klein, a professor at Mary Baldwin College, this is no metaphor. Rather, Klein believes that understanding the protocols of war developed during World War II is at the core of understanding modern economics.

In her forthcoming book, Klein will delineate how models and modeling strategies established for the practical needs of war eventually wound up in economic research. As it turns out, the rules of combat and the rules for thinking about financial, economic, and monetary policy have deeply similar roots.

For example, Klein looks at aerial battles involving B-17 bombers and the mathematical models developed to forecast where enemy planes would be when the bullets hit them. She then follows those lessons as they were applied in the development of the adaptive expectations hypothesis.

It’s a fascinating, thought provoking topic. War is hell. Does economics have to be, too?