Beatrice Cherrier

Jedi by day, wanabee historian of economics by night. 

Battlefield: Initially studied some postwar economists' writings and intimate worldviews. Now trying to figure out how and under which influences those idiosyncratic visions confront, compromise and combine into groups, departments, schools, institutions, communities, subdisciplines and eventually economics as a science, a public object, a culture. Current targets: JEL codes, coordination failures, public economics, urban economics,macroscale models, and all things applied. 

Favorite weapon: archive work. Looking at oral history with terror and at new methods such as network analysis and quantitative prosopography with awe and a tint of skepticism

Strategy: writing history of economics not only as a history of theorizing but also as a tale of educating, recruiting, funding, advising, engineering, applying, popularizing, fighting, talking, reading, hearing, innovating, failing, etc.

Looking for: Fun, feedback and suggestions

Academic identification: Beatrice Cherrier is assistant professor at the University of Caen, where she researches alongside social choice theorists and teaches in the urban studies and social work department. Prior to that, she conducted archive-based research on the history of economics at MIT, funded by the Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University. She completed her history of economics Ph.D. on “The Relationships Between Economists’ Values and Their Science: The Case of Gunnar Myrdal, Jacob Marschak and Milton Friedman” in November 2008 at the University of Paris X-Nanterre, France. She also writes for the Institute for New Economic Thinking’s History of Economics Playground blog and participated in the Institute’s Bridging Silos, Breaking Silences conference in November 2011.

More information here; just started twitting @undercoverhist

My Content

I need a history of policy evaluation. I want my students to know why and how the theories, tools and practices they will later use on a daily basis were conceived and spread, and a good 80% of them will participate in a policy evaluation in the next 10 years. This need also derives from my research program, aimed at understanding the transformation of applied economics between 1965 and 1985. Policy analysis is a large part of what economists mean by ''applying economics.” It is area of expertise most emphasized in the ongoing advertising campaign designed to reemphasize economists' contribution to society.

Diane Coyle has a list of twelve economists who she argues "clearly shaped the character of economics in a meaningful and lasting way – going up to the early 1980s." As such, they would form the basis of the 12 chapters of the follow up to Heilbroner's The Worldly Philosophers. Below is the, with link to some autobiographical reflexions by those economists, and pieces where historians examine their wordviews.

Diane Coyle is asking why most history of economics' narratives end up with Keynes. My response is : 

1. No, it's not. There has been a surge in history of postwar economics research in the past 15 years. The transformation of economics in the Cold War era in now well-understood, and less is know about the 1965-1985 era (a flaw many researchers, including me, are trying to correct).

Full paper is here. Comments are much welcome.And because it’s an epic story (and because I suck at writing abstracts), here is an audio trailer. I thank Paul for his beautiful Memphis accent.