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

My Content

This morning, when I woke up a few hours before the Nobel announcement, I felt seriously dissatisfied. I had meant to write a post on Thomson Reuters's prediction that Card, Angrist and Krueger may win the Nobel for their work on empirical microeconomics. I thought that such prediction would come true, sooner or later, because of the irresistible development of empirical economics in the past 50 years, one illustrated by the list of John Bates Clark medalists. Such expansion, fostered by the increasing availability of data and computing resources, could itself be recast as part of an even larger move toward making economics an applied science.
Looming behind the aforementioned narratives of postwar economics is a notion – economics as engineering – which at times appears as a metaphor and at times stands for a straight depiction of economists' professional milieu and practices. Also, it is used to characterize both highly theoretical undertakings element and some everyday engagement with policy making. As exemplified by Mankiw's remark that, all but one top selling macro textbooks from the 1980s as well as the 2000s wee written by MIT economists, MIT is one relevant site for the investigation of the nature and significance of the “engineering” comparison.
To illustrate the previous post on the difficulties in putting together a chronology, here is tentative chronology of economics at Carnegie. It's still in process, and links, sources and entries will be updated as I read.
This year, I'm sharing an office with an econometrician on Mondays and with a geographer on Fridays (you don't want to go into the subtleties of the French educational system). We're discussing the content of our research and the strengths and weaknesses in our respective methodologies, and, of course, joking and complaining about the sociology of our communities.