JEL codes

A History of the JEL Codes: Classifying Economics During the War [Part 1]

In the spring of 1940, as the war in Europe escalated and the likelihood of American involvement grew greater and greater, scientists understood that they would soon be drafted to help national defense planning. In an effort to control the process, several scholarly oriented institutions, including the Social Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies recommended the establishment of “a national agency for the registry and procurement of scientific personnel.” Christened the National Roster of Scientific and Specialized Personnel, the governmental organization set out to send a general questionnaire and a disciplinary “technical check list” of subject matters to all scientists in the country. Read more

Economic theory declassified?

So, most Nobel Prize exegetes went a long way, this week, toward explaining that asset pricing is not primarily born out of theoretical reflection but out of prize-deserving empirical work.John Cochrane, for instance, writes about efficient markets that: Read more

Economic “fields” as historical objects (not yet)

The notion of “field” is so pervasive that economists hardly pay conscious attention to it. The student is early trained into the habit of classifying knowledge, then papers and colleagues according to their field. You share your office with a labor economist, will be part of a committee recruiting some health economist, and are late with your review of this environmental economics paper (well, that's unlikely). Economic fields draw a map with which economists navigate their profession on a daily basis. Read more