History of Economic Thought

Adam Smith's first - and last! - book: what rational choice?

Penguin's 250th anniversary editionI was going to call this blog post 'Utility maximising agents in Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments' but realised that was much too dull - even if it accurately describes my bedtime reading at the present moment. The intention with this, and a series of blog posts, will be to share my on-going reading of the theory of moral sentiments, and this first post is about the first chapters on sympathy in particular. Read more

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

The man who will not win the Nobel

Last Spring Larry Summers wounded Thomas Piketty in a friendly embrace. In a review of Capital in the Twenty-first century, Summers praised Piketty’s contributions in data mining and analysis and in a flight of enthusiasm he deemed the contributions deserving of a Nobel. Read more

The torch that wouldn't burn - UCLA in 1968

Macro once again, or "it is history, stupid"

                          The blogosphere experiences another burst of historical/methodological discussions about macroeconomics: was new cla ssical macroeconomics of Lucas and Sargent, among others, an empirical or methodological revolution? Read more

HES 2014: It made a happy man very old!

This year, the History of Economics Society (HES) meeting was organized at the University of Quebec at Montreal. The meeting was, on the whole, a nice affair, there were plenty of interesting sessions, I reconvened with old friends and was able to present there my latest work and receive constructive comments. Read more

We Can Blog it!

  The more reflexive mode brought by the financial crisis to macroeconomics made economists more outspoken about methodological, historical and sociological issues: how have we come to the DSGE dogma? What are its limitations? How can we produce alternative knowledge? Do publishing practices favor a "monolithic" thinking, and if so, how can we change it? What about the graduate training in economics? Read more

Piketty and thinking about economics

There is a new economics rock-star touring the US by all accounts, and his name is Thomas Piketty. More precisely, the star of the show is Picketty's Capital in the Twenty-First century which is a 700-page volume on wealth distribution in 30 countries over decades and centuries of data. Read more