History of Economic Thought

The Institute for New Economic Thinking takes a broad view of economic research and supports it in many ways: through its main grant program, through working groups it organizes, and via conferences, panels, and other smaller gatherings of scholars across the globe.

Institute scholars normally publish their work in journals and books. While many – but far from all – of this work appears in working papers sponsored by the Institute and other leading research forums, the Institute also attempts to make its research results accessible to a wider public on its website. Below is a sampling of interviews featuring Institute scholars explaining the significance of their research in non-technical terms.

Macroeconomics in Perspective

Mature history of economics

In the past decade, the volume of literature in the history of economics has been of 500 articles and just under 50 books a year. The graph below traces the count in two year intervals (articles left axis, books right axis). The absolute volume is stable but given the growth of economic literature in the period, stable might be rebranded as static.

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Do social movements create new ideas?

The short answer is yes. For the long answer I will make you sit through seven paragraphs. 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

Guy Numa "The Financial Crisis Five Years Later: The Role of Banking"

Present day puzzlements shed their complexity when Guy Numa in this essay draws on some age old distinctions borrowed from Jean-Baptiste Say. Numa is a INET Research Fellow who specializes in the History of Economic Thought and Industrial Organization.

Five years ago Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy marking the unofficial start of the latest financial crisis. Several commentators argued that the key to understanding the root cause of the crisis lies in the partial repeal of the Glass–Steagall provisions that occurred in the late 1990s. The provisions restricted commercial banks from participating in the investment banking business and therefore institutionalized a de facto separation of the two types of institutions. Read more

Keynesianism, neoliberalism and the 'Dissemination' of Economic Ideas: That's the Way of the World.

It is often argued that in recent years the question of the 'dissemination' of economic knowledge has been increasingly addressed by historians of economics. However, as our buddy Tiago has noted on the previous version of this blog quite some time ago, historians seem to not really know what they're talking about when they talk about 'dissemination'. In fact, I would argue that most accounts of the history of science - and therefore, of economics - should deal with the question of dissemination, as science itself is "a form of communicative action" (Secord, 2004). Read more

Where the World Economic Association Started

Having lunch next to Edward Fullbrook he told me the story of how the post-autistic economic review got its start, leading to what we today know as the World Economic Association and all the great work coming from this community.

Back in 1999 Edward was at a conference in Cambridge and talked to attendees about the French movement to bring economics back to a more realistic starting point, and the great success the French students had in getting media attention. Attendees were not, as it turned out, convinced that this was even happening. Not to be dissuaded, Edward set up an anonymous e-mail address after the conference and wrote an anonymous e-mail to the 99 conference attendees informing them again about what had happened in France. Read more

History of Economics and Images: static and dynamic

  There has been an important movement towards making available on the web a host of open courses. One can easily access courses from major American universities such as Harvard, MIT, Yale and Princeton, among others (see the Open Courseware Consortium for similar initiatives worldwide). Read more