History of Economic Thought

The Tramp and the Locomotive By ROGER LOWENSTEIN, The Wall Street Journal, July 1, 2015. [Inequality was on the rise in the Gilded Age. Was this the necessary condition of progress or was the era needlessly harsh?]

David Ricardo: Machiavelli of the Margin by COREY ROBIN, Crooked Timber (blog), NOVEMBER 13, 2014. []

John Maynard Keynes Is the Economist the World Needs Now By Peter Coy, BloombergBusinessweek, October 30, 2014. [Keynes rules open-economy macro too!]

Oikonomia, Revisited By Timothy Taylor, Conversable Economist (blog), October 30, 2014. [On the concept of economics in ancient Greek thought.]

Adam Smith: Guide to a Happy Life By DANIEL AKST, The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 20, 2014. [Society doesn’t enslave us, as Rousseau suggested. According to Smith, it liberates us from the worst part of ourselves.]

A Nobel Economist’s Caution About Government By DONALD J. BOUDREAUX And TODD J. ZYWICKI, The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 12, 2014. [Friedrich Hayek warned that intervening can make things worse.]

Magic Fairies Cause Recessions By Noah Smith, BloombergView (blog), September 2, 2014. [The New Keynesian theory of business cycles.]

Recessions and Hunks of Junk By Noah Smith, BloombergView (blog), August 18, 2014. [The Real Business Cycle theory of business cycles.]

Path Breaker By Janet Stotsky, FINANCE & DEVELOPMENT, September 2014, Vol. 51, No. 3. [Janet Stotsky profiles Kenneth J. Arrow, a Nobel Prize–winning theorist who has done pioneering work in many areas of economics.]

Head Count By JUSTIN FOX, The New York Times, AUG. 1, 2014. [Review of ‘Malthus,’ by Robert J. Mayhew.]

Malthus among the doomsters By JONATHAN BENTHALL, Times Literary Supplement, June 11, 2014. [Review of two new books on Thomas Malthus: "MALTHUS: The life and legacies of an untimely prophet" by Robert J. Maynew, and "THOMAS MALTHUS AND THE MAKING OF THE MODERN WORLD" by Alan Macfarlane.]

Gary Becker died on May 3, 2014. Here are a few obituaries: in The Economist, in The Wall Street Journal by Edward P. Lazear, in The Washington Post by Catherine Rampell, in Rational Irrationality (blog), The New Yorker by John Cassidy, in The New York Times by Robert D. Hershey, in The Wall Street Journal (editorial), in NPR: All Things Considered by John Ydstie.

Book Review: 'Malthus' by Robert J. Mayhew By PHILLIP LONGMAN, The Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2014. [Overpopulation was hardly a worry before 1800. Most of humanity had always been poor and hungry.]

Econometric Methodology at the Cowles Commission: Rise and Maturity By Edmond Malinvaud, Abstracted from the Cowles Fiftieth Anniversary Volume. []

Contrary to popular and academic belief, Adam Smith did not accept inequality as a necessary trade-off for a more prosperous economy By Deborah Boucoyannis, British Politics and Policy (blog), The London School of Economics and Political Science, February 18, 2014. [Nice, self-explanatory title.]

Why Those Guys Won the Economics Nobels by Justin Fox, HBR Blog Network, Harvard Business Review, April 2, 2014. [John Campbell explains last year's Economics Nobel awards.]

Old Forecast of Famine May Yet Come True By Eduardo Porter, The New York Times, APRIL 1, 2014. [A question that will never go away: "Might Thomas Malthus be vindicated in the end?"]

Keynes and Hayek: Prophets for today by C.R., Free Exchange (blog), The Economist, Mar 14th 2014. [Keynes took the lessons of Hayek's work as a warning that the expansion of state should be limited and politicians need to know when to stop—which he fundamentally agreed with.]

God, Hayek and the Conceit of Reason by JONATHAN NEUMANN, Standpoint, January/February 2014. [Friedrich Hayek spent his life arguing for man’s freedom. He said little about how man should exercise that freedom.]

Adam Smith, Communitarian By DAVID J. DAVIS, The American Conservative, December 19, 2013. [Review of Adam Smith’s Pluralism by Jack Russell Weinstein.]

Bernard Mandeville and Consumerism’s Buzz By MYTHEOS HOLT, The American Conservative, December 14, 2013. [Before Ayn Rand or Adam Smith, capitalism's prophet was the author of "The Fable of the Bees."]

Petty impressive The Economist, December 21, 2013. [Meet Sir William Petty, the man who invented economics.]

From the archives: John Maynard Keynes Free Exchange (blog), The Economist, November 26, 2013. [A reprint of The Economist's 1946 obituary of John Maynard Keynes.]

Smith's word By C.W., Free Exchange (blog), The Economist, November 1, 2013. [Examples of how people have misinterpreted Adam Smith’s ideas—and idscussion of what he really meant.]

Citizen Marx By Sam Stark, The Nation, October 8, 2013. [Review of "Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life" by Jonathan Sperber.]

Physiocracy and Robots By Brad DeLong (blog), October 23, 2013. [Physiocracts.]

Who were the physiocrats? The Economist, October 11, 2013. ["The physiocrats are a misinterpreted bunch. Much of their economic theory is rather useless. But their approach to the study of economics was an invaluable contribution. And, unlike much academic economics today, their fascination with abstract models did not make them as inflexible and authortarian as many believe."]

Sticky Wages and the Macro Wars By PAUL KRUGMAN, The Conscience of a Liberal (blog), The New York Times, Published: October 12, 2013. [The significance of a bit of reality.]

Why Conservatives Should Reread Milton Friedman By GARY GUTTING, Opinionator (blog), The New York Times, September 26, 2013. [Even a major intellectual hero of the right acknowledged the need for government interventions to keep capitalism on the right track.]

Ronald Coase, a Pragmatic Voice for Government’s Role By ROBERT H. FRANK, The New York Times, Published: September 14, 2013. [The late Nobel laureate was revered by free-market enthusiasts who saw his arguments as favoring limited government. But an economist says their perspective was mistaken.]

The economic ideas of Ronald Coase By Kevin Bryan, VOX (blog), September 10, 2013. [Ronald Coase, an economics Nobel Prize winner, passed away on 2 September 2013. He is best known for stating that transaction costs explain many puzzles in the organisation of society, and that pricing for durable goods presents a particular worry since even a monopolist selling a durable good needs to compete with its future self. This column reviews how these ideas, though often misinterpreted, deeply influenced the thinking of economists.]

One of the giants The Economist, September 7, 2013. [Ronald Coase, the economist who explained why firms exist, died on September 2nd, aged 102.]

The economics of companies: The man who showed why firms exist The Economist, September 7, 2013. [Anyone who cares about capitalism and economics should mourn the death of Ronald Coase.]

The Coase Theorem is widely cited in economics. Ronald Coase hated it. By Timothy B. Lee, Wonkblog (blog), The Washington Post, September 4, 2013. [The Coase theorem assumes a world in which people can negotiate with each other without any of the usual difficulties of negotiation. But it is meant to show how the allocation of property rights matters in the real world where negotiating is not costless.]

Ronald H. Coase, founding scholar in law and economics, 1910-2013 - See more at: http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2013/09/02/ronald-h-coase-founding-scholar-law-and-economics-1910-2013#sthash.GxcFpM71.dpuf By Sarah Galer and Jeremy Manier, UChicago News, September 2, 2013. []

Ronald H. Coase, Nobel-Winning Economist, Dies at 102 By PATRICK J. LYONS, The New York Times, Published: September 3, 2013. [Professor Coase was an “accidental” economist best known for two papers that are counted among the most influential in the modern history of the subject.]

The Decline of E-Empires By Paul Krugman, The New York Times, August 26, 2013. [Ibn Khaldun was a "14th-century Islamic philosopher who basically invented what we would now call the social sciences." And his theory of dynastic cycles can help us understand the rise and fall of tech dynasties in today's Silicon Valley. Here are two blog entries that provide more background to this article: Steve Ballmer, Meet Ibn Khaldun, Ibn Khaldun, Psychohistorian.]

Historical Echoes: It Wasn’t Brain Surgery - It Was the First Economic Table By Amy Farber, Liberty Street Economics (blog), Federal Reserve Bank of New York, August 23, 2013. [Francois Quesnay's "Tableau Economique" and the origins of Physiocracy.]

What was mercantilism? The Economist, August 23, 2013. [First in a series in The Economist on milestones in economics. This a valuable revisionist assessment of mercantilism.]

Thoughts on the Diamond-Water Paradox By Timothy Taylor, Conversable Economist (blog), August 22, 2013. [The origins of the theory of value.]

More Economath By PAUL KRUGMAN, The Conscience of a Liberal (blog), The New York Times, Published: August 22, 2013. [The role of math in economic reasoning.]

The New Growth Fizzle By Paul Krugman, The Conscience of a Liberal (blog), The New York Times, August 18, 2013. [Whatever happened to endogenous growth theory?]

DOMO ARIGATO MISTER ROBOTO!: CARDIFF GARCIA ASKS A QUESTION ABOUT GROWTH, INEQUALITY, MALTHUS, AND HISTORY By Brad DeLong (blog), August 17, 2013. [What did Mill and Keynes think of Malthus's theory of population? Mill accepted it as true, and Keynes ultimately rejected it as irrelevant.]

Synthesis Lost By PAUL KRUGMAN, The Conscience of a Liberal (blog), The New York Times, Published: August 12, 2013. [So much for the classical verities.]

Milton Friedman, Unperson By PAUL KRUGMAN, The New York Times, Published: August 11, 2013. [The curious case of a disappearing icon.]

Friedman and the Austrians By PAUL KRUGMAN, The Conscience of a Liberal (blog), The New York Times, Published: August 11, 2013. [Atrophied and rigid, he said.]


Robert W. Fogel, Nobel-Winning Economist, Dies at 86 By ROBERT D. HERSHEY Jr., The New York Times, Published: June 11, 2013. [Mr. Fogel was widely known for work that aroused objections if not open hostility through his pioneering use of cliometrics, which applies economic theory and statistic methods to history.]

The Real Karl Marx By John Gray, The New York Review of Books, May 9, 2013. [Review of "Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life" by Jonathan Sperber.]

A Point of View: What would Keynes do? By John Gray,BBC News Magazine, 21 July 2012. [What would Keynes have advised on dealing with the Great Recession?]

God and White Men at Yale by Richard Conniff, Yale Alumni Magazine, May/June 2012. [In the 1920s, leading thinkers—including the greatest economist America ever produced—focused their efforts on eugenics, preserving the Nordic stock, and the problem of “race suicide.”]

Yale’s Tobin Guides Obama From Grave as Friedman Is Eclipsed By Oliver Staley and Michael McKee - February 27, 2009. ["After a three-decade run, the free-market philosophies of Friedman that shaped U.S. policy are being eclipsed by the pro-government ideas of Tobin, the late Yale economist and Nobel laureate who brought John Maynard Keynes into the modern era."]