Cultures of Expertise and the Public Interventions of Economists

PI-2013Cultures of Expertise and the Public Interventions of Economists in History of Political Economy with Steven G. Medema, 2012, 45(supplement): 1-19.

The essay introduces the special issue of History of Political Economy for 2013 on “The Economist as Public Intellectual.” The essay provides a foil to the studies included in the volume that range the twentieth century examining the public interventions of economists, and close competitors, in the USA and UK.

The volume can be purchased from Duke University Press.

Download paper

National Science Foundation Patronage of Social Science, 1970s and 1980s

National Science Foundation Patronage of Social Science, 1970s and 1980s: Congressional Scrutiny, Advocacy Network, and the Prestige of Economics in Minerva with Thomas Scheiding, 2012, 50(4): 423–449.

Research in the social sciences received generous patronage in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Research was widely perceived as providing solutions to emerging social problems. That generosity came under increased contest in the late 1970s. Although these trends held true for all of the social sciences, this essay explores the various ways by which economists in particular reacted to and resisted the patronage cuts that were proposed in the first budgets of the Reagan administration. Economists’ response was three fold: to engage in joint lobbying with other social scientists, to tap into their authority as a respected policy player, and to influence the types of research financed by the patron. With interviews of the former lobbyist for the social scientists, the former director of the Economics program for the National Science Foundation, and a review of the archival records of economists and their scholarly society, we discuss how economists have claimed entitlement to patronage in the closing decades of the twentieth century. We observe a dynamic and productive relationship between politicians and researchers mediated by the National Science Foundation, where civil servants, lobbyist and public minded scientists, and self-serving grantees trade roles.

Download paper

Godley Moves in Mysterious Ways

Godley Moves in Mysterious Ways: The Craft of Economic Judgment in Post-war Britain in Contributions in Stock-flow Modeling: Essays in Honor of Wynne Godley, D. Papadimitriou and G. Zezza (eds.) 2012, 12-35.

The essay is a brief biographical sketch of Wynne Godley. It records and comments Godley’s career in government and academia, and examines his approach to economics as craft-like, grounded on a tacit understanding of the structures and movements of economic aggregates.

Download paper

FORTNIGHT – six essays

The following six essays appeared in the online magazine FORTNIGHT between December 17, 2011 and March 10, 2012.

Essay #1 – On Narratives (link, pdf)
Essay #2 – Killing Digital Curation (link, pdf)
Essay #3 – Caricatures (link, pdf)
Essay #4 – Reckonings (link, pdf)
Essay #5 – Ethics in Economics (link, pdf)
Essay #6 – Occupy the Imagination (link, pdf)

With my thanks to the Fortnight team in particular the nurturing editing of Samantha Hinds and Ian Campbell and the remarkable illustrations of Matt McCann.

If you visited this space two weeks ago you will have noticed a “malware” warning. One of the other sites hosted in the server was using an old (hackable) version of wordpress. All versions of wordpress were updgraded, passwords changed and foreign files deleted. We are back into safety, and a little more wise…

Introduction: The history of economics as a history of practice

Introduction: The history of economics as a history of practice in The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 2011, 18(5): 635-642; with Harro Maas and John Davis.

Introduction and overview essay for a special issue of the European Journal of the History of Economic Thought that brings together papers from the 2010 annual meetings of the European Society for the History of Economic Thought held in Amsterdam. (Aging conference website here)

Download paper