Best economics paper of 1958

by on June 17, 2008 at 1:22 pm in Economics | Permalink

Leonardo Monasterio asks:

Which paper/book should we celebrate its 50th year? Obviously, my vote goes to the paper that started the cliometric revolution:
The Economics of Slavery in the Ante Bellum South
Alfred H. Conrad, John R. Meyer
The Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 66, No. 2 (Apr., 1958), pp. 95-130
Is there any other contestant?

The two obvious competitors are Modigliani and Miller on financial irrelevance (AER) and Paul Samuelson on the overlapping generations model (JPE).  I’m inclined to put M-M first and Conrad and Meyer second.  Am I missing anything?  Don’t one or two of Schelling’s famous game theory articles date from this year as well?

Postwar American economics was splendid.  WWII meant that many thinkers (Friedman, Samuelson, Schelling, others) had real world experience with tackling big problems.  At the same time these people were just getting their hands on quantitative thinking and some more technical tools, yet the profession still valued breadth to some degree.

1 Michael Kelly June 17, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Phillips, Alban, “The Relation Between Unemployment and the Rate of Change of Money Wage Rates in the United Kingdom, 1861-1957”, 1958, Economica

1958 was a busy year.

2 Michael Reddell June 17, 2008 at 10:37 pm


Interested in your views on where we should rank the Phillips article. There is some debate around this in NZ – Phillips’s birthplace – at present, with a big conference due to occur next month to mark the 50th anniversary of the famous Economica paper. Some argue that Phillips stumbled on an empirical regularity and did nothing more – even if that paper in some sense triggered a huge literature, taking as its starting point the regularity Phillips had spotted. Others note that the paper is one of the most widely-cited ever and that if the term (Phillips curve) hasn’t entered popular language, it has probably came closer than most terms/ideas of recent decades.

3 Bill June 18, 2008 at 12:14 am

Jacob Mincer, “Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution,” JPE. The birth of modern empirical labor economics?

4 bob tollison June 18, 2008 at 6:32 am

Tyler, Be true to your own School. Buchanan, Public Principles of Public Debt, 1958.

5 OBP June 19, 2008 at 10:22 am

The Theory of Committees and Elections by Duncan B lack is also from 1958 (but probably wouldn’t top the list)

6 cheap holic gold January 1, 2009 at 11:33 pm

And the more cheap holic gold is very good for you.

7 macheal May 14, 2009 at 10:50 pm

It seems we will be in economy ression for quite a long time. We can see the economy crisis effect everywhere.

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