Economists and Societies

That's by Marion Fourcade and the subtitle is Discipline and Profession in the United States, Britain & France, 1890s to 1990s.

I very much liked this book and I might call it one of my favorite history of economic thought books, period.  It skips textual exegesis and looks at what the economics profession actually did — in the comparative sense — in the United States, England, and France.

On France, I liked the data on p.6.  Circa 1981, only 52 percent of French economists thought that rent control reduced the quantity and quality of the housing stock.  Only 49 percent of French economists thought that flexible exchange rates were "effective," compared to 94 percent in the United States and 92 percent in West Germany.  Remember Alex's blog posts on this topic, here and here?

The extent of hierarchy in the profession in England shocked even me:

Joan Robinson, for instance, did not become a professor until the ripe age of sixty-two.  And such a well-respected economist as Roy Harrod never rose higher than a readership at Nuffield College.

Definitely recommended.  Here is the book's home page.


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