№ 393/2010 from Dec 21, 2010
The Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), launched with a $50 million pledge from George Soros to promote changes in economic theory and practice through research grants, Task Force groups, academic partnerships, and conferences, announced that it has selected Irwin Collier of Freie Universität Berlin and John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies to conduct archival research on the evolution of graduate economics education in the United States during the first half of the 20th century. The grant program, along with other INET initiatives, was created in direct response to arguably the worst economic crisis in world history, and has been designed to encourage and support new economic thinking. Starting in 2011, INET will conduct two grant cycles annually.
The project will explore and document the development of graduate economics training in the centers of doctoral education in the United States that served as the intellectual foundation for the remarkable technical advances in economic analysis that characterized the middle third of the 20th century. It also seeks to revive the appreciation for the history of economic thought in graduate economics education. Through archival research, Professor Collier plans to use INET’s funding to answer the question: “What did the Samuelson-Solow-Arrow-Friedman-Stigler generation learn, and how and or when did they learn it?”
“The early 20th century was a critical time period that produced many highly influential economists. Developing a deep understanding of how and what they were taught will give us a baseline for comparison to the current situation, possibly suggesting changes to current and future teaching approaches. Studying the developments of this time will contribute to defining the future of economics,” said Dr. Robert Johnson, Executive Director of INET. “This knowledge will increase the appreciation for economic history as we look to effect reform in economic thinking.”
Professor Collier holds joint appointment at the School of Business and Economics of Freie Universität Berlin and the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Yale University and a Ph.D. in Economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research interests include the history of economic thought, the measurement of economic welfare and its distribution and contemporary macroeconomic policy.
“The similarities of graduate education in economics today are far greater than the differences. That has not always been the case and I am interested in the factors that contributed to the convergence of the study into a mainstream. This is not to assume that those who created the foundations of modern economic analysis intended narrow focus without a broad vision,” said Irwin Collier, Professor of Economics and North American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. “The INET grant will fund my work in the relevant university archives where I will be consulting departmental records and the personal archives of economists who received their Ph.D.’s during the 20th century. I will also be consulting the records and archives of the relevant professors for a documentation of precise knowledge and tools that were being transmitted.”
INET’s Inaugural Grant Program has been designed to harness the new economic thinking we recognize as crucial to effecting change. The program was launched this summer and received more than 500 applications from around the world and has selected 34 initiatives to be awarded grants totaling $7 million. INET's Grant Program will continue with two similar grant cycles annually, the next one commencing in the spring of 2011.
For further details regarding INET’s Grant Program or additional projects and people to be awarded grants please visit the Institute’s website.
Launched in October 2009 with a $50 million commitment from George Soros and driven by the global financial crisis, the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) is dedicated to empowering and supporting the next generation of economists and scholars in related fields through research grants, Task Force groups, academic partnerships, and conferences. INET embraces the professional responsibility to think beyond current paradigms. Ultimately, INET is committed to broadening and accelerating the development of innovative thinking that can lead to insights into and solutions for the great challenges of the 21st century and return economics to its core mission of guiding and protecting society.