Memoirs of George Stigler, The Uncontrolled Economist

In 1982, George Stigler of the University of Chicago was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics “for his groundbreaking research on industrial structure, market efficiency, and the causes and effects of public control.” In 1988, he published his intellectual autobiography, Memoirs of unregulated economists, With the University of Chicago Press as part of the Sloan Foundation-funded effort to introduce a wider audience to the world of research and discovery. This is a delightful and insightful lesson for anyone interested in how economists’ ideas have evolved. In 2020, I reviewed a collection of articles about Stigler. Stigler was a brilliant stylist and an excellent economist; However, he had a caustic intellect that many found unprepared (to say the least). Her memoirs show her the best of her eloquence. It includes his thoughts on academic independence, the nature and purpose of the university, the contribution and sustainability of the Chicago school, and other issues.

Stigler began his career as an economist at Iowa State College, then presided over by Theodore W. Schultz, an economist who would leave for the University of Chicago and collect the Nobel Prize in 1979. He left Iowa State after the university suppressed a pamphlet. That criticizes Iowa dairy interests. Oswald Brownlee, a graduate student in the state of Iowa, wrote a pamphlet entitled “Establishing Dairy on the Basis of War.” In his Rapier intelligence show, Stigler wrote, “Ironically, Iowa was able to do this immediately after dairy farmers became concerned.” Brownlee noted that there was no reason to limit margarine production, which gave consumers more choice.

That’s what keeps Iowa dairy interest “on the ground.” In particular, dairy farmers approached Iowa state administrators and demanded that they suppress the pamphlet. However, they were not completely successful. The revised pamphlet was “careful enough in its language … no essentials of the first edition were withdrawn.”

Stigler describes another mild encounter with censored academics. In 1957, he co-authored a study on “The Supply and Demand for Scientific Persons”, concluding that I knew The truth was অভ lack of scientific staff! নাno. Professors of engineering started a scuffle with Princeton University Press for refusing to publish the book, which eventually found its way to Michigan Press University.

Stigler had a lot to say about the nature of the university, and especially the University of Chicago. He writes that while tradition and orthodoxy became a burden on other institutions, Chicago was youthful and clever. The “Chicago” economy has always and everywhere been concerned with explaining the phenomena we observe and how people actually solve problems. Peter T. As Leeson explained in his recent speech to the Association of Private Enterprise Education, while we use economics to explain the “weird” things that he does, we’re using our simple-yet-elegant toolkit to explain the lion’s share of behavior. Seemingly “irrational” organizations begin to make sense when we dig into them in light of the logic of the operation, the importance of the exchange, and the cost of reaching an agreement. We understand strange practices like scalp-taking and vermin trials when we acknowledge that transaction costs are barriers to exchange.

The argument does not say that these practices are cognitively rational or justified before morality and the bar of reasoning; Rather, we understand why these practices have arisen and what problems they have solved. Economics has proven itself effective as a way to understand issues such as crime, human capital, family, inequality ঘট incidentally, seemingly “a. These include Gary Baker’s contributions to the use of the economic way of thinking to understand “economic” problems. The economics department of the university was nothing but narrow and ideologically hidden. Stigler records that Oscar Lange improved there, and at various times, they offered positions to Paul Samuelson, Robert Solo, James Tobin, Robert Barrow, Stanley Fisher, Robert Hall, Dale Jorgensen, and Thomas Sergeant. They may not have backed down from hiring leftist leaders like Piero Srafa, Joan Robinson or John Kenneth Galbraith. These scholars were rarely overlooked professionally: Srafa and Robinson spent their careers at Cambridge University, and Galbraith spent their careers at Harvard University.

I believe that economics has a useful past (and the past has a useful economy!), And it is worthwhile for scholars to dig into their own stories about when, how, and why they came to do the things they did. Those who understand that there is much more to our favorite depressing science that is worth knowing than what is on the pages of recent issues. American Economic ReviewLike a book Memoirs of unregulated economists A great way to invest a time.

Art Cardin

Art Cardin

Art Cardin is a Senior Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research. He is also an Associate Professor of Economics at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute.

Receive notifications of new articles from Art Carden and AIER.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.