Bruce Caldwell, the director of the HOPE Center, recently engaged in a thought-provoking interview in the podcast, “The Answer is Transaction Costs” (TAITC), hosted by Duke Professor of Political Science, Michael Munger. Caldwell's appearance on the episode titled, “Caldwell: Hayek’s Intellectual Journey” provided insight into the evolution of economic thought. The conversation delves into Caldwell's personal voyage through economic methodology to the Austrian school of economics, setting the stage for a captivating… read more about Director of the HOPE Center, Bruce Caldwell, Discusses Hayek's Intellectual Journey on "The Answer is Transaction Costs" Podcast »

Here’s one way to begin a paper: In 1954, the French-born economist Gerard Debreu, along with Kenneth Arrow, published an article that proved that general equilibrium exists. This and other works, as one economist said, “profoundly changed the way economics is practiced.” Indeed, in 1983, Debreu was awarded the Nobel Prize “for having incorporated new analytical methods into economic theory and for his rigorous reformulation of the theory of general equilibrium.” Here’s another way to begin: When he was a small boy, the… read more about Till Düppe Examines the Personal to Construct the "Lived Experiences" of Economists »

A large part of economics deals with what economists call “welfare,” or the overall well-being (however defined) of people in the economy. Welfare economics emerged in the early twentieth century, and in its early days concerned itself with so-called market failures. A market failure usually occurs when there’s little to no incentive for an individual or business to either produce something that would benefit society as a whole—say, a new highway—or to avoid producing something that is harmful, the classic example… read more about Nestor Lovera Nieto, 2023-24 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar »

A recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics, Kenneth Arrow had a long career—he died in 2017, at age 95—making contributions in a number of areas, any one of which would have earned him an enduring and exalted place in the history of the discipline. It is no surprise, then, that Yam Maayan, a 2023-24 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar, finds Arrow such a fascinating subject on which to write. “General equilibrium theory, social choice theory, information economics—Arrow was one of those old-style economists who came of age… read more about Yam Maayan, 2023-24 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar »

In the early 1930s, a bright undergraduate student at the London School of Economics named Ronald Coase used fellowship money to travel to the United States and tour some of the biggest companies in the country, including Ford and General Motors. He was out to understand just why firms exist. A few years later, he published one of the most famous articles in the history of economics, “The Nature of the Firm.” Basically, Coase argued in his article, firms exist because organizing the production of goods and services… read more about Rafael Lazega, 2023-24 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar »

In the late 1970s, Ed Tower, a distinguished economics professor at Duke University, curated a comprehensive collection of economics course syllabi and related course materials. In 2020, Tower generously donated his personal collection of Eno River Press volumes to Duke's Center for the History of Political Economy. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Center and the Department of Economics, these volumes have been scanned and digitized and available in a searchable pdf. format. This treasure trove of academic… read more about The Ed Tower - Eno River Press Collection Digitized and Searchable »

In the two or three decades after World War II, economists were invited by the governments of several developing countries to help them set up new economies and related institutions such as central banks. One of those economists was the Canadian-born and Chicago-trained macroeconomist Arthur I. Bloomfield, who in the early 1960s went to the Caribbean to advise the West Indian Federation, a nascent political organization of British colonies, including Jamaica and Trinidad, in the process of gaining independence as a united… read more about Brendan Brundage, 2023-24 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar »

In the 1970s, stagflation—a dispiriting mix of slow growth, inflation, and high unemployment—forced economists to question the prevailing model of the macroeconomy, the Keynesian model, which focused on stimulating demand (for workers, for consumer goods, and so on) through government spending. The result was new Keynesian economics, or, broadly speaking, the attempt to apply microeconomic principles to macroeconomic models. New Keynesianism was, so the story goes, a US-led effort, featuring distinguished American… read more about Josh Banerjee, 2023-24 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar »

Congratulations to Matheus Assaf, a 2019-20 HOPE center visiting scholar, on his recent success in receiving a Professorship in the Department of Economics at the Universidade de São Paulo.  Professor Assaf will begin his appointment at the university in February 2024.  Congratulations Matheus! read more about Matheus Assaf receives a professorship in the Department of Economics at the Universidade de São Paulo »

Congratulations Ibanca Anand, 2017 Duke Undergraduate, for winning The History of Economics Society 2023 Best conference Paper by a Young Scholar Prize. Ibanca was awarded the prize for her paper,  'Resisting Narrative Closure: The Comparative and Historical Imagination of Evsey Domar', presented during the recent HES Meetings in Vancouver, BC.  Ibanca’s senior thesis was advised by HOPE Center prof. Bruce Caldwell.  Ibanca then completed her Master’s in Economic History at the London School of Economics… read more about Ibanca Anand is awarded HES 2023 Best Conference Paper by a Young Scholar Prize.  »

Michele Alacevich, professor at the University of Bologna, has won the 2023 AISPE Best Book Award for Albert O. Hirshman:  An Intellectual Biography, published in 2021 by Columbia University Press.   As stated on the publisher’s website, Michele “explores the development and trajectory of Hirschman’s characteristic approach to social-scientific questions. He traces the many strands of Hirschman’s thought and their place in his multifaceted body of work, considering their limitations as well as their strengths… read more about Michele Alacevich has been awarded the 2023 AISPE Best Book Award  »

Congratulations to Gianluca Damiani, a 2020-21 HOPE Center scholar, for winning the 2023 AISPE Terenzio Maccabelli Best Dissertation Award for his dissertation titled “Looking for a Science of Politics: William H. Riker and the Adoption of Game Theory in Political Science.” Gianluca wrote his dissertation while a PhD student in social and political sciences in a program hosted by the Universities of Florence and Turin.      Gianluca is currently pursuing his second PhD, in economics, at the University… read more about Gianluca Damiani has been awarded the 2023 AISPE Terenzio Maccabelli Best Dissertation Award »

Congratulations to Herrade Igersheim, a 2015-16 HOPE Center visiting scholar, for winning the 2023 AISPE Best Article in the History of Economic Thought Award for her article “Rawls and the Economists: The (Im)possible Dialogue,” published in 2022 in the Revue Economique. In her article, Herrade, a 2015-16 HOPE Center visiting scholar, has created a remarkable in-depth reconstruction of the dialogue between John Rawls and economists such as Arrow, Buchanan, Musgrave, Harsanyi, Sen,… read more about Herrade Igersheim has been awarded the 2023 AISPE Best Article in the History of Economic Thought Award »

In the postwar world—a world in which governments were actively involved in managing and reconstructing national economies—a group of thinkers began urging a revival of classical liberal principles when it came to economic markets. The return to classical liberal principles that they urged is now called neoliberalism. But as Matilde Ciolli, a 2023-24 HOPE Center visiting scholar who is studying the spread and evolution of neoliberal ideas in the Global South, is quick to add, neoliberalism as then understood was not, as… read more about Matilde Ciolli, 2023-24 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar »

At the center of economics is the belief that people are rational—that they prefer pleasure rather than pain, the easy rather than the difficult, more of a good thing (time, money, choices) rather than less. But as Soroush Marouzi, a 2023–24 HOPE Center visiting scholar, explains, to really understand the concept of rationality, we first need to understand something even more fundamental than that: human nature itself. “The essence of human nature is debated from many angles,” Soroush says, “but the one I’m interested in… read more about Soroush Marouzi, 2023-24 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar »

Matheus Assaf, a 2019–20 HOPE Center visiting scholar, has won the 2023 Dorfman Dissertation Prize from the History of Economics Society. Matheus's dissertation, work for which he conducted while at the HOPE Center, traces the development of mathematical economics in the twentieth century through histories of leading economics departments. Matheus shows how a variety of figures mobilized in order to mathematize economics in the twentieth century, not only mathematical economists but also university… read more about Matheus Assaf Awarded Best Dissertation Prize by HES »

  Each year the Center brings together Visiting Scholars who are pursuing their own research projects in the history of political economy. Visiting Scholars may come to the Center for either a semester, a full academic year (which runs from the end of August to the beginning of May), or a twelve-month period. (Those who wish to come for shorter stays may wish to consult the "Academic Visits" section.) Though the principal purpose of the program is to allow successful applicants to pursue their own… read more about 2023 HOPE Center Visiting Scholars »

The Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University hosted its annual Summer Institute using a research workshop format on June 19-22, 2023. We invited young scholars (doctoral students and those with recently awarded PhDs) to apply. The goal of the Summer Institute was to allow young scholars working in the history of economics (broadly defined) to improve their manuscripts and to get practice presenting their work. Participants arrived on Monday June 19 in time to attend a welcome dinner. Sessions took… read more about 2023 Summer Institute »

Two works—one by the HOPE Center director and one by a former Visiting Scholar—have won top prizes from the History of Economics Society. Bruce Caldwell’s new biography of Friedrich Hayek, written with Hansjoerg Klausinger of Vienna University, was awarded the 2023 Joseph J. Spengler Best Book Prize. As stated in the HES’s official announcement, Hayek: A Life, 1899–1950 is “history of economics at its best. It is exemplary for the scholarly quality of our field, a book of rigor, precision, and detail, both… read more about HES Best Book and Best Article Winners »

1776 witnessed the publication of two of the great texts of the Enlightenment: Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and Adam Smith’s Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.  Scholars have often noted how Gibbon adopted economic concepts taken from Smith.  My talk reverses the causal arrow to bring to the fore Smith's extensive and underappreciated engagement with Gibbon’s main political concern: the causes of the decline and fall of once-great nations. … read more about Ryan Hanley, Hayek Lecture on Adam Smith »

It’s been three hundred years since the birth of Adam Smith, but as Shinji Nohara, a 2022–23 HOPE Center visiting scholar reminds us, we still know a lot less than we’d like about Smith’s intellectual background. Shinji spent most of March at Duke, working in part on a project to construct the context in which Smith wrote his first great work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which first appeared in 1759. “The project is challenging because Smith burned most of his papers before he died,” says Shinji, a historian… read more about Shinji Nohara, 2022–23 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar »

Fifty years ago, theory was the name of the game in economics. But that started to change in the 1970s, thanks in part to new data surveys and the desktop computer. Today, it’s empirical studies that seem to have more cachet—perhaps too much cachet, warns Murat Bakeev, a 2022–23 HOPE Center visiting scholar. “The data and the computers we have now are so good that it’s become easy to put a lot of faith in empirical work,” Murat says. “But there have always been people who have raised questions about data-driven analyses… read more about Murat Bakeev, 2022–23 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar »

Cataclysmic, persistent—and above all theoretically impossible, the Great Depression forced economists to think anew about the economy and challenged their understanding of how the economy works. Michaël Assous, a 2022–23 HOPE Center visiting scholar, has been telling the story of some of those economists for a number of years now, focusing on the mathematical models they developed to explain how the economy could get so off track—and to help them prevent a severe depression from ever happening again. “At the time of the… read more about Michaël Assous, 2022–23 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar »

"The Leonid Hurwicz papers are now fully reopened for research as part of the Economists’ Papers Archive. Over the past few months, the bulk of the 252-box collection has been reprocessed by inventorying, describing, and rearranging its contents, in particular the now distinct Research and Writings series. The Leonid Hurwicz Papers Reopen for Research - The Devil's Tale ( describes Hurwicz’s professional trajectory, as it emerged from his papers, and outlines some files present in the collection."   read more about Leonid Hurwicz Papers Reopen for Research »

Friedrich Hayek may have won a Nobel Prize in economics, but as his biographer, Bruce Caldwell, explains, Hayek was interested in much more than the standard concerns of economists. Ten years in the making and the first of what will be two volumes, Professor Caldwell’s Hayek: A Life, 1899–1950 was published in November by the University of Chicago Press. Written with Hansjörg Klausinger, a professor of economics at Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, the biography captures what was truly a… read more about Bruce Caldwell's Biography of Friedrich Hayek Traces a Remarkable Twentieth-Century Life »

Everybody knows that the prices of such things as airline tickets and hotel rooms are always in flux. But as Guillaume Yon, a 2022–23 HOPE Center visiting scholar, explains, what many people don’t know is that behind those fluctuating prices are econometric models developed, implemented, and monitored by none other than some of the top economists in the world. It is the work of those economists that forms the core of Guillaume’s current research project, a project that began with his 2016 dissertation on the economist-… read more about Guillaume Yon, 2022-23 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar »

Economists are often asked to provide expert testimony during courtroom trials, especially when those trials involve antitrust cases. For Edoardo Peruzzi, a 2022-23 HOPE Center visiting scholar, the encounter between the legal system and economic expertise offers an exciting opportunity to enrich our understanding of how economists work and think—and of how economic expertise is regarded and received. “It’s a fascinating area of what economists do outside the scholarly discipline,” Edoardo says. “What is the nature of the… read more about Edoardo Peruzzi, 2022-23 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar »

Long gone are the days when science—including economics—was seen as an independent pursuit, unaffected by the political and economic realities of the world. As Nic Johnson, a 2022-23 HOPE Center visiting scholar explains, the work of economists is influenced and even determined by existing institutions—and by who is paying the bills. A PhD student in history at the University of Chicago and once a nationally ranked jujitsu artist, Nic is tracing the relationship between institutions, funding, and economics by examining… read more about Nic Johnson, 2022-23 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar »

Two years into an undergraduate program at Cambridge, Emily Evans switched majors from economics to politics and soon found herself utterly fascinated with the political theory and Marxist thought of the Frankfurt School, a self-avowed leftist group of thinkers who, in between the two world wars, were determined to develop a theory of society based on the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Hegel. The members of the school “loomed large in my imagination,” Emily, a 2022–23 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar, says, “especially… read more about Emily Evans, 2022-23 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar »