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CHOPE Fellow 2018–19, Aurélien Goutsmedt

Aurélien Goutsmedt has come to the Center for the History of Political Economy from Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne after defending his doctoral dissertation titled “The Macroeconomists and Stagflation : Essays on the transformations of Macroeconomics in the 1970s." Aurélien’s focus is on debates among American macroeconomists during the 1970s—when unemployment and inflation were rising together—and the methodological and theoretical transformations that resulted. Aurélien brings a fresh approach to this subject to challenge what he calls the “standard narrative” of the period:

A “standard narrative” has developed about the transformations of macroeconomics since the 1970s. But this narrative simply studies the evolution of ideas within the academic field. I see macroeconomics as a multidimensional discipline which is necessarily linked with the current economic context and the debates about economic policy. By studying the evolution of macroeconomics in context, and by looking at how macroeconomists were confronted by economic policy issues, we build stories that can bear useful insights for macroeconomics today. It also enables to understand a period that was fundamental in building the general framework of economic policy in later decades . . . .also to understand why the 2008 crisis undermined that general framework.

At the Center, Aurélien is enjoying the opportunity to get to know, a little better, the country he is studying and to use the unique resources of Duke’s libraries and archives, which he noted are well-known resources among historians of economic thought in France. In the Economists’ Archives, Aurélien will track the interventions of prominent academic macroeconomists such as Lawrence Klein, Robert Solow, and Robert Lucas; those involved more directly in policymaking institutions, such as Arthur Burns of the Federal Reserve and Homer Jones of the Saint-Louis Federal Reserve Bank; as well as those in the media, such as Leonard Silk of the New York Times.