Siting the new economic science: The Cowles Commission's activity analysis conference of june 1949


Journal Article

Argument In the decades following World War II, the Cowles Commission for Research in Economics came to represent new technical standards that informed most advances in economic theory. The public emergence of this community was manifest at a conference held in June 1949 titled Activity Analysis of Production and Allocation. New ideas in optimization theory, linked to linear programming, developed from the conference's papers. The authors' history of this event situates the Cowles Commission among the institutions of postwar science in-between National Laboratories and the supreme discipline of Cold War academia, mathematics. Although the conference created the conditions under which economics, as a discipline, would transform itself, the participants themselves had little concern for the intellectual battles that had defined prewar university economics departments. The authors argue that the conference signaled the birth of a new intellectual culture in economic science based on shared scientific norms and techniques un-interrogated by conflicting notions of the meaning of either science or economics. © 2014 Cambridge University Press.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Düppe, T; Weintraub, ER

Published Date

  • January 1, 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 27 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 453 - 483

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1474-0664

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0269-8897

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/S0269889714000143

Citation Source

  • Scopus